Happy Hours India: A Foodie Delight on Mobile
Mobile is an emerging platform for most of our buying or spending related decisions. Some smart entrepreneurs like Hemant Jain co-founder of FNB City Media Pvt Ltd which is the parent company of Happy Hours India, have understood this trend very uniquely and are offering an interesting value to foodies.
Happy Hours India is the first of it’s kind mobile application available for Indian, which deliver’s customers joy of finding the most exciting dining deals, events at local restaurants, eating joints and pubs. As the name suggests it provides the user with real time information of happy hour’s at restaurants around you.
Happy Hours India is part of FNB City Media Pvt. Ltd. which is an early stage startup in the online food, restaurant, local media and marketing space. The company was founded in September 2013, with the vision of doing both – delivering to our customers the joy of finding happy hours and also maximizing the occupancy for restaurants.
The first prototype of the concept, ‘Happy Hours India’ was launched in April’13 as a very basic android app with listing of Happy Hours across 7 restaurants in Powai, Mumbai. The IOS version of the same app was launched in Sep13. The initial 12 months were about meeting the restaurants across the top8 cities, presenting the concept, collating metadata and publishing the enriched metadata to give our customers more choice of cities and restaurants on the app. The 2nd version of the app, android and IOS, was launched in April’14.
In an exclusive interaction with Faiz Askari of SMEStreet, Hemant have shared interesting glimpse about the interesting buying behavior of Indian foodies.
The edited excerpts:
How is Online emerging as a preferred medium for diners?
Traditionally, Search and discovery had been a big pain point while deciding which restaurant to go to. With the growth of the digital ecosystem, there has been a paradigm shift while deciding the restaurant suiting a particular occasion or event. Earlier it was restricted to searching in newspaper classifieds, yellow pages, then came the era of just dial but largely dependent on recommendation from family and friends. With the advent of internet, the search widened the opportunity to discover and mobile made the same search more local, social, convenient and personalized
What are the key trends you witness in the food service industry?
Food and services sector contributes to over 2.3% of India’s GDP. The overall market size of the food services industry by FY2013 in India was over $48Bn and approximately $9Bn. more than the telecom sector. It is expected to grow at 11% CAGR and touch $78Bn. by 2018. The organized segment is growing at 16% CAGR. On the supply side, the Food services sector is driven by newer formats including multi-cuisine basis changing consumer preference, focus on improvisation in restaurant experience, growth in tourism, improving retail infrastructure, entry of international players and direct involvement of chefs in driving innovations. On the demand side, we are all aware of the great Indian middle class story, favorable demographics, growing working population, urbanization, increase in disposable income and number of workingwomen, there has been a significant jump in the ‘Eating Out’ consumer base in India. I believe that India is still a very nascent market when compared to some of the other south east Asian markets with regards to the base and the frequency of eating outand this according to me is the biggest growth opportunity on the demand side.
How is your journey so far as an entrepreneur in establishing Happy Hours?
I think its still early days for us, but we believe there’s a huge growth opportunity within the category. I am at this stage spending most of my time with the customers, who are constantly on the look out for places to have a great time over food and drinks and also the restaurant owners who are exploring innovative ways to stay competitive is this age of hyper competition
What is the key USPs of your Happy Hours?
We are India’s 1st,Happy Hours centric location based mobile application, which deliver’s customers the joy of finding the most exciting Happy Hours, deals and events at a local restaurant or pub. As the name suggests it provides the user with real time information of happy hour’s at restaurants around you. The customers can also search for restaurants offering buffet breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. Available in iOS and Android for free, once you download and install the app, it asks for your permission to access your location and Voila, the magic gets unfolded.
Currently, the app is the largest aggregator of Happy Hours in India covering over 1400+ restaurants and pubs in top 14 cities.
One of the interesting aspect is that the ‘Consumer’ and ‘Business’ facing features are available within the same app. It gives complete freedom to the restaurant manager to update offers and also connect directly with customers in the local catchment via push notifications.
What are the key drivers of customers and users who are booking their food outing through app medium?
The convenience of finding the best restaurant basis the ease in search, power of location-based discovery, recommendation from social influencers largely through Facebook integration, richer UI/UX enhancing the overall experiencing of finding the place and personalized offers/updates via in-app notification’s
Please share your customer demography?
The total number of unique cities and towns in India from which the app has been downloaded is 323. Users from Metros continue to dominate usage. Apart from the metros, we have very high usage coming in from Ludhiana, Indore, Pune and Chandigarh. Response from i-phone users has been very encouraging.
Where would you like to see your business in next two years?
We are quite motivated with the manner in which customers have responded to our proposition. The next level of growth will come through launch of new services, enhanced consumer experience, user base monetization and entry into newer markets including the tier-2 and 3 cities and towns. While we are focused on growing our user base and user experience in short run, we are very focused on user monetization and achieving profitability in medium to long run.