[Startup to Watch] Gastro Couture

GastroCouture is the brain child of Lester Chia. I had the privilege to meet the man behind the Insider’s only Premier Dining Club in Singapore over Founder’s Drinks that was concluded few weeks back.

Idea: Discover – Gastro partners with Premier Restaurants to help them fill their tables. Book – Members reserve these tables through Gastro for $2 per reservation. Save – A 20% – 30% discount is automatically applied to your bill. No coupons, only guaranteed savings. Members can sign up for free and gain access to the great discount by the various premier restaurants.

Revenue Model: Gastro earn a $2 for every reservation made through the site. For now they have about 20 restaurants partnering with them.

Thoughts:

  • Gastro is a clever way to solve the problem of empty tables in high end restaurants. As the tables at these premier restaurants are perishable goods and any empty tables will be wasted, this gives Gastro the leverage to partner with the premier restaurants.
  • Gastro gives the opportunity to price sensitive customers to dine in premier restaurants by providing them with a 20%-30% discount, and the best part, it is an ongoing deal/promotion! You don’t have to wait for the restaurants for their promotions.
  • I think the main concern for Lester and his team would be to reach out to the people and to scale the whole model. How can Gastro reach out to the targeted segment (white collar for example)? Through social media? So maybe Gastro should introduce a referral system for members to bring in new friends as word of mouth is a powerful tool in gaining more users. After all, good things are meant to be shared. =)
  • When analyzing the model, Gastro do not have a huge competitive advantage because the model can be easily replicated and I won’t be surprised if there is another Gastro surfacing in the market soon.
  • Gastro should look into other ways of generating revenues or introduce new mechanics into the whole system because the current $2 per reservation is not that sustainable in my humble opinion. Lets have a quick look at the figures, $2 per reservation * 3 reservations per day per restaurant * 20 partner restaurants * 30 days a month = $3600 per month. Minus that off with marketing cost and paycheck.
  • Maybe Gastro should get a percentage off the total bill spent at the restaurants by the users instead since they are marketing Gastro as “the more you eat, the more you save”. 
  • Gastro could also look into the possibility of charging a one off membership fee in the future since Gastro is marketed as an exclusive Dining Club. People would be willing to pay for the idea of exclusivity. Thats something I learnt from Vinnie few days ago.

Potentials:

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Very excited to see how Gastro eventually evolve their revenue model into and how they scale it. Scaling it might be a challenge since there is only so many premier restaurants in Singapore and any inclusion of low or mid end restaurants will dilute the brand. =)

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