Digital restaurant giant Zomato steps up to the Manchester plate

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zomatomcrThe food discovery website and app which has every Manchester restaurant in its sights is ramping up activity in the city from next week.

Zomato, which now has 750,000 users in the UK, started work in the city in July and has been busy refining the offering to take into account the northern differences.

AVP of International Operations Neel Ghose said a lot of work had been going on behind the scenes. A team of two has been recruited locally and will be based in the city from November 15 after undergoing ‘hands-on’ training at the company’s London base.

Talks to secure an office - probably in the Northern Quarter - are also well advanced.

“They [new recruits] have been exposed to every single part of  Zomato so in terms of content and how we keep it updated, how we make it into a business and also the data collection - we basically walk the streets picking up the information. But at the same time what we have been doing in Manchester is refreshing our content and constantly monitoring to be ready,” Ghose told me.

Headquartered in New Delhi, Zomato is currently present in seven other countries - India, UAE, the Philippines, Qatar, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, and South Africa - and shouts a combined web and mobile traffic of over 14 million users per month and a ranking among the top 2,600 websites in the world.

How the service made waves in London How the service made waves in London

When they started in London, after just a few months they were reported to have 'blitzed the ultra-competitive restaurant listings sector'.

Daily Mirror e-editor Martin Newman reported: "Zomato's breadth of coverage now exceeds all their existing London competitors with their main selling point the scanned copies of menus for every one of their listings."

The service in Manchester offers a hyperlocal restaurant finder for web and mobile to the city with the USP being a full menu service. Every single one of Manchester 1,800 restaurants, cafe and food outlet has been contacted and the menus extracted to be displayed to users searching for a style of food, the price they’re willing to pay or the location.

Taking on board some of the feedback from the soft launch in the summer, Ghose said some new filters are being introduced to cater for local requirements.

“In Manchester we found that family eating is more of a focal point than it is for Londoners so we are looking at featuring children’s menus and having a filter which will make it easier to find places which cater for youngsters.”

The company is also launching in Edinburgh this month, picking up on the growing trend for people to share their dining experiences.

“Foodies are generally very passionate people - it’s not just that they go out to a restaurant and enjoy a meal it’s about sharing what they are doing with friends, family and people around them.

“Technology means that has grown into a whole worldwide online community.”