From Table Reservations to A Leading Restaurant Technology Provider – The story of Dineout

From Table Reservations to A Leading Restaurant Technology Provider – The story of Dineout

GREAT LAKES GUEST LECTURE SERIES – Mr VIVEK KAPOOR

Co-FOUNDER – DINEOUT

14th July 2018

On a particularly hot summer Friday afternoon, the Ninjas and Aztecs – the PGPM and PGDM 2019 batches of Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon – came together to welcome Mr Vivek Kapoor, a sailor-turned-entrepreneur and co-founder of the flourishing start-up – Dineout.

Mr Vivek Kapoor: At the age of 18, Mr Kapoor joined the Merchant Navy and sailed as a Cadet for 2 years on Italian-owned vessels. He sailed for almost 30 months as a 2nd Officer and has a Chief Officers Certificate of Competency from DG Shipping, India, before he set out to be an entrepreneur.

Inception of Dineout

Mr Kapoor took the students on a 90-minute journey to showcase how he started the company with three of his friends, who all had been working with international MNCs. They planned to launch Dineout as a restaurant reservation system on February 29th, 2012, after having partnered with 80 restaurants in Delhi with zero on-boarding fees.

As is the case with any start-up, the initial days were not as smooth as they might have imagined. In a pre-Jio era, when smartphones were still becoming popular, getting users on their website was a Herculean task. So was getting a response from the restaurants. In order to tackle this, they set up a hotline for booking reservations along with shifting their email-based system to SMS based. Six months down the line, in August 2012, they landed their first investor, who interestingly happened to be one of their early customers. Within a year of being in operation, their team grew from 4 to 30 and their user base grew from 3,000 diners a month to over 8,000 diners.

Partnership & Acquisition

Soon after, they were approached by Times Internet (formerly known as TimesCity), the “Yellow Pages for restaurants” as he called them, for a partnership requiring them to power the “Book Table” button on their website. Within just two months of partnership, they offered to acquire Dineout. In Mr Kapoor’s words, “As entrepreneurs, it was a very difficult and confusing time, because no entrepreneur would start his company and think that within one or two years of the company’s existence, he would have to wash his hands off the company”. Times Internet, however, had different plans. They still wanted the founders to run the company even after the acquisition.

Transition from Table Reservations to A Leading Restaurant Technology Provider

Post-acquisition, from 12,000 diners a month in April 2014, they grew to 54,000 diners a month by April 2015. They scaled to 8 cities, and the team grew from 30 people to 150 which included a 45-people call-centre team. However, booking tables via calls wasn’t a sustainable way to move forward. A software-based system was the need of the hour, and that’s when they acquired Inresto, a small Bengaluru-based technology company.

With Inresto in their portfolio, Dineout grew to be a company that builds technology for restaurants and not just facilitates table reservations for diners. Inresto developed into a tool that catered to all the needs of a restaurant, from Feedback Management, Table Reservation to Order Management and Campaigns. Along with having a user base of over a million users, Dineout currently is the leading technology provider to the restaurants.

Challenges

Dineout did face a lot of challenges such as lack of inter-partner chemistry, lack of clarity, organizational structure, infrastructural issues and doubts on their validity. Mr Kapoor brought to light the fact that one needs to be aware of one’s strengths and weaknesses. Equity shares amongst the partners prior to the acquisition were not equal and this kind of disparity can be brutal. This was overcome after the acquisition by keeping in mind the future growth of the company.

While talking about Dineout’s strategy for acquiring users, Mr Kapoor said that closing the loop, or completing the transaction, is important. To attain this, Dineout introduced Dineout SmartPay, a brainchild of co-founder Sahil Jain, to identify customers on Inresto and make payments easier. They have also aggregated various delivery services like Zomato, Swiggy, Food Panda along with payment services like Paytm, Freecharge, PhonePe, Visa, etc. He also mentioned that if discounts are considered the right way to go, they are actually not. Simply providing discounts is not the right way, but how the discounts are positioned is more important.

Rising above the Competition

On being asked about how Dineout is trying to create a different position for itself among companies such as Zomato, Nearbuy and EazyDiner operating within the same space, Mr Kapoor responded by stating that the USP of the company is Adaptability. Dineout is focused on doing what the restaurant wants them to do and what the diner expects them to do. Zomato has the highest restaurant discovery rate but it lags behind Dineout in table reservations. Dineout SmartPay has recorded more transactions than Paytm in restaurants. From the restaurants perspective, Dineout is far deeper in providing technology than any other competitor. Dineout is also getting into Big Data and Analytics, working with around 40,000 data points, helping partner restaurants with expansion and customer data analysis.

Author: Arpit Gupta

PGPM, Class of 2019, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

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Uncovering the Secret of Success in the Corporate Sector: Great Lakes Guest Lecture Series

Uncovering the Secret of Success in the Corporate Sector: Great Lakes Guest Lecture Series

GREAT LAKES GUEST LECTURE SERIES – Mr ASHISH JAIN

VICE PRESIDENT – RIGHT MANAGEMENT, INDIA

We often take our freedom on social media for granted. We love to show off our brand new purchases, check-in at some of the finest bars and pubs in town, share an insane number of selfies and also express our religious and political views before a large audience. We often forget that we are, in fact, being watched and judged. Our current employers, our prospective employers, nearly everyone who scrolls by our posts builds up an opinion about us.

