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This article is more than 2 year old.

Eating out made easy: EazyDiner bets big on artificial intelligence to grow

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EazyDiner, a startup launched in 2015, promises a guaranteed reservation within 18 seconds at over 8,000 restaurants. It started with 350 diners in the first month; in four years, the platform has over half a million diners and is present in 110 cities.

Eating out made easy: EazyDiner bets big on artificial intelligence to grow
Are you tired of waiting for a table at a popular restaurant in the city? That's not exactly how you would want your Sunday to look like.
EazyDiner, a startup launched in 2015, promises a guaranteed reservation within 18 seconds at over 8,000 restaurants. It started with 350 diners in the first month; in four years, the platform has over half a million diners and is present in 110 cities.
"With the exclusive tie up with Reserve with Google and Google Maps – EazyDiner has also expanded to 93 cities in India," Kapil Chopra, co-founder, EazyDiner, told CNBC-TV18.
Here are the excerpts from the interview:
What is the model and USP of EazyDiner? Is it similar to OpenTable?
OpenTable is an online table reservation platform while EazyDiner is the only app that you ever need to eat out. While OpenTable only deals with restaurant reservations, EazyDiner focuses on a lot of streams such as your restaurant reservations for lunch or dinner. We are part of your daily life so your morning tea or coffee can also be purchased on EazyDiner, in the evening if you want to have a snack that too can be purchased on EazyDiner or be it an ice cream after dinner. EazyDiner caters to the entire segment of eating out and not only the restaurant reservation segment. That is a very key difference.
OpenTable also generally operates without offers, EazyDiner because it's in a different market goes to restaurants and asks them how they will incentivise people booking in advance which helps restaurants plan better hence EazyDiner has a more flexible, robust model which operates with or without offers thereby becoming a more innovative service model. Additionally, OpenTable does not allow you to pre-purchase any meals in a restaurant, EazyDiner allows pre-purchase hence enables a more comprehensive eating out model than OpenTable.
EazyDiner provides for the most enjoyable and friction-free table booking experience. With an instant confirmation of fewer than 18 seconds, users can book over 8000 restaurants in Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune, Chennai, Kolkata, Goa, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Lucknow & Dubai on our website or mobile app.
For bookings in India, we also provide a 24 x 7 complimentary concierge service. With every meal that users book through EazyDiner, there also comes a deal ranging from free desserts, alcoholic drinks to discount up to 50 percent off on the total bill. With no membership fees or reservations charge, these deals are not for just one person but are applicable on the entire table. These deals also come with minimal to no terms or conditions applied. With each booking, users also earn EazyPoints, which can be redeemed for an array of delicious treats. Users earn points for booking through EazyDiner as well as by leaving user reviews on restaurant profiles. The more points the users earn, the more exciting the rewards become!
EazyDiner’s USP is the friction-free booking experience which ensures that restaurants witness minimal cancellation rates from customers.
Can you tell us about the launch of EazyDiner and its investors? How much have you raised so far and what are your future plans?
The company kick-started operations in 2015 and we are backed by leading investors such as Deepak Shahdadpuri of DSG Consumer Partners, Saama Capital, Denlow Investment trust, BeeNext and Yuvraj Singh. Till date, we have raised $9.5 million dollars across two rounds of funding.
EazyDiner has grown more than 4X every year since its inception and 10X in the last 2 years. EazyDiner will continue on this growth rate for FY 19-20 as well. 2018 saw the launch of India’s leading   dining program called EazyDiner Prime which guarantees minimum 25 percent discount on the total bill at over 1,600 most premium restaurants across India. With the exclusive tie up with Reserve with Google and Google Maps – EazyDiner has also expanded to 93 cities in India.
Even after being one of the most premium subscription programme in the market, we are seeing robust growth for EazyDiner Prime and is slated to grow 10x in number of members this year. EazyDiner Prime members typically eat out 3 times more than regular EazyDiner users and save almost Rs 1 lakh on their dining expenses for the year. We also have two key initiatives which will be announced in the next couple of months, which we feel will redefine the eating out space in India.
How is EazyDiner building eating out culture with technology?
EazyDiner at its heart is a technology company. We leverage the latest in artificial intelligence and machine learning to build out the eating out culture. Our recommendation engine looks at multiple factors like previous bookings of customers, cuisine preferences, cost, availability and then recommends the same to the customers. We are now enhancing our recommendation engine using collaborative filtering. We also have an algorithm that understands how the inventory works in a given restaurant on a given day and time. We keep releasing the inventory as we go closer to dining times to enable restaurants fill up those seats. Additionally, we are also digitising the restaurants with our SAAS product, LiveTable, which helps them plan their meal periods like lunch and dinner seatings better for optimal utilisation of seats and selling the last table. Hence maximising revenue even during busy periods and low occupancy times as well.
Does EazyDiner cater to people who plan to eat out in advance or even unplanned lunches or dinners?
 EazyDiner caters to both sets of people. Unlike a lot of services which outsource their concierge service, we run a 24/7 culinary concierge hotline in-house, which is manned by trained veterans of the F&B industry who understand and have a deep knowledge of the sector. Users can even walk in five minutes before their dining time by calling our concierge. The concierge is always ready to help, assist and recommend which restaurant will serve the dish of a user’s choice.
Could you give us an insight on your partnerships with speciality restaurants and restaurant chains as well?
We are the marketing arm of our partner restaurants and chains. Restaurants invest a lot in building and making their product, creating the menu and getting the chef, but a lot of restaurants do not work on getting the customers to their restaurant in a sustained manner, and that is why restaurants typically get fatigued after 2 to 3 years of operations. EazyDiner functions as a platform where we bring together the restaurants, alcohol partners, banks, FMCG and e-commerce companies all together for the customers. For example, for the Cricket World Cup this year, the partners who tied up with the EazyDiner FreeHit promotion where Yuvraj Singh was the brand ambassador were Axis bank and Citibank. This allowed over 10 million of their customers to access great deals at partner restaurants on EazyDiner and also helped the restaurants increase their beverage sales by 5x in the World Cup period. Like this with tactical and strategic promotions we help our partner restaurants and chains achieve their goals in a profitable manner.
We have partnerships across the length and breadth of the restaurant industry. Some of our key partners are Marriott Group, Taj Hotels, Hilton Hotels, The Oberoi Group, Leela Hotels, Farzi Café, Beer Café, Lord of the Drinks, Whisky Samba, Mainland China, Chaayos, SodaBottle OpenerWala, Punjab Grill, Social, Café Delhi Heights, Burger King and many more.
 EazyDiner has partnered with TripAdvisor and Google. Could you explain about how these partnerships add value?
 Both these global majors, their market cap being in excess of $740 billion, chose EazyDiner to partner with after looking at the Indian market scenario. We are their first partner and are deeply integrated not just in Google Search but also in Google Maps. In fact, EazyDiner is the first partner for the integration with Google Maps to be launched allowing people to book on the their favourite restaurant on Google Maps itself.
These partnerships add value to EazyDiner as it enables to increase our reach and expand our presence to millions of new people simultaneously. By seamlessly integrating across these leading platforms, EazyDiner is able to assist millions of people have an enjoyable experience while eating out. These partnerships also enable us to boost discoverability for restaurants and drive more footfalls to these restaurants.
 Could you elaborate on your expansion plans?
EazyDiner is currently present in 110 cities and we want to take it to 200 cities immediately. We want to get half a million restaurants on the EazyDiner platform and become 10 times larger than the largest dining platform in the world which is OpenTable. It aims to be the biggest dining platform in the world by first covering India, followed by an international expansion into the Middle East.
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