Zomato, the Info Edge backed online restaurant and events guide, has launched its operations in London (UK). This means that Zomato now operates in four countries: India, UK, UAE & Sri Lanka. Previously, we had reported that Zomato had plans to expand its operations to Singapore in September 2012, which it doesn’t appear to have done. Zomato’s approach to expanding its operations internationally is interesting, especially when you compare it other Indian players, especially its key competitor Burrp, which has so far stayed India focused.
For the London launch, Zomato has added a new section to its website with more than 14,000 restaurants listings including cafeterias, restaurants, 7 star hotels, among others. The company claims that it will double its coverage of big players in the next few months. Zomato’s London operations also provides information on takeaway restaurants, something that’s missing from its India, UAE and Sri Lanka operations. In September, Zomato expanded its operations to Dubai and since then has also included Sharjah and Abu Dhabi in the Middle East.
We noticed that Zomato’s Delhi-NCR site now also includes the nearest metro station details along with the type of train – yellow, blue or red. Update: Zomato informs us that the nearest Metro feature is live in Delhi, Dubai and London.
Zomato monetizes via advertising on its site, and by offering premium listings to restaurant owners. Currently, Zomato’s advertising clients include Citi, Taj Resort and Palaces, Pizza Hut, Papa Johns, among others. We just checked for Delhi, and the listings had 19 advertisements for restaurants live. The site claims that it currently receives 8 million monthly visits across geographies. In addition, the company has also attempted ticketing for events.
Zomato could easily also have offered ordering services or table booking, although there are enough sites in India facilitating that: JustEat, Tablegrabber, Gourmetitup, Dineout, Tablewalla, Bookurtable, Bigbite, and Rocket Internet backed Foodpanda.
Started in July 2008 as FoodieBay.com which offered restaurant directory listings, the company had rebranded as Zomato in November 2010 to extend beyond food segment, positioning it as a premium lifestyle brand. It later launched an events section in September 2011 and introduced an online ticketing platform starting with ticket bookings to its own events in December 2011. It also released a free public API in September 2011, allowing third party developers to offer updated information such as restaurant listings, location coordinates, reviews, discounts, photos, menus across 20,000 listings from its website, within their apps through the API.
In April 2012, Zomato launched a Restaurant Guide for Delhi/NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune. The company had partnered Hatchette Books for publishing 1,00,000 copies of the guide, initially. Hatchette in turn had exclusively partnered with Flipkart, to make the book available online.