Following the addition of online ordering support in the Zomato
app earlier this week
, Co-Founder and CEO Deepinder Goyal has announced that Zomato Book, the firm's table reservation service, will be launched in July.
Making the announcement
on Twitter along with the screenshot of what appears to be the service in action, Goyal said the Zomato Book table reservations service will initially be made available in India, Australia, and the UAE.
The screenshot (seen below) shared by Goyal unfortunately does not reveal much. It shows the layout of a relatively large restaurant, with three tables highlighted along with time, chat icons, and the seats associated with it.
The Zomato Book service will be powered with technology from NexTable, a US-based firm that provides a platform for restaurant reservations and table management, as confirmed
by the company to TechCrunch. The report adds that the terms of the deal were not revealed beyond it being a cash-and-stock one, and that the NexTable team along with CEO and founder TC DeSilva will be joining the Zomato team.
DeSilva in a statement said, "For any new table reservations product, no matter how good it is, it's very hard to get businesses to adopt the product at scale for two reasons. First, it is hard to scale a sales team without massive funding. Secondly, it is hard to sell the product if you don't have a significant consumer presence. Zomato solves both these issues for us, and we are excited to partner with them to realise the true potential of what we have built."
Some of the technology that the NexTable acquisition will provide Zomato includes a platform for restaurateurs that can be updated via smartphone or tablet. COO and Co-Founder of Zomato, Pankaj Chaddah, speaking with TechCrunch, elaborated, "We want to own the communication layer between restaurant businesses and customers. NexTable will add to this layer by bringing in the convenience of easy, online reservations for thousands of restaurants to our millions of users. NexTable completes the value chain between the consumer and the restaurant."
Zomato has been promising to expand
into a number of different areas for a while, including online ordering, table reservations, and cashless payments. The firm earlier this week started the first of the three services, with the rollout of updated apps for Android and iOS with the feature built-in. While the Android app notes the service is only available in Delhi NCR, the iOS app also mentions Bengaluru and Mumbai with more cities on the way.
Thus far, Zomato has not responded to queries for further details about online ordering and partner restaurants. The key difference in Zomato's platform when compared to the competition could be in the way the company plans to gamify the commissions that it will charge from restaurants, based on customer satisfaction - the lower the rating, the higher the commission.
Cashless payments have also been touted as the firm's next step for a while, and till date it has only introduced
the service in Dubai. Goyal and Zomato co-founder Pankaj Chaddah have both told us that the company is waiting for 2-factor authentication norms for small amounts to be relaxed before bringing in payments in India
Notably, competitor Foodpanda
introduced its food delivery service in five Indian cities - Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru - last week
. The company says it plans to expand this to 12 cities in total within the next three to six months.