2015 Asia-Pacific Gold Winner - Zomato
Company: Zomato NZ Media Private Limited, Auckland, New Zealand
Category: Startup of the Year
Entry Title: Zomato NZ Media Private Limited
Zomato is a restaurant search app, providing in-depth information for over 11,500 restaurants, cafes and bars across New Zealand. Zomato's core content features include scanned menus, photos which are sourced by a massive feet-on-the-street team across its various cities of presence; users can rate and review restaurants, as well as create their own network of foodies for personalised recommendations.
Zomato launched in New Zealand in July 2013, and has since acquired Menumania, a popular New Zealand-based restaurant discovery service. Menumania was one of the most prominent players in New Zealand in Tech, and has been around for almost 8 years. This acquisition was a strategic move to establish Zomato’s presence in the Pacific.
Zomato rolls out product updates on a regular basis. Building on its already rich and exhaustive restaurant database and ratings and reviews from millions of monthly users, Zomato added a new, social layer to restaurant discovery - personalised recommendations from people whose opinions you choose to value.
Zomato’s focus on restaurant discovery gives the restaurant search service edge over competition. Many of the players don’t cater to discovery, especially in the restaurant space. There’s a constant move towards improving the product and dominate the competition within the restaurant discovery space. Taking into account the convenience factor such as online ordering, table bookings, cashless payments etc., Zomato plans to introduce these product updates across all markets of presence in order to make the lives of the users much simpler.
From personalised search results to quickly bookmark restaurants from anywhere on the site or app, Zomato has made restaurant discovery a breeze. Among the new features is a Feed that lets users see updates and activities from their networks, as well as restaurants they’ve visited, rated and reviewed - encouraging a more social, real-time discovery of restaurants. This enhanced social layer changed restaurant search completely as users were able to filter search results to display recommendations from their network, i.e. the people they choose to trust and follow.
Since Zomato’s establishment in the New Zealand market, they have partnered with prominent websites such as The New Zealand Herald, Tourism Auckland, Yahoo! New Zealand and MSN New Zealand. In May 2014, Zomato partnered with Auckland Council to incorporate their Food Hygiene Grade system into the core content features. The Auckland Council Food Safety Bylaw ensures that all businesses providing food to the public display a certificate that shows their grade and maintain best food hygiene practices.
This new additional feature makes the restaurant information on the website more exhaustive and relevant for anyone looking to dine out or order-in. The restaurant grading information was provided by the Auckland Council, which is governed by the Food Hygiene Regulations 1974. Currently, Zomato lists Food Grade information for over 2500 eateries in Auckland.
Zomato’s operations has since expanded drastically in New Zealand. In October 2013, Zomato had 9 people in the Auckland office; today there are 35 people. Since the launch in New Zealand, Zomato has also set up operations in Wellington with a team of 7. And nationwide, the company is looking to grow at 2 employees per month. Since its inception in New Zealand, Zomato has been growing at an aggressive rate. The Auckland billing increased 1700% from January 2014 to January 2015. Unique visitors per month in New Zealand increased from 60,000 in January 2014 to 582,000 in January 2015 attributing to a 863% increase in unique visitors per month, in just a year.
In 2014 the focus was on product innovation as well as on increasing global footprint.
The recent acquisition of Urbanspoon, accelerated Zomato’s dominant position in New Zealand. Zomato’s significant investments in people and technology will bring Urbanspoon customers, restaurant owners, and food bloggers a number of new capabilities and features.