• Platform designed to match restaurants with diners during quieter periods
• Operates through website and mobile phone app
• Rapid UK expansion planned
What BigDish does
The BigDish platform does this by offering discounts to diners for reservations at restaurants at certain times of the day, usually when general demand is lower and the restaurant is looking to get people through the door.
The platform, which is operated through both a website and a mobile phone app, currently offers tables in Bath, Bournemouth, Bristol and Southampton, although more expansion is planned across the UK.
• In an update in April, BigDish announced plans to add review functions, reservation sharing on social media, ‘new restaurant’ markers and search-by-region capabilities to its platform in the second quarter of 2019
• The company said it planned to hire three to four new developers for its team in Manila “as soon as possible”, with the additional cost expected to be “minimal”
• In March, the company partnered with award-winning digital advertiser Loud Mouth Media to help drive brand awareness and app usage across the UK
• The group is targeting a launch of its platform in Brighton in April or May as well as another launch in Essex in the same period
Speaking to Proactive in March, BigDish’s chief executive (CEO) Sanj Naha said when seeking new regions and restaurants the company undertakes a “hands on” approach that involves not only online research but also speaking to local people and restaurant owners in order to select the best businesses for its platform.
He adds that the firm has an “aggressive target” of around 20 restaurants in the first month of operating in a new territory, with the ultimate aim to build up 200 per territory as an initial milestone.
“Twenty is a good number to launch with,” Naha says, who became CEO of BigDish in January having previously held senior positions at companies such as review site Tripadvisor and online restaurant reservation service Bookatable.
He also says that while the group is currently looking to target independent establishments, BigDish won’t shy away from approaching restaurant chains in the future.
“The sales cycle is much shorter with [an independent restaurant]” Naha says, which is better for a growing business. However he adds that BigDish is already having conversations with larger chains.
“I think the right mix as we go forward will probably be having a third of independent restaurants, a third of chains and groups, and also a third of smaller restaurant groups … once we have more of a UK presence you’ll start seeing more of those popping up in our territories.”
Naha adds that having around 6,000 restaurants using the platform within two years is “absolutely achievable”.
He cites the example of Deliveroo, which over three to four years amassed around 18,000 UK restaurants on its platform.