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American Express Books Japan's Pocket Concierge For An Undisclosed Amount The restaurant booking platform recommends high-end restaurants for both domestic and international users

By Nidhi Singh

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Asia Pacific, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Facebook: Pocket Concierge

Globally, the restaurant industry is witnessing a surge in investments. With the new online platforms making inroads, the food industry is in the midst of a dramatic transformation. The restaurant startups, nowadays, are not limited to delivering food outside. To enhance their business and customer experience, a lot of eateries are adding table booking feature.

Japan's restaurant booking platform Pocket Concierge is also working on a similar mission. The company recommends high-end restaurants for both domestic and international users in the country. Founded by Kei Tokado in April 2011, the startup covers finest restaurants in Tokyo, Yokohama, Kyoto and Osaka providing users both Japanese and English concierge service to book the best restaurants.

Decoding Acquisition

The platform was recently acquired by financial services company American Express for an undisclosed amount. With this acquisition, American Express plans to provide its card members with additional access to reservations at top restaurants in Japan.

"Our card members love to dine out, so we are always exploring ways to provide them with greater access to reservations across the globe. Pocket Concierge's reservation platform and extensive relationships with top Japanese restaurants provide us with a great opportunity to continue to enhance and expand upon the dining access we provide to our card members across the globe," said Chris Cracchiolo, senior vice president of Global Loyalty and Benefits, American Express.

What's Next?

Currently, Pocket Concierge has ties with more than 800 premium restaurants in the country. "Pocket Concierge is a service which was created on the back of the passion and inspiration I received while working as a chef, paired with the experience of my childhood around my family's restaurant. It is a great pleasure to work with American Express, a company which has great relationships with restaurants all around the globe," said Kei Tokado, founder and chief executive officer Pocket Concierge.

The startup plans to continue providing all existing services to its current customers and restaurant partners for the time being.

Venture capital firm 500 Startups Japan made its first investments in Pocket Concierge after its launch. The acquisition news was announced in Japanese and in English by James Riney, managing partner & head, 500 Startups Japan.

"We're excited to announce that our portfolio company Pocket Concierge has been acquired by American Express. Congratulations to Tokado-san and Koyama-san on finding a great partner to continue building toward their vision," he wrote in a blogpost.

The inbound tourists to Japan have increased from just under 10 million to over 30 million in the last five years.

Riney added, "When we were just getting started, we talked about the opportunity for cross-border M&A in Japan. For overseas corporations, buying regionally is a viable solution to unlock worth on this nation. Lots of people rightfully doubted that risk, as it's so unusual. Pocket Concierge not solely proved that it's potential, however additionally they discovered a house at one of many worlds' most well-respected corporations."

Nidhi Singh

Former Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia-Pacific

A self confessed Bollywood Lover, Travel junkie and Food Evangelist.I like travelling and I believe it is very important to take ones mind off the daily monotony .


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