Diners are increasingly making their restaurant reservations online. Barcelona-based startup Restalo has become the leading provider of this service in Spain and Italy. If you’re keen to sample the Barcelona culinary scene available through Restalo and need to rent a flat in Barcelona, ShBarcelona have apartments to rent in Barcelona whatever your tastes.
Restalo was founded in Barcelona 2009 by four entrepreneurs as both an online booking service and a marketing device for the restaurant industry. It was awarded Best Startup in Catalonia soon after. Since then, it has grown exponentially and today provides a comprehensive guide to over 7,000 restaurants in Spain, catering to all budgets and cuisines, for over 1 million users.
“We want all users to have access to discover and reserve a table at the best restaurants in a matter of seconds, as well as help restaurateurs to offer the best possible experience to get the customer back,”says CEO Juan Otero.
An intuitive user interface enables restaurants to be selected either by searching for the restaurant by name, or by browsing Restalo’s current suggestions. The entry for each restaurant includes a map, photo, menu, reviews and any offers available. After entering a date, the time of the meal and the number of diners, the search engine displays the available options. Real-time booking allows users to book immediately and receive instant confirmation. The service is free to use for customers and there are no booking fees.
Restalo’s features include over 250,000 user reviews, an extensive selection of discounts between 10% and 70% and prize draws for customers. Subscribers to their mailing list receive regular emails containing deals available in their area.
For the restaurants that sign up to Restalo, the service provides a booking management solution, a marketing tool to gain visibility and a means to maximize their capacity. There is no need for any prior installation of software, as the Cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service) reservation system renders any additional equipment unnecessary. Restalo currently generates €2.2 million in monthly revenues for its restaurants.
Defying the economic crisis, last year Restalo saw a 300% increase in the number of bookings made. It has now seated more than 4 million diners. An understanding of developments in technology has played a crucial role in this continued growth. As Mr Otero explains “With the increase in mobile devices, social media and micropayment methods, technology is infiltrating the restaurant and food industry like never before.” In addition to the predictable social media usage and a mobile app for Android and iPhone, Restalo work with over 200 different partner sites, including TimeOut, TripAdvisor and Google, powering their online reservations.
Restalo also benefitted from incorporating customer analytics software known as Campaign Commander Customer Intelligence to access consumer data and create a communication campaign to target their different users. Inactive users were sent messages with good deals in their area and a point-based loyalty programme was devised for regular users to reward them with special offers. This led to a 25% conversion rate increase and an increase in click through rates of 79%. Marketing Manager Sara Cadena cited this as “proof that gaining a deeper understanding of customers is the key to successful marketing.”
In 2011 Restalo raised €1 million from Active Venture Partners, which were used to further expand to new territories and continue its development. In 2013, a further €7.4 million was raised from Seaya Ventures and Active Venture Partners. The global industry leader in online restaurant reservations OpenTable have yet to operate in Spain and Italy, which is one of the reasons Restalo remains an attractive investment. The funding will be used to consolidate Restalo’s position in Spain and Italy, expand to new territories and strengthen mobile applications. Otero plans to expand to Australia as a priority.