Konrad Richter, Quandoo Singapore's General Manager
Founded at the end of 2012, Quandoo, a Berlin-based online restaurant reservation platform, has seated more than 1.51 million diners in Singapore and grown its network of partner restaurants to over 720 within 12 months of having a presence in the republic.
According to Singapore's Department of Statistics, the republic's dining industry was worth S$639 million in October 2014. However, the dining industry is just scratching the surface when it comes to using technology to tap into this lucrative market, said Konrad Richter, Quandoo Singapore's General Manager. In an exclusive interview with CIO Asia, he explained how technology such as online reservation platforms can help restaurants improve their business and remain competitive.
CIO Asia: In your opinion, how will the restaurant sector change in the next 5 years due to technology?
Konrad Richter: I have been in the food and beverage (F&B) industry for six years and have seen increasing number of restaurants going online. Thanks to the rise and fall of hard discount providers like deal platforms that offer 50 percent off, restaurants are interested in online channels.
Now, switching to more healthy business relationships such as Quandoo, the second step in the transformation from offline to online has arrived. Outsourcing everything but the restaurants' unique selling point which is the quality of the service and food, will continue.
Globally there is also a labour crunch in the dining sector, thus using online restaurant reservation platform like ours makes sense for restaurants. The turnover in staff and increasing marketing budgets does add up for small dining establishments and even bigger restaurant chains. They see more value and reliability in investing in companies like Quandoo that provide a seamless service for much less with an automatic process.
In my opinion, the next important step will be automatic paperless payments that are linked to the reservation to complete the entire booking experience.
Can you share with us how Quandoo's services and online management tools are helping dining businesses stay relevant in the highly competitive market?
Quandoo's Table Management System (TMS) is a tablet-based reservation system, which streamlines all online bookings from Quandoo's network, the partner's website, and the partner's Facebook page into one single app. The app gives the merchant a live overview of all reservations including special requests of customers or notes attached by the restaurant staff. The automatic reservation process saves time, hassle and gives great service to the customer round the clock in different languages and in less than a minute.
Being able to use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and review guest information quickly like capturing data such as Vegetarian diner, Smoker, VIP etc, knowing how many times the guest booked (successful, canceled, no-shows), using intuitive drag and drop functions like switching tables, getting an alert when a guest is late and having the opportunity to see the guests phone number for a call to make sure they are coming. These and more features are the reasons why Quandoo's TMS is used by many restaurants in Singapore.
Our Partner Managers provide full training to the restaurant staff and continue to support in case of staff turnover, ensuring each restaurant team member is familiar with our platform. A lot of times, restaurant staff do not realise how easy it is to use and how beneficial the system is, until they've worked with it
One of our customers, Singapore's Latteria Mozzarella Bar, commented that our offerings have helped them "manage reservations in a much smarter way". Our services did not only help the restaurant save time due to the automated management of the tables, but also increased its website traffic and visibility and boost online reservations by 60 percent.
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