Redefining dining reservations

Disclaimer: This has been published in the Manila Times on March 1, 2018

Redefining dining reservations

Since its launch in 2016, BigDish restaurant reservation app has been a hit with Filipino diners

Restaurant reservations application BigDish provides discount to its users and gives them the opportunity to discover new restaurants.

At 16, BigDish CEO Joost Boer was already hooked with online businesses. “I became a content writer for one of the Netherlands’ oldest and largest videogame news websites. I ended up running the entire website (both the editorial direction and the product management) and this really whet my appetite for online businesses while realizing the incredible potential of the internet,” he says.

BigDish sales and marketing team with managing director Cassie Yusofi (center)

A graduate from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam with a degree in Strategic management, Boer eventually moved to Asia to work for a startup. “I made the move to Asia to work for a startup, which was part of CompareAsiaGroup. I was one of the first people rolling out their expansion to the Philippines. After that, I took on a regional role in the product team. This was perfect as it allowed me to combine my love for Asia with my love for online businesses.”

Dining smarter

Boer recalls the time when he was younger and worked for a restaurant. He was able to get inspiration from his experience. “I had a job washing dishes in a restaurant. On a Friday night I’d pretty much work myself in the ground while on a Tuesday the chef might send me home because there was not enough work to do. Imagine this situation from a restaurant’s point of view where on one night there’s lines in front of your restaurant while on other nights the place is 90 percent empty.”

He emphasized that it is a big dilemma even as the airline and hotel industry have resolved this problem through yield management. According to Boer, “Yield management is a variable pricing strategy where price is demand-depended. We figured, why not introduce yield management to the restaurant industry?”

Founders Aidan Bishop and Joost Boer both lived in the Philippines for a long time and both are serial entrepreneurs. Bishop is chairman and investor in companies related to the cacao and mining industry while Boer has a background in finance. Since the startup industry in the country was appealing, they decided to launch the first version of the application in 2016. In early 2017, they expanded to Hong Kong and Indonesia.

User-friendly and convenient

Users do not need to pay a membership fee to use the application. In fact, they just have to login to their Facebook account or email and make a discounted reservation in just a couple of taps.

After booking online, they just need to introduce themselves at the restaurant, mention that they booked via BigDish and that’s it. Boer assures users that the app is user-friendly and convenient, “when the bill comes the discount will have been automatically applied. It’s a completely frictionless and invisible process. No vouchers need to be printed or payment details need to be given. “

Continuously Growing

They currently have 200 partner establishments however they are planning to double it within the next six months. In terms of users, “over the past half year our diners seated in Manila has been growing 24 percent month-over-month on average. Users love our app and many use it multiple times a week, with the occasional power user even using it daily,” shares Boer.

The main goal of this online platform is to help restaurants on a global scale to optimize their occupancy rates and profitability. Which is why they are actively looking to become the most innovative company in the industry.

Boer is looking forward to2018 because they plan to expand in five cities in the UK in quarter 2 and in other cities in the Philippines.

“We currently have some really interesting projects in the pipeline that will bring yield management for restaurants to the next level. The space is still very young, and how I see it there is a myriad of ways to improve the service for both users and restaurants alike. We can’t yet share what we’re working on but by late 2018 we plan to unveil some of it.”

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