Happy hours and discounts have always been used as a tool to drive up sales at restaurants. But giving away flat discounts doesn’t solve the problem of retaining customers even though it brings them in. The question is, as much as business use discounts to get new customers, how can they use it to retain existing customers. That is where KonjamDiscounts comes into the picture.
KonjamDiscounts was started by Arun Venkatesh, Vikash Koushik and Siddharth Anbarasan. Arun and Vikash have studied together since the sixth grade. Siddharth joined them while they were in the 11th grade and they all have been close for nearly a decade now. Even though they did study engineering at different colleges, they still hung around very often at a lot of restaurants in their free time. The inspiration for the current product steamed from hanging out at restaurants.
KonjamDiscount is a product of Vaffle where customers receive incremental discounts from their favorite restaurants based on the number of times they've purchased there. This is something that consumers love (who'd say no to higher discounts on every purchase). This would also help the restaurants with customer retention.
The Co-founder & CEO of Vaffle, Vikash Koushik, explains his product saying, “If you're going to Domino's Pizza and they're tied up with us, you could buy one of the deals on our website. If the deal is on a bill of Rs.500 you could get the first discount which would be 20%, for example. So you'd pay Rs.400 on our website and show the confirmation mail or SMS to the restaurant and avail your deal. When you want to go back to Domino's Pizza again next week, you could buy another deal. And our site would automatically recognize that you're going to buy again from Domino's. Since you got 20% last time, you'd get 25% now. If you come back again, it'd be 30% and 35% after that till you reach a threshold point. And each time you complete your transaction, you've got the choice to share your purchase on your social media to earn some credits which you can use to save more money.”
What inspired the start of KonjamDiscount
Vikash and his foodie buddies go out frequently hunting for exotic foods and restaurants. He says, “With our foodie culture, we built relationships with restaurant vendors who often shared some of the issues they face. We noticed that nearly 85% of the restaurants faced a very similar problem of finding it difficult to retain customers. And that was the birth of our baby.”
“At Vaffle, we think that everyone is a foodie in their own way and with food being one of the major components to a human life, it is clearly the biggest market there is and also one with a large scope for improvement to help make life easy and beautiful. With our startup as a medium to impact so many people's lives, the kind of satisfaction that we receive is unimaginable. Every morning we wake up to try to impact more people for their betterment.”
The business model
They tie up with restaurants and put up the deal on KonjamDiscount website. When people buy the offer, they pay the entire amount on KonjamDiscount. Out of which KonjamDiscount will take a small cut as a fee and transfer the rest to their restaurant partners.
Vikash says his platform helps restaurants, in getting:
To the general public who, Vikash says, “are equally important to us,” they provide them with:
Reimagine-food accelerator program experience
Reimagine Food accelerates startups that use innovative technology to disrupt how food is being produced, sold and consumed. They pick 20 startups each year for a three-and-a-half month period of incubation in Barcelona. KonjamDiscount was one of the accelerated startup at Reimagine Food.
Vikash tells YourStory, “To any entrepreneur who wants to build a company, a good set of mentors with domain experience, industry exposure and feedback for your firm is like heaven. And that's what Reimagine Food has been for KonjamDiscount. While we're still in the middle of the program, we're having a wonderful experience here by learning from some of the amazing mentors who've got a vast amount of experience. The acceleration program features noteworthy startup founders, consultants and chefs, as well was executives from PepsiCo, Domino's Pizza, Danone, and Gallina Blaca, among other top industry stakeholders. Other participants include Venture Capital funds like Caixa Capital Risc, top firms like Deloitte and OgilvyOne.” The bootsrapped startup has got a small funding from the accelerator program.
They have rolled out their product to folks in Chennai at present. “But as days progress, we're definitely looking to delight more customers and help our dear restaurants to improve their customer retention in the other cities,” adds Vikash.
Vishak told YourStory, “Since we've just rolled out our product the numbers aren't huge with four restaurants tied up with us and 20 customers. The good thing is one of the restaurants has decided to go exclusive with us and giving up on Groupon. There are more restaurants with whom we're talking with and they love the product as it helps them in retaining their customers. As days progress, we can expect the customers to return to get their higher deal at their favorite restaurants.”
He adds, “We ran our beta product while we were still in college last year. We had tied up with restaurants and produced those 3613 transactions with an increase in retention rate of 76%. We wanted to make sure that what we were building and what we thought as a problem was indeed a problem to the general world and the restaurants.”
A present, KonjamDiscount is a web-based platform. We’ve covered another Chennai-based startup Clozerr which is working in the discount space. The main difference here is that the former is focused on the web and the latter is native mobile.
Visit the webiste: KonjamDiscount