On Tuesday, Offpeak, Malaysian restaurant booking service has raised $800K in a Series A round led by Shanghai-based venture capital firm Gobi Partners.
Founded in 2014 by Tan Ban Eu and Lau Ngee Kong, the startup Offpeak offers restaurant suggestions and discounts during off-peak hours. Customers can get a discount for booking a table as less as 20 minutes in advance on its app which is available in iOS and Android. It is somewhat similar to the booking air tickets online on discounts during off-season. Restaurants get better prices and more customers during the non-peak hours which is generally non-crowded times. The app could recommend restaurants to the users based on the location, making it a platform of discovery and booking which is somewhat similar to the functions of OpenTable.
Given the situation that the restaurant is overbooked with the attractive discounts, Offpeak allows the restaurant to contact its customers to reschedule the booking to avoid any confusion later. “It is a situation that rarely arises because the restaurants know their traffic well,” explained Lau, who previously cofounded bidding site Chikapowwow.com. Currently, it caters to more than 600 eateries and has served over 50,000 diners in major cities around Malaysia.
With the new funds, the co-founder Keong share the plans to expand into Southeast Asian cities like Bangkok and find more restaurant partners. It is also planned set up local teams and do better marketing for the company. The goal of the startup is to serve smaller eat outs that does not have a reservation system on its own and also for the establishments that has the system of its own. Reaching out to Gobi Partners because of the prior experience of the venture capital firm in the online to offline and foods and beverages sectors, according to Keong.
“We were deliberate in ensuring that restaurant dining options are not limited to just fine dining or cafes and bistros. With such a diverse dining scene in this region, Offpeak can cater to not only the fine dining to casual dining cafes and bistro genes, but even to quick service restaurants and very local restaurants which usually would not accept reservations or are just operationally unable to cater for table specific reservations,” said Keong.
He also added, “We have achieved much of our first year’s growth plan within the first six months, since our launch and have set out on our next phase of expansion plans across Malaysia and the region. We are excited with Gobi partners coming onboard, as this will certainly leapfrog our business plans.”
With the startups targeting the off-peak hours, it stands out from the rest of the restaurant booking services that just focus on booking table no matter what the time is. Gobi Partners managing partner Thomas G Tsao said, “Offpeak’s smart and functional solution to operational cost issues that affect restaurants regularly, while also providing a one-stop food place for consumers who want to dine out.” He also added, “By being able to meet the needs of both restaurants and customers in such an elegant and practical way, we are confident that Offpeak is well-positioned for success.”