Founded in 2013, entering the Thai market in 2014, and the receiver of series-A funding last year, eatigo - a dining deals and restaurant reservation business
That is, deep in its primary markets of Thailand and Singapore, and wide by expanding into new markets across Asia.
Michael Cluzel, co-founder and chief executive officer of eatigo.com, said the company’s 2016 focus was on two things: consolidating the leading position in its two alpha markets and breaking even; and starting the expansion process into other Asian markets.
“We want to go deep and wide at the same time - deep in Thailand and Singapore with a significant investment not only into online marketing but as well into brand-building advertising and broadening our user base, and wide by expanding into new markets,” he explained.
The beauty of eatigo’s business model is to connect empty seats with empty tables and time-based discounts. It provides restaurants with customers at the times that they need them most, when they have empty capacities.
Cluzel said this business model of constantly changing prices for a service is called yield management, and was pioneered by American Airlines in the 1970s.
“It is very successful with airlines and hotels, and we are applying it to restaurants,” he added.
“We have two operating companies currently, in Thailand and in Singapore, who are monetising by charging restaurants a fee for every diner we send to the restaurant,” the CEO said.
The company has more than 400 restaurant partners on its platform, with all of them discounted, all day, every day – and all of them offering 50-per-cent discount slots every day.
“This makes its inventories unique in the world,” he said.
For the restaurants, eatigo delivers additional profitability by filling empty seats when they have them, while for the end-user it offers a wide variety of very good restaurants at very attractive discounts.
There are no coupons, no pre-payment, no credit-cards involved. This makes eatigo much more convenient for the end-user than daily deal sites, said the business’s co-founder.
The user just makes a reservation, goes to the restaurant and the discount will automatically be deducted from their bill.
Making a reservation on eatigo is very easy. The user just needs to select the restaurant, when they want to go, and confirm with one tap. Then the user gets an e-mail and SMS confirmation.
They go to the restaurant, order what they want, eat and when the bill comes, the discount is applied automatically and they pay.
Service available across platforms
The eatigo service is available as a website, mobile website, and as an Apple and Android application. Using the service is free for the user.
“eatigo is the clear market leader in Thailand for restaurant reservations. We have had over 500,000 downloads. We have seated over 1 million users and our reservations are growing very dynamically, by 25 per cent month on month, every month.
“We are very focused on profitability and sustainability both for our restaurant partners and our own business. So, our targets are not just on downloads but on reservations, and we want to aggressively expand our leadership position in both our markets [Thailand and Singapore] this year,” Cluzel said.
He is confident that there is currently no real direct competitor that operates the same business model as the one pioneered by eatigo, although there are related industry players in fields like non-discounted restaurant reservation platforms, restaurant discovery platforms and social buying/daily deals sites.
“We believe that eatigo’s offering of hundreds of restaurants, all of which offer 50-per-cent discounts every day, is unique and offers end-users better offers than traditional reservation platforms and more selection, while not requiring upfront payment like social buying/daily deals platforms,” the chief executive said.
The success factor for eatigo is happy restaurants and happy users, and the business has shown it has something very strong to offer to both restaurants and end-users, Cluzel said.
“It can be seen in the quality of merchants that join us, as well as in the traffic that we drive to them via the reservations that our users make. Also, the ratings of our application, both on the Apple app store and Google Play store, are among the highest for any transaction-based food app in both of our markets,” he added.
The company closed its series-A funding round last December.
The round was worth several million US dollars and focused on eatigo.com’s two initial markets, as well on the beginning of the move into new markets.
The next round of funding will be focused on driving further expansion.