A few weeks ago we knew the news of the acquisition of Restorando, the online reservation platform favorite restaurants in Latin America, by TheFork, belonging to the group TripAdvisor. With this operation, the group continues its international expansion to strengthen its presence in Europe, Latin America and Oceania.
We interviewed Frank Martin, CEO and co-founder of Restorando to tell us what it means for the present and the future this important step, and what are the next challenges they face.
– Who does not know what is Restorando Restorando and how it has become the leading restaurant reservations in Latin America?
Restorando app is the leader in Latin America to book restaurants and enjoy the best discounts and benefits. We born in 2011 having a very clear understanding of what restaurants were in need to build a better business and get a large network of diners in the region. during these 8 years we have not stopped growing, we worked day to day with and for industry, creating a great product based on excellent technology. Currently we have over 3.500 restaurants in the region and we are present in 18 Latin American cities.
– The history of Franco and Frank in Restorando, It is similar to the story of the founders of TheFork, How the idea emerges and is a coincidence or is it a pattern or model of young entrepreneurs repeated in many cases of successful digital companies around the world?, What is the secret?.
Franco and I met in college, both we studied industrial engineering in Buenos Aires and both dreamed of creating our own business. We knew success Open Table US and we were aware of the local need for the restaurants sector digitalized. After studying about the idea and seek funding ... we met our first investors, which they helped us to better understand the industry and the viewpoint of the restaurants. It was then launched back in Restorando 2011 and since then we have not stopped evolving.
I wish I had the recipe for success! What I can say is that we have always had long-term vision. We hoped strongly that the evolution in the industry went through digitization and although we knew it would be neither easy nor quick, we do that. further, for us has always been to focus on the needs of key customers and the quality of our service. Y, Of course, we would not have gotten this far without a team as motivated, so talented and so passionate about the industry and technology like ours.
– TheFork is one of the largest groups of reference in the world of digital restaurant reservations How did the opportunity to join TheFork and what brings you this new challenge?
We are partners Tripadvisor for several years and has long been building a good relationship with TheFork. Both companies share the same philosophy and entrepreneurial culture, we know the market needs and work for the digitization of the sector. This has made the approach was very natural. We needed to increase our traffic and have more resources to continue growing, TheFork meanwhile he sought to consolidate its presence in Latin America. In addition to helping increase traffic, TheFork will provide the vision and experience of more than 10 years in the sector, with a clear understanding of local customs.
– Undoubtedly the digitization of the sector is a reality that occurs worldwide, but in many cases at different speeds, What do you think are the main differences and similarities in the market for digital restaurants between Latin America and Europe?
Both markets seem quite at the level of digitalization, in sector needs and challenges. Restaurants need to be visible on the Internet, digitize its management and reach new customers. Meanwhile, diners looking to easily book and enjoy quality dining experiences. The differences are noticed more than usual habits and. For example, in Europe it tend to plan more outlets in Latin America Restaurants, There are even countries like Brazil where it is common for customers queuing at restaurants to get a table. But, definitely, we all want to discover the best places to eat.
– Buying Restorando by TheFork turns you into one of the great world leaders in the sector of restaurant reservations, How will it affect your development in the local market?
Become part of a successful company and the group as TheFork TripAdvisor I think is the dream of many businesses today. Its resources and market experience will help us continue scanning the catering industry here. Definitely, It is great news for us so that we can continue to grow and the sector, the impact will be very positive. For now, Our immediate goal will be to continue making innovation the main tool that facilitates finding and booking restaurants in order to become the brand that diners are directed when they want to eat out.
– Restorando has become an international reference thanks to the efforts and talent of a young team that has led to success a disruptive idea to what will be the impact of the purchase in the current team Restorando, at all levels?
The goal is to grow the business! Restorando employees will continue to operate in Buenos Aires, Bogotá, Santiago and Mexico City. Restorando's management team will continue to lead teams in Latin America, while teams TheFork and Restorando in Brazil will join forces under the supervision of Ricardo Secio, actual Country Manager de TheFork en Brasil. This operation will also be an opportunity for teams Restorando join those TheFork and thus contribute to global initiatives. Y, Of course, The Founding Fathers we were! we love the industry and much remains to build and learn, TheFork hand and Tripadvisor. We want to continue working hand in hand with restaurants, helping them grow, enhancing the experience of diners and developing business online bookings.
– We're seeing the big digital players like Google, Facebook and Instagram, They are developing strategies for positioning digital restaurant reservations, Do you think that will be great allies or big competitors?
Allies! There are powerful players who are interested in the digitization of the sector is always positive because it allows us to join forces and resources with the same goal. further, both TheFork and Restorando, as experts in the field, and partner are both Google, Facebook e Instagram so you can already book a restaurant through any of them with our technology.
– In the era of Artificial Intelligence, the Blokchain and Big Data, in which increasingly, the relationship between customers and restaurants are more digitized and automated, How do you see the market for digital reserves in the next five years?
The catering industry has been digitized much in recent years, but still has some way to go. We face an increasingly digital future, visual and social, where restaurants will be key to listen to what your customers demand, be alert to market changes and know how to adapt to them. Within 5 years, Being digital is not an option. Restaurants not only must have been digitized out (web, social networking ... etc) but they must have been digitized in order to compete. If you're not digital, competition will win the game.
– our director, Diego Coquillat, He says that great leaders of the next decade in the sector will not be traditional hospitality companies, but technology companies are selling hospitality, Do you consider buying Restorando by TheFork positions on the podium will these new industry leaders?
While TheFork was already the leader in its field in Europe and Australia, It Restorando it was in Latin America. For this reason, the merger of the two companies will allow us to value the best of each sector to continue promoting and consolidating TheFork global positioning as a leading player in the digitization of world-level restaurants.