Kapil Chopra Advises Restaurants on How Farming Data on Customer Preferences Can Be Next Game Changer
Eazy Diner Chairman Kapil Chopra today declared that restaurants, especially in long-standing five-star hotels, must give up their dependence on reservation diaries and embrace the digital world to be able to effectively utilise their capacity. The restaurant business is worth $48 billion, yet it is sometimes run in the most backward ways, Chopra said in a conversation with adman Swapan Seth at the Sixth Hotel Operations Summit India (HOSI 2018) organised by the master of the game Manav Thadani‘s hospitality consultancy company, Hotelivate, at the Taj Diplomatic Enclave in New Delhi.
Chopra recalled that when he launched Eazy Diner, he was certain he was not going to get into the deliveries space because he wanted to keep up the romance and excitement of eating out. His ambition was to use technology “to reduce the friction and pain points that exist between restaurants and their customers”, and also “to curate events that would create excitement around food”.
The old business model of “people knowing people” to bring business into restaurants, Chopra said, has got to be replaced by a data-driven model of restaurants knowing their diners’ preferences and accordingly reaching out to them and engaging in bespoke suggestive selling.
He quoted Steve Jobs’s famous quote — “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them” — to make his point that restaurateurs must define the taste of their customers and not be led to make decisions based on their fuzzy understanding of it. He cited the example of DLF Cyber Hub, Gurgaon, to emphasise his point that it makes more business sense to spot a market where others don’t see one.
Chopra said Eazy Diner is flush with data that could help restaurateurs take important business decisions. “We could help you replace data calls with judgment calls,” he said, jokingly referring to how it’s common for hotel general managers or their CEOs to suggest restaurant openings based on their personal cuisine preferences and not on what would do well in the market.
Giving examples of data dredged out of Eazy Diner, Chopra asked the audience to name the city where demonetisation had the least possible impact, he said it was Bangalore, because the use of plastic money there is much bigger than in most cities as a result of its large population of professionals. Interestingly, it was Connaught Place in New Delhi that was most hit by DeMo — the otherwise busy restaurants there saw a 43 per cent dip in business.
Portals such as Eazy Diner can easily produce such insights for decision-makers in the industry. Interestingly, 8 per cent of all transactions on Eazy Diner today are cashless and pre-paid; Chopra expect this figure to go up to 30 per cent by the end of this year.
The last question got everyone in the audience to perk up. Could he talk about his ‘hotel venture’? Without divulging much, Chopra said he would make the announcement as soon as his first hotel is ready to take bookings, most likely on October 1.
He said all the big innovations in the hotel business have taken place in the budget sector, thanks to disruptors such as OYO Rooms, FabHotels and Treebo. The time was ripe was something similar in the luxury space. Chopra ended on an inspirational note: “The ‘hotel venture’ is a tribute to all of you in this room who dream about setting up your own luxury hotel.” Was he able to inspired many in the packed hall? That only time will tell.