Zomato case study

The India-based restaurant discovery service set up in London with help from London & Partners.

Client profile

Zomato logo
Leisure and Entertainment , Technology
Zomato, an India-headquartered restaurant 'discovery' service, wanted to expand to Europe. London & Partners helped it find offices and staff in London. Zomato set up its London website within just three months of landing in the UK, and the operation is on track to become profitable within a record six months

Take advice from London & Partners about who you should be talking to. The team at London & Partners have very deep knowledge of the industry. We were able to verify what we were doing by talking to them.

Albinder Dhindsa, Head of International Operations, Zomato

About Zomato

Zomato is a restaurant discovery platform providing comprehensive menus, reviews and contact details for restaurants in 21 cities across the world. Territories include India, United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, Qatar, the Philippines, South Africa and now London. Founded in New Delhi in 2008, Zomato employs 220 staff.

Business aim

As part of its global expansion plans, Zomato saw an opportunity to enter and dominate London's restaurant review and bookings market. But the company needed a trusted partner to help it understand the sector, establish an office and recruit the right staff.

London & Partners services

  • Finding an office: introductions to serviced office providers; guidance on office space in Tech City
  • Recruiting staff: advice on salaries, recruitment and work placements
  • Market intelligence: providing information on London restaurant, hotel and venue listings
  • Professional services: advising on accountants and legal firms

Business success in London

Zomato set up its sales team in London in November 2012 and launched its website just three months later in January 2013. By April 2013 the London operation had 16,900 restaurants on its books and employed nine people. It is on track to employ 25-30 people within three years.

In their own words

What advice would you give a company trying to expand to London?
“Take advantage of the resources that the Government provides. London & Partners and UKTI have been brilliant. And take advice from London & Partners about who you should be talking to. The team at London & Partners have very deep knowledge of the industry. We were able to verify what we were doing by talking to them.”

What difference did London & Partners make?
“We wanted to be ‘in market’ a few months before the summer. If we hadn’t had their support we wouldn’t have launched before June 2013. Regarding choosing London over other cities, I think we would have still considered London but it would have moved down the priority list.”

What is Zomato?
“We are a restaurant discovery platform providing in-depth information including independent reviews and ratings. It’s a one-stop shop for diners and offers a way for restaurants to differentiate themselves. We are funded by advertising and do not take a cut of bookings. It’s proved to be a big success world-wide.”

London & Partners can introduce companies like yours to hundreds of vetted professionals. Who did they introduce to you?
“They connected us to the right people. They put us in touch with office spaces and lawyers. They also sent recruitment companies our way so we could also find talent very quickly.”

Why expand to London?
“London hit the sweet spot for us. It’s a very significant market but there’s no dominant player. We are confident that we can become that dominant player. London has a lot of websites where you can book a meal online but 85% of bookings are still done on the phone. We aim to change that.”

The UK capital offers a springboard to global growth. Where next?
“We already have 16,900 London restaurants on our site. We had hoped to break even within 12-18 months but I’m confident that we should break even in London within six months. We will develop the London market first and move to the European market from there.”

London offers one of the largest concentrations of ICT expertise in the world. Have you exploited this?
“London has a very big talent pool. I don’t think we would have been able to ramp up in the same way in our home market. We don't rely on users to post reviews; we are an independent platform so hired interns from the London School of Economics to visit and review each restaurant.”

Londoners are among the most technologically sophisticated consumers in the world. Was this a factor?
“Yes. The customer here is very educated. They appreciate that we offer an independent content platform and they are accustomed to being online. London is a huge market.”

London & Partners is expert at helping overseas companies like yours set up in London. What did you think of the service generally?
“They helped us get all the practicalities out of the way so we could get on with the business. It seems like easy stuff but when you are entering a new market as a foreign company these are huge challenges. They got our office up and running in 24 hours.

London is one of the easiest places in Europe in which to set up a new company. What do you think?
“In terms of regulation, London is a walk in the park. Coming to London was so much easier compared to other cities. We had a lot of support from London & Partners. Payroll…bank accounts…what normally takes three months took one week.”

Albinder Dhindsa, Head of International Operations, Zomato

Published: April 2013