SLEEPY BOOKING APP IN BKK FUNDED 13M, NOW SET TO DOMINATE
Chope Restaurant Booking App funded US13 Million, now set to dominate industry
Although Bangkokians and foodies may have heard of Chope many are yet to actually utilise it. Thailand has been a bit slow-going for this Singapore based start-up booking system, but after a turn of “events”, Chope may be set to dominate a sizable part of the Asian market (hears the patter of little Panda feet)*.
Currently covering Singapore, Hong Kong , Shanghai, Beijing, Bali, Jakarta and Bangkok, today Chope announced they’ve scored US 13 Million from a fresh round of funding, which is led by Asia Pacific investment firm Square Peg Capital (who also invest in Uber), C31 Ventures among other newer and existing investors.
The app is set to change the traditional model and face of restaurant booking apps by offering a fuller and more service orientated experience, like a real-time interface such as Grab.
“Imagine if you could do that with all aspects, like how long the queue is, and restaurants can react by doing things like changing pricing dynamically (imagine special deals when it’s raining!)” says Arrif Ziaudeen, the CEO of Chope, the man of the moment. Bangkok Foodies managed to pin Ariff down to get more answers on how this will affect hurried and hungry foodies in their own cities.
FULL NAME (NICKNAME) : Arrif Ziaudeen
POSITION : CEO
COMPANY : Chope
BKF : For those who don’t know Chope (unbelievably), tell us briefly about what your App entails?
We help diners instantly reserve a table, see the menu, and get great discounts at only the best restaurants in Bangkok and Phuket.
BKF : How did the business start and where else are you positioned on the Globe?
I started Chope 6 years ago on the idea that you could book a hotel or flight online 24/7, but it was so difficult to book a restaurant because you have to call during working hours, and even then no one may answer or understand you, etc. Today we solve that problem for over 2,500 restaurants in Thailand and other Asian countries like China, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong.
BKF : With this new funding, what are the plans to further develop the booking Application?
We plan to expand beyond reservations. We’re doing a world class job at solving that problem, but our team and investors realised Chope holds a special place as the transactional app of choice for over a million diners, and the potential to touch numerous other facets of those diners’ user journeys. it’s time for us to now expand our business to the full dining experience like how the diner discovers restaurants, personalized content, reviews and deals. Of course we’ll also be doubling down on our core business, because there’s still so much growth in that market too.
BKF : How will the coming changes change the restaurant scene in Bangkok and over Thailand?
Bangkok is definitely one of the foodie capitals of the world, but is held back by things like unpredictable traffic, unreliable info and poor internet so we notice diners sticking to safe routines. Our dream is to make any restaurant easy to discover, reliable to book. We want to give Bangkok’s diners the courage to plan meals at places they may never have thought of before, making dining out in Bangkok and adventure again!
BKF : What foreseeable problems do you see whilst improving and updating the booking App?
Ironically sometimes our loyal users are so familiar with the old app, that when we try to update something they complain! So we always need to balance the improvements without changing things too drastically.
BKF : How will this progression benefit diners, the end users?
Gradually to create a one-stop dining platform, so you don’t need to open multiple different apps to do different things when it comes to dining!
BKF : You were quoted as saying – “Why don’t diners have real-time info about restaurants the same way they do about their taxi? Could you further elaborate on this? Or give us a clue of what may be in store?
A very important part of Chope’s unique value is we provide diners with ACCURATE, REAL-TIME RESERVATION INFO. We achieve this because the restaurant is updating their Chopebook restaurant management system real-time. So using Chope is like seeing exactly what’s happening in the restaurant right now. Imagine if you could do that with all aspects, like how long the queue is, and restaurants can react by doing things like changing pricing dynamically (imagine special deals when it’s raining!)
BKF : How will you differentiate yourself from current food App leaders in Bangkok such as Food Panda and Eatigo?
To diners we all clearly do separate things (delivery, off-peak discounts and reservations) so I don’t think there’s much overlap. But we all have the shared goal of educating the very traditional restaurant industry to embrace technology.
BKF : We also heard, you will be combining your efforts with other Booking App systems such as Grab which (Sparkle chatbox service), what made you decide to extend services outside of restaurant bookings?
To be accurate, the Sparkle chatbot is by CapitaLand a large mall operator in Singapore and China, and helps users book restaurants on Chope and taxis on Grab. Chope is committed to focusing on restaurants, but are supportive of platforms that aggregate various services – we believe there’s a lot of synergy e.g. Chope dinner then book a taxi there, or exchange airline points for dining vouchers!
BKF : Bangkok’s business and city structure is very different to Singapore’s, what are the unique or positive and negative challenges with Chope expanding in Bangkok? Will you be able to book at a (to-be-Michelin starred) street food vendor for example, whilst consecutively booking Grab bike?
One big difference is the traffic! When reserving restaurants in Bangkok, we’ve had to build in the change of being an hour or two late, when that wouldn’t even be imaginable in Singapore. Another big difference is how much Thais engage with their favourite brands on social media. I think there’s a lot of potential for Thai restaurants to improve how they communicate with diners online.
WEBSITE : https://www.chope.co/bangkok-restaurants
LINK TO APP : http://www.chope.co/app
EMAIL FOR THAILAND : firstname.lastname@example.org
INSTAGRAM : https://www.instagram.com/chopebk/
FACEBOOK : https://www.facebook.com/ChopeBK