At a broad level, I would classify online foodie destinations into two kinds. One provides restaurant listings and reviews: Zomato (nee Foodiebay), Burrp, A Place to Dine, HungryNCR, Online Khana, etc. The second type helps you call restaurants and book tables or order food for delivery. HungryZone (now JustEat), BiteQuest, PetPooja, and many more global and local players.
Big Menu is the latest entrant to this second category. Big Menu is literally a big menu, combining the menus of restaurants in 230 locations in the Gurgaon area, and provides a single number to call and order food from any restaurant in town. Or make a reservation using the same number. Or do it through the simplistic and neatly designed bigmenu.in.
Customers can enquire, place orders and get more choices based on restaurants in one call (number: 0124-4901000). Diners can get options based on cuisine or locality, and also get discounts when booked through Big Menu.
Here is a Q&A with Karan Garg, co-founder Big Menu:
PI: How do you coordinate with the restaurants?
KG: When an order is placed with Big Menu, an email and SMS is automatically shot out to the restaurant with the complete details of the order including customer address and special requests (making food less spicy etc). Post that we make a phone call to the restaurant within 60 seconds of the order being placed to confirm if they have received the order. For the not so tech savvy restaurants the entire order is passed on the phone. The delivery is managed by the restaurants themselves, which are mapped in the system with delivery locations. The delivery time is also mapped which is communicated to the customer when they place orders with us.
PI: How are you marketing yourself?
KG: We are doing a lot of local marketing activities to reach out to the customers – both individual and corporate. This includes newspaper insertion of leaflets, select outdoor advertising, social media – facebook, twitter and foursquare, distribution of discount coupons among customers, sms and email campaigns etc.
PI: How do you stand out among other players in the field?
KG: a. Phone Orders – Despite the spread of e-commerce, the Indian customer picks up the phone when he is hungry and that’s why we have focused on having a strong call center setup. We actively promote our phone number for order taking and not as a helpline.
b. Restaurant Mapping: We have each outlet mapped to the locations to which they deliver. Thus when the customer query is entered, we give all the restaurants who deliver there and not just those who have that area in their address.
c. Table Bookings – Customers get discounts at many restaurants when they make a table reservation with us. This also actively drives them to reserve through Big Menu even if they are already decided on the restaurant.
d. Party Planning – With the strong “Friday Culture” coming in, the customers have very specific requirements like per head fixed rates for group parties etc. We provide them a host of options to choose from based on their preference which saves them so much time otherwise spent calling multiple restaurants and negotiating.
PI: What are your future plans? Expansion? Funding?
KG: Future plans are to start Delhi / NCR operations in the next 3 months. We have got lots of learnings in the Gurgaon operations and these will be really helpful in scaling up. We are also experimenting with a few other things which will add more value to the restaurants and customers. We are funded from own savings till now, might look at external sources while expanding.
Big Menu is a good idea, but we’ve seen that before. However, the market is not saturated enough and if Big Menu has something unique to offer, diners would welcome that. I see JustEat as the biggest competitor, with that exclusive brand name, but Big Menu can make use of the local touch. What I see missing is maybe an Android/iPhone app. It is too early to see where it goes; the company was launched in June 2011. Snapdeal and likes also offer huge discounts on restaurants but do not provide booking and ordering. I would not be surprised to see some daily deal site coming together with Big Menu and providing the best of both worlds to connoisseurs.
If you are from Gurgaon, do give BigMenu a spin and share your review/feedback.