7th July 2018: It was a bright Saturday morning. The Ninjas –PGPM batch of 2018-19, at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon – were once again decked up in their sharp suits, armed with notepads, pens and laptops, to attend a talk delivered by Mr. Ashish Jain, Vice President of Right Management, India, and his colleagues, Shivpriya G and Ishana Singh. After weeks of exams, project submissions and assignments, an interactive industry engagement event was well overdue. The Ninjas were in for a fruitful learning experience from people who have made the most out of their personal experiences and grown immensely in their professional lives.

Right Management India: Right Management is one of the leading talent development and career management firms in the world. Established in Philadelphia, USA, in 1980, the company has grown by leaps and bounds by establishing its presence in the US, UK, Canada, China and India. It acquired People Tech in 1996 and Coutts Consulting in 2002. It now is a leading brand under Milwaukee-based Manpower Group, one of the largest Fortune 500 staffing firms in the world. Manpower Group CEO Jonas Prising holds a seat at the World Economic Forum. Right Management has participated in the VivaTech Convention, which is a major platform dedicated to technological innovations, where many promising start-ups also come forward to showcase their offerings. The firm is also actively involved in leveraging Artificial Intelligence to ease the hiring process for corporates.

Ashish Jain: Ashish Jain is an alumnus of Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad. An MBA specialized in Human Resources and Marketing, Ashish has also completed the HBX CORe Credential of Readiness certification from Harvard Business School. He began his managerial career as a consultant with Positive Moves Consulting in 2008, and worked with the firm until he joined Right Management India in 2010. He started off as a consultant and has worked his way up to the post of Vice President in a matter of 8 years and is now spearheading various digital initiatives in the firm, bringing Artificial Intelligence to the field of talent acquisition and hiring.

Social Media – A Deal-Maker or Breaker: Ashish Jain and his colleagues took the Ninjas through a 90-minutes journey to show them how the effective use of social media, or the lack of it, can make or break a person’s career or a business. Quoting numerous examples from their personal lives and from around the world, they delivered the importance of leveraging social networking to connect with people in a manner that it opens up new pathways towards fruitful career opportunities.

Social networking sites have their own beauty as well as pitfalls. They give each person a platform to interact with people spread across the globe, to present their talents and achievements before all of their friends, to bask in the glory of their latest acquisitions of property or automobiles or to voice their opinions regarding various socio-political affairs. And this is exactly where we need to tread carefully. Suddenly an obsession to rant on political or religious matters, to post an album full of selfies or boast about one’s capacity to consume alcoholic beverages no longer seem to be one of the best things to do on social media. Recruiters increasingly screen candidates on the basis of their social media footprint to analyze their personality and determine if they are fit to be a part of their organization.

The Big Five Personality Traits – Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism (OCEAN) – form the parameters on which recruiters are beginning to gauge a candidate’s potential to adhere to the organization’s culture, uphold its values and attain its goals. These traits can be measured by conducting personality tests. But sometimes, going through a person’s social media footprint, itself, gives a brief idea about his or her traits. The opinions posted by a person, his or her comments and reactions to contrasting views from others, language, grammar and vocabulary, relevance and importance of the subject in question, and many such factors paint a near-clear picture of how that person might behave in a corporate environment. Sharing posts related to one’s career aspirations and passions, posting relevant and sensible comments on related posts, following influential persons and thought leaders, having a reasonable balance between followers and followed users, following the right people at the right time and steering clear of controversial topics can, on the other hand, help one bag the dream job he or she is looking for.

Social media has become a powerful tool for self-expression and sharing feedback. Corporates are becoming more and more cautious about their interactions with customers, and they have to. We live in an era where a single tweet or a Facebook post from a highly dissatisfied customer can cause a company to lose customers and also cause its share prices to dip considerably. In such an era, a company cannot afford to be indifferent to its customer’s needs and complaints.

In Conclusion: What started as a tool to connect with people, socialize and meet like-minded people has now turned into a major contributor in myriads of aspects of the corporate world. Let us make wise use of this free-of-cost utility to enrich our lives and form beneficial connections. Just like we have learnt to isolate our personal lives from our professional lives, let us also learn to choose among our choices of social networking tools to showcase our personal lives, our hobbies and aspirations, our career progression and capabilities, each in its own best way. As rightfully stated by Ashish, 65% of talent acquisitions take place through referrals. And referrals are created through strong connections with the right people over the right channels. Ashish Jain and his colleagues from Right Management have shown the Ninjas a new perspective towards social media which the Ninjas are keen on following diligently going forward.

