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Online food ordering and restaurant guide Zomato has launched Zomato Book, a table booking service which will let its users make, modify and cancel bookings, whether or not the restaurant is open. Apparently, the app will also send reminders just before the actual reservation time and can sync with the user’s calendar.

Zomato states that Book gives restaurant managers real time insights to maximise their seating capacity, estimate when a table will be free and offer notifications to waitlisted customers in case a table is available. Book also allows the restaurant to check a user’s past orders and preferences to customise their future order. Yeah.

By clicking on Book on Zomato, a user is provided with options like how many diners, date and time, which provides availability of seats in the restaurant. It then asks you to fill out your name, number, special requests of any, and if it is your birthday, anniversary or a first visit. The company, which was actually aiming for a July 2015 release, claims that since its soft release in November 2015, 2.5 million people have been seated using the service.

Zomato claims that as of now, 500 restaurants are using Book across 21 cities, including GQ at the JW Marriott in Dubai, Hard Rock Cafe and The Hilton and The Conrad in Istanbul, Universal Studios Resort in the US, Le Meridien in Gurgaon and The Lalit Hotels across India.

NexTable acquisition: In April last year, Zomato acquired the US-based restaurant reservations and table-management platform NexTable in a cash and stock deal to start providing the service. NexTable founder & CEO TC DeSilva joined Zomato, and NexTable would subsequently be named to Book.

Flat fee for Book: In November, in a conference call, Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal said that for monetising table reservations, the company charged restaurants a flat fee (of ~ Rs 10,000 per location) on a monthly basis to use the service. However, the pricing was different for different markets. When asked about competition on take rates, Goyal said, “Since we were very sure of our low customer acquisition costs, our take rates are very low, compared with our competitors. I don’t think the market has reached a stage where take rates determine which restaurants work with…”

Competition: Other players in this space include GroupTable which operates in 10 cities including Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi NCR and Pune; Dineout, owned by Times Internet* and Bookourtable for restaurants among others.

Other developments at Zomato:

– Earlier this week, Zomato shut down online ordering operations in 4 cities; Lucknow, Indore, Cochin and Coimbatore saying that the size of the market in these cities accounted for less than 2% of its order volumes thus leading it to this decision.

– In September, Zomato raised $60 million in a round of funding. The platform said it would use the funds to invest in its new businesses such as online ordering, table reservations, point of sales, and the whitelabel platform.

– The same month, Zomato started offering a whitelabel platform to help restaurants create their own mobile apps. The company claims that its platform can create ‘market-ready’ iOS and Android apps in less than 3 weeks.

Also read:

Zero customer acquisition cost is the biggest unfair competitive advantage we have” – Deepinder Goyal, Founder, Zomato

Surobhi Das, Zomato: We’re the first ones to know when a restaurant shuts or opens

On Zomato’s change in focus to transactions and countries that matter

Our Zomato coverage.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Disclaimer: Times Internet is an advertiser with Medianama