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How online reservation platforms are transforming the restaurant biz

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Wowtables, the brainchild of food lovers Kunal and , is an online reservations portal, and the couple’s attempt to introduce something new for consumers in the culinary space.

How online reservation platforms are transforming the restaurant biz
WowTables, which started as Gourmet it Up in 2012, offers to create bespoke dining experiences at partner restaurants in Mumbai, Pune and Delhi

WowTables, which started as Gourmet it Up in 2012, offers to create bespoke dining experiences at partner restaurants in Mumbai, Pune and Delhi. Booking through WowTables gives the diners a new, curated menu each time they visit a restaurant.

Post a successful year in Mumbai, WowTables expanded business and entered two new cities – Pune and New Delhi – in 2013 and 2014 respectively and has recently launched in Bangalore. They are now associated with more than 200 restaurants pan India and are aiming to grow even further this year. Some of the restaurant partners include Hakkasan, Yauatcha, Le Pain Quotidien, The Tasting Room among others.

How It Works

Users simply have to become members of WowTables.com – free membership – to avail of this service. The experiences offered range from ongoing curated set menus, chef’s tables and off-menu set meals to even masterclasses and mixology classes.

The idea is to make the experience affordable. In return they get a share of the revenue from the business they are generate for these restaurants. The site adds two to three new experiences a week, the prices of which vary according to what is on offer.

“Indian diners are evolving in their food habits, and are willing to experience new cuisines and concepts as long as they have a strong enabler to help them in the process. In a city like Mumbai people don’t mine shelling out money for a unique dining experience. Delhi customers have deeper pockets, but it’s much lower in Pune. Everyone’s looking for something exclusive, and of course the right price,” says Kunal.

As Gourmet it Up, Wowtables received $300,000 in angel investment. The investors who picked up stakes in the company include IIFL Private Wealth Management’s MD Karan Bhagat, Nomura’s MD Prabhat Awasthi, and founder of Genome Capital, Atul Kumar.

Deepa and Kunal used the funds to accelerate expansion into new markets in India as well as internationally. They also invested in deeper technology integration with restaurant partners and scaled up customer acquisition opportunities, apart from increasing their team size and launching a mobile app.

“With the launch of our mobile application, WowTables seeks to ensure a smooth, convenient and a faster mode of interaction with our ever-growing database of members. It is all about ensuring that you’ve had the best food experience – right from making a reservation among the best restaurants, to our carefully put together menus and food properties – all available on the go,” Deepa said in a press statement after the launch of the app.

About The Founding Members

Deepa Jain, co-founder at WowTables, is a food connoisseur and also the founder of RecipeMobile – a food brand that supplies gourmet food items to restaurants and directly to customers. She brings in depth understanding of the restaurant business as well as an extensive network among top restaurants, food celebrities and journalists.

Kunal on the other hand is an entrepreneur and digital marketer with about 10 years of experience. He is an expert in building and marketing consumer websites and was co-founder at Indianhanger.com, a prominent apparel and accessories ecommerce website representing top Indian fashion designers and selling to a global audience.