We are publishing an interview of Mr. Varun Gupta, Founder of Clicktable – An intuitive platform that helps diners avail amazing dining offers at best restaurants in the city. Moreover, the platform offers real-time reservation confirmation at many restaurants. The platform has currently been launched in Delhi NCR. There are over 850 restaurants, bars and lounges available on the platform.
About the founders
Varun Gupta graduated from Purdue University, USA, before completing his MBA from Columbia University, New York. Before launching Click table, he had spent 8 years in managing operations at his family business, Kent RO Systems Ltd – the market leader in household water purifiers. He continues to play a key role in the family business and overlooks functioning of IT, supply chain, manufacturing and customer service.
A great believer in ‘winning together’, Varun has established an entrepreneurship driven culture at Click table to reward and acknowledge the contribution of every employee to the growth of the organisation. In his leisure time, he enjoys cooking, reading and watching sci-fi/action movies. Clicktable.com intends to redefine front desk management by offering real-time solutions to restaurateurs in optimizing their business delivery with speed, efficiency, and customer connects to bridge the communication gap.
Q.: What is the problem you are trying to solve? Can you share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem?
Ans: before plunging in this venture, we analysed that both Dine out and EazyDiner were offering table reservation service but they were using a call-centre based solution for confirming such reservations. Also, both did not offer any software solution to restaurants to manage reservations at the restaurant end. Hence, it was a completely one sided offering with virtually no focus on solving restaurant related issues.
It was a real life experience. I tried getting a table at one of a leading restaurant in Delhi and in spite of multiple tries (advance booking and randomly walking in), I wasn’t able to. Having used online table reservation systems in the US, I thought the opportunity exists for a similar service in India and that’s how the idea was seeded.
Q.: Tell us about the Product / Solution. Explain how you went about the Product-Market Fit Process.
Ans: This app is new technology in India so, the Product market fit process is large enough and the person who love food and don’t want any hurdle in your meal, they look forward for this app.
Q.: What were your assumptions when you entered the market, learning’s that you have? Who in your mind is your ideal customer? Do you have at least one of them signed up?
Ans: An Indian diner is not known to make reservations at restaurants and hence most of the players in the market are working to bring in a cultural shift in how diners behave. Over the last 5 years technology has enabled diners to communicate with the restaurants with ease and hence we are seeing a gradual increase in the number of reservations being made in the country. The restaurant industry in itself has seen a major boom during this time with new entrepreneurs, food enthusiasts and corporate opening new restaurants every day.
Q.: How are you pricing the Product? What is the logic behind it? What is the model you are following – Free / Fermium / Premium etc.? Explain your thought process.
Ans: Clicktable is creating a platform to reach the availability of dinning to the diners. It is a unique concept to avoid the long queue, waiting list etc; We realized that dedicated training to their staff mitigated most of their apprehensions and thus we started providing unlimited free on-field training as part of our sign-up process. In fact, unlimited free training is a major USP for us now.
Q.: What is the insight that you have about this market, which no one else has? Uniqueness about your Startup.
Ans: We are providing a seamless experience for table reservations to diners. Because our consumer website and apps are integrated with the piece of software that runs at the restaurant, we always have the real-time table availability and hence, the reservations are confirmed in real-time. We have completely bypassed the call-center model in our operations.
Q.: Who do you perceive as Your Competition?
Ans: Our concept is new in the market. So I didn’t find any competition in the market.
Q.: What would be your goal to accomplish in the next six months?
Ans: We started out of Delhi NCR. Today we have roughly 600 restaurants on our platform. We have been successful in tapping standalone restaurants and now our focus has shifted on chains and 4/5 star hotels. We also started operations in Bangalore and Mumbai few months back. It still early days in those markets but we have almost 150 restaurants in above two cities on our platform.We are also planning to start operations in Pune and Hyderabad soon.
Q.: What message do you want to convey to fellow entrepreneurs?
Ans: Always keep your feet on the ground and don’t get carried away with small success.
Thanks Mr. Varun. Best of luck!