Menu full of foody information

Zomato.com is a successful restaurant listing website which launched in SA recently.
New app allows users to find fine dining restaurants nearby. Image: Andrew Bayda
New app allows users to find fine dining restaurants nearby. Image: Andrew Bayda Fotolia
“Every month more than 15m people worldwide visit the website to search for places where they can get a meal, get a meal delivered or catch up at a cafĂ©,” says Pooja Khanna, chief executive of Zomato.com SA, which has 20 employees.

Khanna says Zomato offers the value of convenience. “Apart from the website, we have apps for all major smartphones – Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, BlackBerry – which enable users to access Zomato.com wherever they are. We want to reach out to users across all platforms and make the process of choosing what to eat and where as easy as possible for them,” Khanna says.

Zomato.com offers “exhaustive and updated information on all the restaurants in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria. This information is gathered manually,” says Khanna. When the company entered the market, it made a point of not hiring a consulting firm but doing its own feasibility studies.

Revenue model

“The revenue model is primarily based on selling advertising space to restaurateurs on a highly targeted platform.

The technology sector is known for high risk, fast money and international fame. Khanna, a finance graduate educated in New Delhi, India, was entranced with the sector.

Zomato.com recently received US$37m in funding from Silicon Valley venture capitalist firm Sequoia Capital. This boost has given it more confidence about entering new markets.

A large range of different foods are available through a new app. Image: Vanked
A large range of different foods are available through a new app. Image: Vanked Fotolia
Khanna remembers starting at the firm in New Delhi in 2008 when it had only 10 staff. She has watched it grow to 600 full time workers.

But it hasn’t been easy as the company weathered organisational and expansion problems. It prevailed, thanks largely to the employees who think like co-owners of the company. “We believe we can grow Zomato.com only if we hire people who are better than us, who drive change and take challenges head on. You will burn out easily if you are not passionate about what you do,” says Khanna.

“Technology,” she adds, “is experiencing innovation and we see new business models coming up every day. You have the freedom to push yourself, learn new things and work with the brightest minds.”

In what is largely a man’s world, Khanna is a bit of a rarity. She believes being a woman does not limit her: “Only women can change this [industry perception]. I believe the sector offers immense opportunity to everyone alike,” she adds.

Source: Financial Mail via I-Net Bridge