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This Startup is Leveraging Technology to Improve Customers' Dining Experience TabSquare, which recently raised Series B funds, aptly provides diners with the experience of eating as they shop

By Aastha Singal

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


Gone are the days when you'd enter a restaurant and a waiter is waiting with the menu for you to choose your desirable dish. Things have changed, so has the restaurant world. Way before entering the dining space, a consumer is aware of the offerings. While the F&B industry is facing the challenges of optimizing efficiency in restaurant operations, it is steadily adopting the concept of personalization.

With the global POS terminal market expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.53 per cent during the forecast period 2016–2022 as per the analysts at Beige Market Intelligence, Restaurant solution providers like eZee Burrp, Zomato Base and TabSquare have a huge market to provide for. Among all, the latter has ambitious growth plans to expand their AI-powered solutions to the whole of Asia Pacific region.

With everything going digital, food & beverage industry has witnessed the consumer behaviour changing immensely over the past few years. Consumers expect a much more personalized and convenient experience while dining out. Diners today want to eat as they shop, an experience which the newly funded AI-powered Smart In-Restaurant solutions provider TabSquare aptly provides.

Talking to Entrepreneur India, TabSquare co-founder Anshul Gupta shared the reason behind being the pioneer of driving technology adoption and digitalization in the industry. "TabSquare has access to unique data and consumer insights and behaviours which we are using to address the needs of savvy diners (such as instant gratification and convenience but also offering them with the right content at the right time to make correct decisions)," he said.

Aiden – The AI

With Artificial Intelligence disrupting every industry, from retail and e-commerce to entertainment, the restaurant industry doesn't want to remain constrained by limited data from Point-Of-Sale systems. While the industry has hardly leveraged the technology, TabSquare has built their AI engine named "Aiden" to change the standard experience of dining out.

"Aiden powers all of our restaurant solutions and enhances the dining experience by personalizing the experience for the diners," inputted Gupta. He believes that if the restaurants actually cater to the needs to their diners, it can become a catalyst for their income, growth and long-term sustainability. The startup offers a plethora of tools - SmartTab, SmartApp, SmartKiosk and SmartWeb.

Through our digital solutions, over 6000 deployed devices, TabSquare collects over 30 million data points on a monthly basis that allows it to understand the behaviour and preferences of the diners in order to create a completely personalized dining experience for every customer in any restaurant in its network," Gupta added.

The TabSquare suite provides smart in-restaurant dining solutions to create a convenient and engaging dining experience for customers while helping in more streamlined and productive in-restaurant operations to double restaurants' profitability. The In-Restaurant solutions provider make personalized recommendations based on consumers' tastes and preferences.

Shifting the Stigma

People love eating out for two basic reasons – good food and social interactions. While food quality is something chefs need to work on, the diner's appeal decides whether it will make the cut for holding nice conversations. The only way to stand out among a pool of other players is evolution. "According to a Walker study, by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator."

Technology is the ultimate means to evolve and improve customer experience. However, the biggest challenge remains shifting the stigma of technology in a consumer-centric business like restaurants. The fear of technology reducing the quality of service has kept the industry away for a long time but a recent Epsilon research states that 80 per cent of consumers are more likely to do business with a company if it offers a personalized experience.

Success stories of Amazon, Netflix and McDonald have worked as a testimony that personalization if efficiently utilized can make a business model work. Data analysis is another roadblock on the path of restaurant industry flourishing due to the lack of information present in the system. TabSquare's cloud-based data warehouse and analytics engine Nucleus, allows restaurant owners to update the menu in real time as well as provide data analytics to understand consumer behaviour and spending patterns.

Funding Story

TabSquare recently raised $10 million in a Series B funding round led by Kakaku.com, a Tokyo-listed company that operates a comparison shopping website. Other investors to participate in the round were Australia's CocoCola Amatil, Singapore-based Resorts World Inc and existing investor Walden International. TabSquare is a portfolio company of Mumbai Angels Network and Calcutta Angels Network.

The startup will use the money raised to enhance their AI-powered tech solutions, grow its geographic presence across the Asia Pacific including Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. "The money raised will also help the company double our current headcount to support these efforts, especially in product development and data analytics to support our market expansion."

Upon being associated with the new investors, Gupta expressed, "TabSquare now has three highly strategic investors that bring true value, networks and experience to the business by strengthening the three critical elements of the platform: consumers, restaurants and F&B Brands."

Expansion Plans

TabSquare currently serves Quick Service, Counter Service Restaurants, as well as Bars and Cafés but plans to Hotels, food courts and even mobile food vans from an ordering perspective. Due to the similar concept, the startup is also eying the retail space to use technology in improving the customer shopping experience without having to rely on staff for every shopping experience.

With respect to expanding the offerings, Gupta shared, "Diners today need a much more seamless omnichannel experience and we will be working on adding these capabilities in our product portfolio. We will be investing heavily on adding more products, services and add-on modules to alleviate more of these restaurants' pain points and help them further improve their profitability."

Journey So Far

The Singapore-based restaurant management platform was founded in 2012 by INSEAD graduates Chirag Tejuja, Sankaran Sreeraman and Anshul Gupta with the aim of using technology to improve the experience of dining out for consumers. TabSquare claims to have processed over 5 million orders with a GMV of more than $144.81 Mn (INR 1068.7 crore) annually.

With over 6000 devices that serve more than 12 million diners, the startup serves 6 million orders annually. TabSquare's solutions currently collect over 30 million customer interaction data points on a monthly basis. With a unique data-driven approach to restaurant management and customer engagement, TabSquare helps partner restaurants drive higher sales, streamline operations, and provide a better customer experience.

A Market Leader in Singapore with customers in Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand, TabSquare currently serves Minor Food Group, Sushi Tei, Paradise Food Group, Japan Foods Holding, Zingrill Holdings, Chili's, Strike Bowling, Old Town White Coffee, and PappaRich among others.

Aastha Singal

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Features Writer

A business journalist looking to find happiness in the world of startups, investments, MSMEs and more. Officially started her career as a news reporter for News World India, Aastha had short stints with NDTV and NewsX. A true optimist seeking to make a difference, she is a comic junkie who'd rather watch a typical Bollywood masala than a Hollywood blockbuster. 

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