Seat at the Table
    Category: Entrepreneurs By : Aastha Saboo Read : 1334 Date : Wednesday, July 01, 2017 - 09:53:32

    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    Chope is an online restaurant reservation system, allowing diners the convenience of booking a reservation even when the restaurant is closed. Launched in 2011 in Singapore, today Chope has so far had 20 million diners make bookings through its system. The company has expanded to eight cities in four countries (China, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Thailand). The founder of Chope, Singaporean Arrif Ziaudeen, 35, cloned the idea of OpenTable model, which he experienced while he lived in the U.S. (he has a Stanford MBA). The name comes from a Singapore slang term, “chope,” for reserving a seat.

    At the time, OpenTable was only just starting to expand to Europe. Asia had no major restaurant booking services like OpenTable at the time. “In Asia, I saw people getting frustrated with long lines [at restaurants],” says Arrif. He already had over five years of experience in consulting and investment, after working at Bain and Principia Management (affiliated with Tom Lembong’s Quvat), so he felt ready to strike out on his own.

    “We estimate the Jakarta market alone to be $50 million in market size, and we are very confident that Indonesia will become one of our largest markets in future,” says Arrif. Chope entered the Indonesia market by acquiring the local startup MakanLuar, which had a similar model, last year. Some major groups such as Ismaya are already Chope’s clients (it has about 150 restaurants as clients in Jakarta alone). “We want to be a company that addresses the needs of the top players in Indonesia,” says Kunal Narang, head of Indonesia for Chope, along with Hiro Mohinani.

    The company is currently making money in three ways: first, a booking fee for each diner successfully seated at a restaurant, second, a monthly software fee to use their proprietary table management system that replaces the restaurant’s pen and paper systems, and third, a commission on promotional vouchers sold to diners. It also building out its mobile capacity.

    Chope also helps restaurants reduce their no-show rates (diners who book but don’t come to the restaurant). When making a booking, customers is asked if they want to pre-pay for their food in exchange for a discount. If a customer has already paid for a meal, they are much less likely to be a no-show.

    To take advantage of the growing mainland Chinese tourist market in Southeast Asia, Arrif has recently partnered with C-Trip, China’s largest online travel agency, where Chinese tourists can have an option to book restaurants for their overseas trip. 

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