As part of its plans to venture beyond the food listings/discovery space, Zomato launched an Android point of sale system for restauranteurs today. Called Zomato Base, the cloud-based system is built on top of MaplePOS, which Zomato acquired last year as part of its plans to expand into new verticals.
Zomato Base is currently being used in 35 outlets of The Beer Cafe, which claims to be India’s largest beer chain, in 10 cities. The software lets restaurants process debit and credit card payments and manage their inventory.
Last September, Zomato, which launched in 2008 as a restaurant guide, announced that it will reshape its business into consumer and enterprise divisions. A month later, it laid off about 300 employees, or 10 percent of its workforce. A Zomato spokesperson told TechCrunch that the launch of Zomato Base is proceeding on schedule and has nothing to do with the restructuring.
Like other food startups, Zomato’s business in India (where it is headquartered) has been hurt by too much competition from other restaurant listings and delivery businesses (its many rivals include Rocket Internet-backed Foodpanda, Tiny Owl, and Swiggy) and high costs. It brought its restaurant discovery platform to the U.S. in early 2015 by purchasing Urbanspoon, but also faces several well-entrenched rivals there like Yelp and Foursquare.
Zomato’s solution is to try its luck at different verticals, including payments, reservations, white label apps, and restaurant management software. The startup raised $60 million last year earmarked for its multi-pronged expansion strategy (its total funding so far is about $224 million).
These new ventures will be expensive, however, and success is far from guaranteed. For example, Zomato closed its cashless payments service last October following a test in Dubai because consumer acquisition costs were too high, though it plans to try again with a second version.