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Guiding Food and Nightlife Lovers

In his quest for a perfect dining place and a night hang out, Pankaj Chaddah set up Zomato.com which is a guide for foodies and nocturnal birds. The Co-founder and COO gives a review of his company’s structure, immediate business plans and the road ahead.

Tags: ecommerce

BY Seema Seth | July 14, 2011 | COMMENTS ( 2 ) |

Guiding Food and Nightlife Lovers
Pankaj Chaddah CEO, Zomato

In his quest for a perfect dining place and a night hang out, Pankaj Chaddah set up Zomato.com which is a guide for foodies and nocturnal birds. The Co-founder and COO gives a review of his company’s structure, immediate business plans and the road ahead

 

Seema Seth (SS):   What is your company’s full name and what is your product range?

Pankaj Chaddah(PC): Our website is www.zomato.com and we are India's biggest food and nightlife guide. Listing 17,000 restaurants in 10 cities across the country along with their ratings, menus, pictures, locations and more, we act as the one stop shop for 7 lac users every month who are looking out for destinations to eat out/ party and get food delivered.

 

SS: What role did your family play in terms of supporting you?

PC: My family has always been very supportive. Initially when I left my job, they were a bit insecure and it did create stress, but gradually as Zomato grew they became more and more positive.

 

SS: How did you fund the business initially?

PC: Me and Deepinder were working at Bain & Company for 1.5 years during initial days of Zomato (then Foodiebay) and our salaries & savings were funding the growth. In August 2010, we raised our first round of funds from Info Edge India Limited (the Naukri.com group).

 

SS: What challenges did you face in establishing your business?

PC: Money to fund the business, finding the right talent to build a team and convincing restaurants to pay a website for advertising them were the major challenges. Our clients (restaurants) were used to pay the print media for advertising but were reluctant to pay a website for advertising to a higher number of targeted eyeballs.

 

SS:  What is your team size and what challenges did you face in putting your team together; how was the experience of hiring the first employees?

PC: We currently have a 65 member strong team. Being new to hiring, we always struggled in setting up the right processes for hiring. Our first few hires were mainly from our own friends and friends of friends. There is never a fool-proof way of hiring the best possible employees and we also committed some mistakes in our really early days.

 

SS:  What is your product’s USP?

PC: Giving comprehensive and updated information to every user who needs to decide where to eat from is our USP. We make sure we give the user all the information required to decide if he wants to go to a restaurant or not, and we give this information for every restaurant in the city.

 

SS:  What is your marketing strategy?

PC: We believe in low cost, but high quality & high impact marketing. We focus on funny, viral videos. When it comes to ATL, we focus only on the internet and target consumers well before spending money on bringing them to the website. Overall, we make sure our excellent products reach as many people as possible, bring loyalty & a good word of mouth in the least amount of money.

 

SS: How are you planning to scale up your business?

PC: On the customer side, we have already moved into mobile applications which are the natural next step for websites and are also constantly increasing the range of offerings for our users, e.g. we launched a nightlife section on the website a few months back and will be coming up with an events section. On the revenue side, we are currently looking at growing our sales presence massively across cities and scaling up the revenue.

 

SS: What is your turnover like?

PC: Don't want to disclose at the moment.

 

SS: Where do you see your products 5 years from now?

PC: 5 years is too long for a startup. But we plan to become the ultimate discovery tool for anyone and everyone looking to go out. We will also be coming up with new verticals very soon.

 

 

Please add your comment

Pharmb692

February 04, 2013 at 4:21 am

Hello! interesting site! I really like it! Very, very good!

Reply  |  

anoop

July 14, 2011 at 7:28 am

This is an excellent concept.I had a chance to use one of the online food ordering portal called yummybay.com while i was in Chennai.kind of this sites will be very helpful to choose a restaurant before we go there.

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