The Eat-Listers: 4 Southeast Asian Restaurant Booking Apps That Give More Bang For The Buck
Making a restaurant reservation has never been this easy—or affordable! Book tables across multiple countries in the region with these restaurant booking apps
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
Making restaurant reservations online isn’t, by any means, a new concept. In 1998, OpenTable brought the restaurant reservation system online, paving the way for the apps that would follow once the smartphone came into the scene.
In Southeast Asia, there’s a surfeit of restaurant booking apps that cater to very specific geographical markets. The Philippines’ Booky, Indonesia’s Qraved, and Malaysia’s TableApp are just some of the many apps competing for a piece of the pie, but as of this writing, these apps have not yet ventured beyond home shore.
Compared to such Western counterparts as OpenTable and La Fourchette, these apps have to make more of an effort to get their Southeast Asian target market to actually use their product.
“We’re in the business of changing human behavior, and that’s a tall order,” says Michael Cluzel, CEO and co-founder of Bangkok-based startup Eatigo. Cluzel adds that unlike their Western counterparts, making restaurant reservations isn’t part of Southeast Asian culture.
It’s no wonder, then, that most restaurant booking apps in the region are chock-full of deals and discounts. But what sets one apart from the other? Find out in this quick rundown of some of the most prominent apps that serve multiple markets in the region.
Founded in Thailand (2013); Available in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Philippines, India
Created to help restaurants make the most of their low-traffic hours (2-5 p.m.), Eatigo was designed to bring in diners throughout the day. The app does this by offering discounts of varying degrees, from 10% to 50%. You don’t have to print a voucher; the discount simply reflects on your bill.
It’s a totally free app—diners don’t have to pay when they make a reservation, and restaurants don’t have to pay to subscribe to the service either. Eatigo makes money only when it successfully seats a diner.
Eatigo takes pride in its well-curated restaurant roster, which consists of establishments that range from casual dining places to swanky hotel buffets. Said to be the leading restaurant reservation platform in Southeast Asia, their meticulous screening process more or less ensures that diners get the best value for their money.
Founded in Taiwan (2008); Available in Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, and Hong Kong
One of the first restaurant booking apps around the region, EZTable has seated over 19,000,000 diners in the 7,804 restaurants comprising its portfolio. Founded in Taiwan, EZTable made its first foray into Southeast Asia in 2015 when it expanded into Thailand. It has since expanded to Indonesia.
The platform makes money by charging establishments (mostly high-end restaurants) for subscribing to the website’s service. EZTable also gains revenue from users when restaurants charge their guests who book through the platform—but not all restaurants do this.
On the platform are extensive restaurant reviews and articles to help users make their choice. To use EZTable, you are required to create an account, which rewards loyal diners with EZCash, which you can then use to pay while making reservations. Watch out for exclusive offers so you can avail of special prices.
Founded in Malaysia (2014); Available in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam
Similar to Eatigo, Offpeak gives diners a range of discounts (from 10% to 50%) on their bill. What makes it different is the app’s focus on popularity—website users can see which restaurants are the most booked and which are trending, factoring that into their decision-making process. However, the app doesn’t seem to have a review system.
Diners can get savings of up to 50%, which, as in the case of Eatigo, simply reflects on their bill. Designed to be an everyday app, users can list their favorite restaurants in a list to make booking easier in the future.
Founded in Singapore (2011); Available in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Thailand, and Indonesia
To make a booking on Chope, users first specify their desired date and time, as well as the number of diners. They can then specify which cuisine, location, or restaurant they prefer, and sort the results according to price and available credit card deals.
The platform boasts reviews, pictures, dining guides, special deals, and discounts for loyal users. Similar to EZTable’s EZCash system, Chope’s users can avail of Chope-Dollars by booking on the platform, which they can use to redeem dining vouchers.
Chope gets its revenue from its restaurant-partners through a subscription fee and a booking fee for each diner they seat.