Child behind, Varun Gupta who holds degree of computer engineering from Purdue
University and an MBA from Columbia University, New York. For the last 10
years, he has also been involved in his family business– Kent RO Systems Ltd,
the largest water purifier brand in India.
diners to find great restaurants and make reservations just at a click! Also,
the diner has an option to avail amazing offers and deals offered by
restaurants. The platform also has a B2B product which runs in the restaurants
to streamline their front desk operations. It optimizes management of
reservations, wait-lists, guest data, and table allocation.
about his startup and future goals.
Please tell us more about your organization.
Gupta: Clicktable is
a mobile app cum website that allows diners to make hassle free real-time table
reservations at their favourite restaurants. It also brings to diners the best
offers, amazing deals and exciting events at the best restaurants in town.
apps and website, there is a restaurant facing side also called the Empower
App. The Empower application is targeted towards casual and fine dining
restaurants and it streamlines management of various front desk tasks like
reservations, waitlists, guest data and table management, and promotion of
events & offers.
mobile across different operating systems.
reservations through our platform but we charge restaurants to use our software
and other services.
running since last three months. As of now, we get roughly 100,000 visitors on
our website every month.
What was your idea/inspiration behind starting up a new venture?
Gupta: I was trying
to get a reservation at an award-winning restaurant in Delhi for quite some
time but all my attempts were unsuccessful. I wondered why isn’t there an
online system which shows table availability to prospective diners to ease the
process of making reservations at restaurants. Having spent considerable time
in the US and experiencing such portals over there, I thought that this should
be good idea for the Indian market and should have an immense potential, given
the facts that Indian diners are spending more time on their smartphones than before
and the restaurant industry is growing at a healthy rate.
engineering, I had lost touch of hands-on programming as I was involved in a
non-IT related role in my family business for last 10 years. Therefore, I created a small technology team
to carry out POCs before we hired the full team for product development.
Simultaneously, I also reached out to many restaurants in order to understand
their acceptance for a table and reservation management software. The outcomes
from the survey helped us to fine-tune our offerings in the software.
to develop the restaurant facing software that allows restaurants to manage
tables, reservations, customer data and events & offers. We named it “Empower”
because by using the software, a restaurant is empowered to offer better
customer experience to its diners.
Empower app to restaurants in Delhi NCR and simultaneously developed our
consumer facing website and mobile apps. Once a threshold number of restaurants
were using the Empower app in Delhi NCR, we launched our consumer facing
website and apps. We also started operations in Bengaluru and Mumbai
What business opportunities do you see in India particularly in your sector?
plunging in this venture, we analysed that other players were offering table
reservation service but they were using a call-centre based solution for
confirming such reservations. Also, they did not offer any software solution to
restaurants to manage reservations at the restaurant end. Hence, it was a
completely one sided offering with virtually no focus on solving restaurant
How has been your entrepreneurship journey so far?
Gupta: The journey
has been good so far. Users, both restaurants and diners, see value in our products.
The restaurant user base is diversified in terms of product usage. Not many
restaurants use all available modules; they cherry-pick what suits their needs.
But we so have many restaurants who swear by our product as the Empower App has
eased front desk operations significantly in these restaurants. Consumer
website and apps are fairly new in the market but we are getting healthy
response from diners on it.
|Varun Gupta, Founder & CEO, Clicktable|
challenges do you face in your day to day professional life, if any?
Gupta: The biggest
challenge was the difference between expectations and reality. I think many
start-ups go through this and we were no different. We build this product after
gathering information from 250+ restaurants and we internally believed that
it’s a well thought off product.
facing app, Empower, in the market, we were taken aback by the resistance shown
by the restaurants to implement such a product. They were just not ready to
make a paradigm shift from manually managing their reservations, waitlist,
guest data, etc and move to a cloud based product. We quickly realized that
dedicated training to their staff mitigated most of their apprehensions and
thus we started providing unlimited free on-field training as part of our
sign-up process. In fact, unlimited free training is a major USP for us now.
confirmation of reservations would be enough to generate enough traction for
reservations but after launching our consumer website, we soon realized that
Indian diners are mostly value driven and offers/deals is their highest
priority while making reservations. We quickly had to rework our product to
ensure that deals and offers are more prominent on our website and app.
How big is your team? Are you planning to hire more?
Gupta: We have a big
team of enthusiasts. Yes, will be hiring more in near future.
What are your future plans?
Gupta: We started out of Delhi NCR. Today we have roughly 800 restaurants
on our platform. We have been successful in tapping standalone restaurants and
now our focus has shifted on chains and 4/5 star hotels. We also started
operations in Bangalore and Mumbai few months back. It still early days in
those markets but we have almost 150 restaurants in above two cities on our
platform. We are also planning to start operations in Pune and Hyderabad soon.
In our target set of restaurants, here
are roughly 7000 restaurants across 10 big cities of India. Almost 3 million
people dine at these restaurants every month. Our target is to capture 5% of
this market in near term.