Now, here’s something that every social media-loving Malaysian foodie needs! If you haven’t heard of Zomato, allow us to introduce you to it.
Zomato is a restaurant search and discovery service founded in 2008 by Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah. It features restaurant information such as scanned menus and photos sourced by local street teams, as well as user reviews and ratings. It currently operates in 22 countries, including India, Australia, and the US.
Well, 23 now, because it has officially been made available in Malaysia!
“How does it work?” It uses a feet-on-the-street system and sweeps restaurants every 3 months to ensure that the information provided is as recent as possible. The app has since expanded beyond its restaurant guide to various verticals in an attempt to own the entire food experience.
In Malaysia, it covers over 12,000 restaurants in Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, and Subang Jaya regions and is available on web. Users in Malaysia can now browse through restaurant information, read and write restaurant reviews, as well as build a personal network of trusted foodies on Zomato.
“What does it do?” Zomato helps users make dining decisions by providing a variety of information (ranging from the basic like cost and popularity to the more minute like Wi-Fi access and whether the place is pet-friendly) to help them narrow down their choices. One can also search restaurants by location, dish, cuisine, and establishment type.
Social media junkies would love its social features, which enables foodies to share their recommendations in the form of reviews, photos, and ratings for restaurants with others. You can tag friends in your reviews and photos, and mark restaurants as Been There, or on the app, Check-in. Your activity appears chronologically on your profile in the form of your Foodie Journey. You can also choose to follow foodies (in your city, or otherwise) so that you can read about their experiences in your Feed.
Similar to personal Feed, there is a feature called City Feed, which showcases user reviews and photos, realtime so that you can know what’s popular at that moment. You can also bookmark your favourite restaurants so that you’re always updated on the happenings like events, promotions, and specials.
“Is that it?” Nope, that’s not all. Its latest offerings include Online Ordering and Table Reservations:
Zomato recently unbundled online ordering! As such, users can order food on the website, or use the app on their iOS and Android devices. Users can choose between cash on delivery or e-payment options such as debit or credit cards to to pay for their meal. Zomato Order started in Delhi, and quickly spread to other cities, including Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, Indore etc. Dubai is the first international market it launched in, and others are expected to follow soon. The company also released a new app called Zomato Order (a separate app) for Android and iOS devices because it believes searching for information about a restaurant, and ordering online are 2 separate use cases.
Zomato’s table reservation system, called Zomato Book, is expected to be launched in India in the second half of 2015. The service will be powered with technology from NexTable, a US-based firm that provides a platform for restaurant reservations and table management. The product will initially be launched in India, Australia, and UAE. Zomato Book aims to simplify table management, maximize table occupancy and save time during shift rollovers.
“Okay, so that’s it, right?” Nope, there’s just one more thing. Zomato has also introduced cashless payments to improve customer experiences. With this feature, consumers can go to a partner restaurant and check-in with the Zomato app. Then, one has to inform the staff at the restaurant of the mode of payment. Each user has a unique identity, and the restaurant connects that to the bill. The payment method integrates with the billing system of the restaurant, so the diner can order food as he or she normally would – and the billing happens automatically in the background. At the moment, Zomato Cashless is available only in Dubai, but other countries are lined up, starting with New Zealand.