Author: Bruno Nellissery

PGPM, Class of 2019, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

The Joy of Giving: Karma Yoga Session 1

The Joy of Giving: Karma Yoga Session 1

July 7th, 2018

“Don’t give to get. Give to inspire others to give.”

~ Simon Sinek

One such choice we made is to explore the side of our personality which allows us to be generous in giving, without expecting anything in return.

We, the students of PGPM 2019 – NINJAS, started our journey on 7th July 2018 with the same mission in mind. Red walls, lush green compound, enthusiastic students in the uniforms planting trees, joyful teachers; these are the visuals which welcomed us to the Primary Government School of Fazalwas, Haryana. It was euphoria all around; innocent faces, wide smiles, genuine conversations. We were elated by seeing the school kids deeply involved with themselves and maybe this is what it is called “being in present” or “mindfulness”.

After a quick introduction, we were pleased to witness various performances by students such as dancing, singing, and mimicry. Post the icebreaking session, we were quick in executing our plans for the day. Teaching tables through Vedic mathematics technique, unleashing the talent hidden in the students by asking different questions about their likes and interests, engaging them by playing games with them. We clapped, danced and laughed along with them and got lost in the moment forgetting all the worries, assignments or projects. There was a sense of belonging and blissfulness in those tiny classrooms with minimum facilities. It gave us immense pleasure to have connected with these kids when they were over the moon sharing with us their fantasies, friends, and little playful fights they had amidst strong bonding. At that moment, we felt there is a lot of selfishness in giving back to society which is the immense satisfaction and happiness you experience in the process.

Giving back to society not only makes us generous, it also adds purpose to our life and happiness in doing something for others who need it more. Giving back to society is de-stressing too, it helps us to realize our own self and manage our inner relationships to make us live a more balanced life, allowing us to keep a balance between our daily chaos and our need to become a more responsible citizen and an individual.

Seeing the sheer joy and happiness on the kids’ face and knowing that we have been a small reason behind those smiles has been an unparalleled experience. And we are forever in debt to the Karma Yoga initiative of Great Lakes, Gurgaon for introducing us to such joy.

“At the end of the day, it’s not about what you have or what you’ve accomplished. It’s all about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back.”

~ Denzel Washington

Author: Urvi Sehrawat

PGPM, Class of 2019, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

4th International Yoga Day Celebrations @ Great Lakes, Gurgaon

4th International Yoga Day Celebrations @ Great Lakes, Gurgaon

It was just another Thursday morning at an ultra-modern B-school campus, but something was different about it. Students were seen marching out of their hostel rooms in pyjamas and t-shirts at dawn. Such enthusiasm wasn’t a daily occurrence for these future managers when it came to waking up early. So, what was the occasion?

This was how Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon celebrated the 4th International Yoga Day on 21st June 2018. The event, spearheaded by Prof. S K Palhan, provided a glimpse of how traditional Indian values and practices still play an important role in our modern education system. Students gathered in numbers to attempt various Aasanas and realised the importance of a healthy body along with a healthy mind. Prof. S K Palhan addressed the students on how yoga can be instrumental in inculcating discipline in one’s life and how it could substantially improve individual productivity.

The initiative that started with Mr Narendra Modi delivering a speech at the United Nations General Assembly back in 2014, has become a revolution now. To quote Mr Modi, “Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies the unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not just a form of exercise but a lifestyle pattern to discover the sense of oneness with oneself, the world and nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help in our well-being. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day”. It garnered support from all around the globe and created history when a total of 177 nations co-sponsored the resolution, which is the highest number of co-sponsors ever for any United Nations proposition of such nature.

What does Yoga mean? It comes from a Sanskrit word ‘Yuja’, which means to bind and unify. Yoga embodies the concept of a consolidated entity. It suggests that one’s body and mind need to work in coordination to attain paramount intellect and spiritual strength. Scientific studies have further supported it by stating its effectiveness in curing diseases and ailments like cancer and arthritis. 21st June is the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere and shares a special significance in many other parts of the world, hence it was termed apt to be named as something so important and symbolic to Indian tradition.

International Yoga Day every year is no less than a festival. We have witnessed people and leaders gathering in masses to uphold the movement and represent our ingenious values on an international platform. Educational Institutions, alike, have contributed to creating awareness amongst our youth who are going to be future leaders, hence it becomes even more important to include them in this movement. Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, is amongst those institutions that believe in ‘holding on tight to your core values in the pursuit of excellence’ and hence, the institute never fails to make a valuable contribution to such indigenous initiatives.

The Yoga session was very well received by everyone. Students collectively agreed that they found the experience quite rejuvenating. Many students shared their experiences. Some of the students, who attempted Yoga for the first time exclaimed gleefully “Yoga se hi hoga”.  Provided the hectic college schedule, others admitted it as being the most peaceful experience in their last 1 month. Prof. Palhan seemed happy looking at the students sharing their exhilarating experiences. He said that yoga should be a part of everyone’s routine and not just a one-time thing. He called for students to imbibe it in their habit and witness the difference for themselves.

Author: Prateek Gupta

PGPM, Class of 2019, Great Lakes, Gurgaon