An interwiew with Miten Sampat, Business Head, TimesCity.
Talking to Restaurant India, Sampat reveals how the online booking is leveraging the restaurant business in India briefing about the payment gateway offered by the online companies.
How is the online food ordering changing the Indian food business scenario?
Online food ordering and table reservations are a growing trend across urban India. In my view this trend will continue to grow for the next two to three years. Because the convenience offered by online and mobile platforms is a great value to consumers over the traditional method of calling.
These days we see banks are also offering discounts in association with restaurants. How it is leveraging the online booking for restaurants?
Banks and loyalty programmes are offering discounts for online table reservation by leveraging platforms like Dineout, Foodpanda and many more. For consumers, this is a great benefit as they can plan ahead and also get an offer along with experiencing a special meal. Banks have great mindshare with their consumers and are pushing them to discover more is good for the restaurant industry in general.
What is your take on m-commerce for restaurant industry?
Mobile platforms such as apps and mobile sites are the fastest growing platforms of usage in the food and nightlife discovery and search space. With the massive growth of smartphones, we believe this trend will continue to accelerate for several years. On our own platforms, nearly 50 percent of all traffic and usage comes from mobile.
How friendly are the mobile apps introduced by you to the customers and the owners of the restaurant?
TimesCity has introduced its new mobile app in December 2013 and it has been recently featured by Apple as the number one free-app in the lifestyle category on the app-store. The TimesCity app has received glowing reviews from consumers and our usage on mobile has been growing beyond our expectations. The app enables consumers to find great restaurants and in the process makes it easier for merchants to attract valuable customers as well. TimesCity offers a number of promotional features for merchants to promote themselves on the TimesCity platform across the web, mobile, food guide, and print.
How are sites like TimesCity helping the restaurant business to grow?
A large chunk of foodies now visit TimesCity to discover new and great restaurants in their cities. Consumers are increasingly looking at reviews, menus, directions, and other vital information about restaurants before making a choice for where to dine out.
Our platform empowers restaurant owners to present themselves well in front of users and work to attract them to come to their establishments. We offer a number of promotional features for merchants to promote themselves across the web, mobile, food guide, and print.
Explain the payment gateway mechanism while booking online?
The online booking process on TimesCity is free to consumers and we do not charge any fees for this service. From time to time we have specials offers, such as Gourmet Week, and in those cases we work with leading payment gateways to provide a smooth and secure experience to consumers.