TripMenu makes traveling and eating better; it is an iOS or Android application that provides travellers with the ability to eat like a local and at the right price. Through partnerships with selected restaurants of low to high price points and a range of cuisines, TripMenu helps tourists, business travellers and others find the exact meal they are looking for.
KITE Invest: Before discussing TripMenu specifically, please explain how the TripMenu team came together? Was there any particular mentor or catalyst behind the company’s formation?
TripMenu: The idea of the business occurred in 2011 while the TripMenu founding team was completing a master’s course at the prestigious Instituto de Empresa (IE) business school.
The development opportunity was forged at the Venture Lab, in a program that accelerates startups of IE entreprenuers. It was here where we had the opportunity to strengthen the business model with the support by many academics and professionals from the tourism sector, mentoring by the director and collaborators of tourism enterprises.
A few months later, we had the opportunity to be part of another program to accelerate technology-based startups at the TopSeedsLab. The Lab is the first and only Spanish startup accelerator and it is part of the prestigious GAN (Global Accelerator Network), which provides valuable contacts and business partners, in addition, to mentoring and funding.
KITE: What do you consider to be the top features of TripMenu that differentiate it from competitors? Why is this product relevant?
TripMenu: The main features of TripMenu are flexibility, confidence and control of the budget.
Flexibility, because the vouchers we provide our clients can be used in any affiliate restaurant and at any time; they may be purchased in advance or at time of seating; reservations can be made and purchasers can also file the vouchers directly from the app or email.
Trust, because restaurants are carefully selected based on their excellent value, loyalty and exclusivity based on personalized service.
Control of budget, because vouchers provide access to a full meal, including first and second courses and the beverage, as well as, a special discount from the usual price on the menu.
TripMenu has developed a service that balances the benefits of both the tourist and the restaurant.
KITE: TripMenu’s success is largely tied to the recommended restaurants. How does TripMenu ensure the quality of restaurants to its customers? Does TripMenu partner or work with restaurant rating system like Michelin or Yelp?
TripMenu: The selection process of restaurants is of vital importance to TripMenu. Restaurants are carefully selected by a study based on a set of parameters of quality, price, customer service, reputation and location.
Once we have the restaurants selected, TripMenu allows its customers to see first hand the reality of the quality of service provided. However, the best mechanism that ensures the quality of the restaurants are the opinions of the customers, which are 100% reliable, as reviews are only permitted by customers who have dined at the restaurant.
The aforementioned study analyzes multiple variables, including rating systems like Michelin and Yelp, along with many others. If a restaurant fails to meet quality standards of TripMenu, it is withdrawn from the affiliate network.
KITE: With all the other applications, websites, and other recommendation sites, how does TripMenu market itself in order to distinguish itself?
TripMenu: The TripMenu vouchers are distributed through different marketing channels, online marketing and social networking. TripMenu is also present at the points where the customer makes decisions of where to eat on their trips, through the indirect channels of travel agencies, hotels, tour guides and distributors.
KITE: Having officially launched in May of 2013 in Madrid with 40 affiliated restaurants, the company is now operating in five cities throughout Spain. TripMenu’s target market is European, and in particular the UK and French markets. Does TripMenu have plans to bring your services outside of Spain? What are the company’s short and long-term goals?
TripMenu: TripMenu has had a global vision since it was launched. Spain was chosen as the pilot country, because it allowed the company to be launched within one of the best tourist destinations that is also recognized for its culinary appeal.
The short-term expansion of TripMenu is focused on consolidating the business in Spain and to expand in the coming years to major tourist cities worldwide. We aim to create a network and be a reference of quality cuisine for travelers within a certain price point.
KITE: With regards to investors, what is TripMenu looking for from future investors? And in return, what are some of TripMenu’s most appealing qualities that they can offer investors?
TripMenu: TripMenu is immersed in the first round of funding to support planned growth, and thus, we are seeking investors with industry experience and contacts with potential business partners.
In terms of what makes TripMenu appealing to investors is that we offer equity of the company with an attractive return within 3-5 years and entrance to a tourism sector that has great growth forecasts. Furthermore, both the founders and the operating team have extensive experience in the tourism sector and in business management, and a proven ability to execute.