BigDish

BigDish, a Manila-based restaurant reservation app, has gone public on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

It has raised £1.8 million (US$2.3 million) via the IPO. BigDish will use the newly-raised funding to boost its branding, grow the company, bring on more restaurant partners as well as beef up its tech platform.

BigDish is focused on enabling yield management in restaurants, a time-based variable pricing system that allows restaurant owners to maximise their resources and yield greater profits.

Yield management is not a novel concept; it has been prevalent in the hotel and airline industries for decades. But recently, there has been a surge in restaurants getting into the game thanks to the ubiquitous use of mobile apps, which allows consumers to make reservations on the fly.

BigDish was launched by two Britons based in the Philippines, Joost Boer and Aidan Bishop. Boer was previously an Operations Manager at financial marketplace CompareAsiaGroup before founding the startup with Bishop.

“in my younger years, I had a job washing dishes in a restaurant. On a Friday night, I’d pretty much work myself in the ground while on a Tuesday the chef might send me home because there was not enough work to do,” shared Boer, in an email interview with e27.

“Imagine this situation from a restaurant’s point of view where on one night there are lines in front of your restaurant while on other nights the place is 90 per cent empty. It is an obvious inefficiency to which BigDish offers an obvious solution, and it’s a problem I’m personally passionate about due to my past experiences,” he added.

BigDish allows customers to save between 10 to 50 per cent off their total bill; higher discounts are allocated to reservations made during off-peak and quieter times. Current partner restaurants include IHOP, California Pizza Kitchen, and Motorino.

Since its founding in 2016, the company has grown to a team of 25 people, and prior to the IPO, it raised undisclosed funding from various angel investors.

On the decision to go public on the LSE, Boer said it was due to “Aidan’s access to capital in London and his familiarity with the British IPO process”. It also enables the company to bring its platform to the UK market — Boer said it is expecting to launch there soon.

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In Southeast Asia, BigDish is available in Manilla, Jakarta and Hong Kong. Boer did not announce any plans to expand into other markets in the region.

Although the restaurant yield management space in Southeast Asia is still nascent, BigDish faces strong competition from Thailand-based startup Eatigo, which also has a presence in the Philippines and Hong Kong.

Eatigo has not made its debut in Indonesia yet, though, so there is still time for BigDish capture a good portion of the market — it will be a race to woo as many restaurant partners as possible.

Image Credit: BigDish