There are over 200 up-scale restaurants in the city with an average occupancy rate of around 40% ranging from 10-20% during off-peak hours to 80-90% during peak hours. While industries with high fixed costs like airlines and hotels have figured out a way of how to vary prices to fill flights and rooms, restaurant’s methods have largely remained the same. With these things in mind, Shriti Chhajed started urbanrestro.com– a one stop portal in the FnB segment, catering to all hospitality industry needs from restaurant reservation to discounts and deals, party booking or banquet booking & event management, planning and conceptualizing unique experiences and workshops at restaurants & hotels. Shriti always wanted to do something in FnB space. After working for a couple of years at Tech Mahindra she realized that this was not her true-calling. Being from a business family, she decided to follow her genes and left her job to start a theme based upscale restaurant. But while working on the business plan, she realized that she required more skills to do business. She then made a decision to abandon the business idea and do her MBA from SP Jain (Singapore/Dubai). But as they say, everything has its own time. She waited for another 2 yrs, before meeting the right people and the right idea.
UrbanRestro has Harsh Baid as investor/advisor , who has over 6 years of experience in investment banking division of a foreign bank. The team is backed up by their technology partner Dexter Consultancy.
We quizzed Shriti on marketing efforts and revenue model and a lot of other things. Read on to get her crisp and insightful answers!
On Marketing Efforts and Business Model
We are using a below strategies to get the word out about urbanrestro. Once someone comes to know about the website, they stay with us.
• Social Media Marketing – Via FB, Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn, Pinterest
• Digital Marketing – Blog, SEO, Newsletter, Google Ads
• Events – Offline events create a lot of word of mouth for urbanrestro
• Offline Collaterals at paartner restaurants
We earn our revenue through Advertisement/Promotion Fee from Restaurant/Lounges and Banquets-Fixed Listing Fee (per annum basis) and Variable Fee (royalty fee per lead conversion). Apart from this, we earn via Events/Workshops- Organizing/Marketing fee from Restaurants.
Funding Status and Future Plans
We have got a seed funding of INR 15 lacs from Harsh Baid. We are now looking at raising INR 75lacs, based on our projections this should last for 12 months (Jul 2014). People interested in our business can drop in an email to us at email@example.com
Presently we are in Mumbai and Pune and we are looking to expand into Ahmadabad next. By Jul 2014 we should be in 7-8 cities with more than 2000 Restaurants and 800 banquets on board catering to 50,000 Diners and 1000 banquet leads monthly, Doing 25 events monthly.
On dealing with high end restaurant owners
Being in the niche restaurant sector, a few restaurants want to be always on the top or placed differently than others even in that category. For them it took us a lot of time to convince that we have premium treatment to all our clients, also we separated restaurants and lounges and knocked down a few restaurants with which a lot had a concern.
Also, in this niche segment a lot of restaurant do not believe in discounting and thinks that degrade their reputation. For them we came up with options like complimentary dishes/desserts, pre fixe menu or a chef’s special.
3 Favorite Online Tools
Google Analytics – It helps us analyze our marketing efforts
Webmaster Tools – to see server errors
Statscrop /Alexa – To see improvement in our ranking and SEO performance.
Biggest Challenge So Far in the Journey
We were two people who started the venture but unfortunately, the other person pulled out due to medical reasons just before the launch of the website. That was the biggest challenge I have faced in the venture to take it forward from there alone.
We hope you enjoyed reading this interview as much as did doing it. Here’s wishing Team UrbanRestro the very best!