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How reservation apps are changing the dining landscape

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Restaurants in increasing numbers are adopting table-booking apps for optimizing management of reservations, wait-lists, guest data, and table allocation. At the same time, consumers have also started to rely on this technology to reserve a table, compare a restaurant, menu items, deals and offers for making decisions about their eating out.

How reservation apps are changing the dining landscape
The biggest reason for table booking apps gaining in popularity and demand is the attractive foodservice market, which offers huge potential and terrific opportunities for players in this segment

Technology today permeates the lives of consumers like never before. Digital devices like mobile phones have become an integral part of our everyday life and we use them for many of our day-to-day activities and pursuits. We use it for ordering things online and for making our buying decisions. This pattern of consumer behaviour and digital interaction is now fairly well embedded in the foodservice industry. The perpetual hunt of a foodie to dine at his desired restaurants is never ending. But nothing ruins a perfect dining experience than having to wait to relish one’s favourite food simply because the restaurant is full.

In today’s busy world, you don’t want to spend time waiting for your table when you go out for dining. You are better off if you reserve a table well in advance. If you know the restaurant you want to dine in, then making a reservation is simple – just call and make a reservation. But what happens when the restaurant is fully booked or when you are not sure about where to dine?

This is where table booking apps come to the rescue. Not only do they provide real time availability at restaurants, they also bring exclusive deals and discounts to the diners. A range of options such as bill discounts, party bookings, happy hours, etc., is aimed at targeting audiences from all age groups.

The biggest reason for table booking apps gaining in popularity and demand is the attractive foodservice market, which offers huge potential and terrific opportunities for players in this segment. The Indian restaurant industry spawns a range of outlets – from the unorganized sector covering small outlets and dhabas to the structured outlets covering QSRs, take-away outlets, standalone restaurants, clubs, pubs and bars. The reservation market, however, is restricted to the structured segment, which is further limited to casual and fine dining restaurants where the average cost of dining for two people is above Rs 700-800. There are roughly 8,000 such restaurants in top 10 cities of the country where the reservation potential is estimated to be about three million reservations per month.

Restaurant Table reservation service industry is one of the most vibrant industries that has seen an unprecedented growth in the recent past and continues to expand rapidly. This can be attributed to changing demographics, increase in disposable income, urbanization and innovation in technology. A rising young population along with a fast-paced trend of eating out and experimenting with various cuisines on a frequent basis and, that too, without any waiting, has provided a plethora of growth opportunities for the industry. Simultaneously, technology has played a pivotal role across various facets of the table reservation service value chain.

Reserving a table online and through mobile apps has pushed the boundaries of convenience farther by ensuring that table availability is available in real time, thereby facilitating instant confirmations. The expanding base of well-heeled Indians who love dining out and the growing expat community present a significant array of opportunities in this domain. The ever increasing consumer base offers eye-catching prospects, which has lured multiple regional/ national players who are trying to tap this market. Among the more prominent players are , and . Recently, , too, has entered the space and is looking to leverage its web traffic.

However, there remain challenges to overcome. An Indian diner is not known to make reservations at restaurants and, hence, most players in the market are working to bring in a cultural shift in how diners behave. That said, over the past five years, technology has enabled diners to communicate with the restaurants with ease. As a result, restaurants in increasing numbers are adopting table booking apps for optimizing the management of reservations, wait-lists, guest data, and table allocation. Many restaurants, through the recession during this period, also struggled to keep the tables filled and so reached out to the to generate more traffic. At the same time, consumers have also started to rely on this technology to reserve a table, compare a restaurant, menu items, deals and offers for making decisions about their eating out.

Hence, we are now seeing a gradual increase in the number of reservations being made in the country. The restaurant industry has also seen a major boom in recent years with new entrepreneurs, food enthusiasts and corporate opening new restaurants every day. The future outlook for the restaurant table reservation service industry is bright and will be growth driven.