1001 Menus has raises €1.35 Million led by Elaia Partners & a suite of business angels, the startup announced this week, in order to expand their digital service for restaurants across Europe. The startup, which originally provided a B2C Menu service similar to the US startup MenuPages, pivoted to a B2B positioning in the beginning of 2012, raising an initial €300K seed round from Kima Ventures, l’Accelerateur and business angels like Nicolas Baudy, Frédéric Montagnon and Jean-Marc Bouhelier in December 2012. The startup, founded by Xavier & Thomas Zeitoun and Julien Balmont, brought on more than 1000 restaurants between June 2012 and June 2013 (we could say, they brought on at least 1001 menus), providing restaurants with a complete digital presence online.
For restaurants, the service is fairly simple. 1001 Menus provides them with a CMS to manage their menu, hours, photos, etc., and, in return, 1001 Menus makes sure they have a web presence, a mobile app, presence across all major social media networks, but also integration into directory services like the Yellow Pages (in France, Pages Jaunes), Google Maps, and other services. In addition, 1001 Menus keeps rigorous track of menu items, and provides an open API to 3rd party developers who would like to integrate information about restaurant menu items into their service; such is the case for French recipe website Marmiton, which, in addition to providing recipes for a given dish, will now also propose restaurants in the area who currently serve the given dish.
Speaking with cofoudner Xavier Zeitoun, it becomes clear that the secret to 1001 Menus’ success has been their understanding of their market (restaurant owners), and their streamlining of the customer-onboarding process. Zeitoun detailed how it took them a good amount of time to streamline their sales team, which now consists partly of cold callers, and an ‘on-the-ground’ team which presents the service in person to restaurants. Given that 80% of restaurants are run independently in France, one would expect that the process would be quite rigorous – this may explain why there aren’t many companies who succeed in selling to SMBs and brick and mortars – however, Zeitoun says that currently 30% of their customers come through word-of-mouth recommendations.
“The same way that restaurants will recommend a butcher or produce-provider, they are talking about 1001 Menus. Real Word-of-Mouth 1.0… talking on the phone” – Xavier Zeitoun
Zeitoun says that, while a good portion of the fundraising will go to expanding the sales team into new markets (there are no dominants competitors in Europe for now), the fundraising will also go to improving the product, both for restaurant owners and for the end-users.
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