Helping new restaurateurs find their feet

A month or so ago, I was at a newly opened restaurant in Gurgaon and I had a chance to speak to the entrepreneur behind it. I almost never miss an opportunity to speak to restaurant owners to get their feedback on whether Zomato is helpful to their business, and to understand if we are enabling them to make the right decisions about their business.

While most of our discussion centred around product improvements, and where the restaurant industry is heading, he said something that struck a chord with me. He said, “While Zomato has helped us get a lot of new customers, it wasn’t always easy. When I had just started a few months ago, I had to almost shut down because of Zomato, until I pulled up my socks and worked my a** off to survive, and succeed.”

When I asked him to elaborate, he said that when he opened his first restaurant a few months ago, he was new to everything. So new that he had to juggle 600 things at the same time. 75% of his days were spent learning and reacting to things that he didn’t know were going to break during the day. He was the chef, the ops guy, table service guy, the delivery boy, all rolled into one – a full stack employee. And with all the teething issues, Zomato made his life very hard. He said that the online presence on Zomato is relentless and was stressful for him as a new restaurant owner. Why? Because during his first week of operations (he was of course listed on Zomato), he got 16 reviews which weren’t particularly kind to him. All because of the teething issues that he was facing. He fully believed that his restaurant wasn’t worth just the 2.9 rating that it got during the first two weeks. Proof? The restaurant is now rated a healthy 4.2 on Zomato, and has more than 500 reviews.

He didn’t get an opportunity to fully stabilise his operations early on before his restaurant’s rating started to drop. While he emphasised that the feedback was necessary for him to grow, he also argued that the penalty from a bad review could have been a death sentence, especially for a new place. We heard this sentiment echoed by other partners too. Along with trying to resolve the teething issues, this becomes a huge problem and an existential worry for entrepreneurs, as a low rating may prevent new customers from visiting the restaurant.

Since one of our core missions at Zomato has been to help restaurants achieve long term success and sustainability, we decided to do something about it.


So, what do you think ?

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