French startup Zenchef helps restaurants build out their online presence, including website creation tools and the ability to take bookings direct. The latter offers an alternative to relying purely on online reservation platforms such as Opentable or Lafourchette, which, incidentally, have also ventured out into the B2B space.
Today the company, which is rebranding from its previous name 1001menus, is announcing that it is has closed €6 million in new funding. Leading the round is Edenred Capital Partners, with participation from Xange, Metro, and previous backers Elaia Partners, Accélérateur Capital Partners and Kima Ventures. Several unnamed angels also contributed.
“Small independent restaurant owners now need to build a digital presence to attract and retain more customers but they don’t have time and technical/marketing skills to create a website, manage reservations, reply to reviews or communicate with their customers. Existing solutions only solve a small part of the problem and restaurant owners don’t want to use multiple tools,” says Zenchef co-founder and CEO Xavier Zeitoun.
“We are providing restaurants a full online marketing suite where they can build and manage their website, manage online and offline reservations, track all reviews published about their restaurant anywhere on the Internet, collect feedback from their customers and automatically communicate with them to increase loyalty.”
Citing website creation tools like Wix or Squarespace or local web agencies as additional competitors, Zeitoun reckons Zenchef is a better solution for restaurants wanting to build and manage their online presence because it doesn’t simply provide a set of disparate tools but joins up the entire online marketing process.
“We don’t provide a set of tools but a real solution,” he says. “When one of our users updates a menu, they are immediately asked if they want to send a newsletter to all their customers and it takes two clicks. They don’t have to download and re-upload email lists, they can automatically collect thousands of reviews and publish them automatically on their website. It’s like hiring a team of 5 marketing people working for your restaurant, but simpler and cheaper!”
To that end, Zenchef will use the additional capital for further international expansion. The startup currently operates in France, U.K. and Spain, claiming 2,500 clients. It is targeting 25,000 restaurants/clients in Europe by 2018, a market it says consists of more than 500,000 independent restaurants.
Meanwhile, the company’s business model is a well-trodden one. It charges for its Software-as-a-Service, starting from €79 per month, although there is a free plan too. I’m also told Zenchef has just passed €2 million in ARR.