Eat Out is now the leading restaurant guide, central reservation centre, content provider and marketing consultant for restaurants in Kenya. From a simple concept to now a Kenyan landmark in hospitality and information technology, Mikul Shah birthed the first successful online dining guide and reservation portal in Kenya.
In 2010 Eat Out received the Vision 2030 Award for ICT Innovation in Tourism and in 2011 Mikul Shah received the first runner up position in the CIO100 awards, demonstrating the use of Information Technology in innovative ways to delivery business value, and beating some of East Africa’s largest corporates.
The Com World Series - organisers of East Africa Com which takes place in Nairobi on 17-18 April - caught up with Mikul Shah, a speaker at the event, to get a better idea of what Eat Out will have to show the East Africa Com audience, and what the company's experience of the Kenyan market has been.
CWS: In brief, please describe Eat Out and the work it's doing in East Africa.
MS: Eat Out is the region's largest restaurant guide and booking engine, operating on both mobile and web platforms. Eat Out allows consumers search for restaurants based on location, cuisine or budget in order for them to make table reservations at hundreds of establishments in the country.
CWS: How would you sum up the characteristic of the East African telecoms, media and ICT industry this year?
MS: The industry is very vibrant and also seems to be maturing. Many large international players have entered the market as well as investors hoping to find the next big thing.
CWS: What would you say is your organisations priority for 2012?
MS: We are aiming for growth in to other countries in the region as well as introducing new products and campaigns for increase our current market presence.
CWS: Which type of services do you think consumers are going to be calling for in 2012?
MS: For our target market, smart phone penetration will hit new highs this year and therefore services that can be used on these devices will be key. Consumers will demand richer services while they are on the go.
CWS: How important do you think cost-efficiency/reduction is for service providers in East Africa this year?
MS: I think the market is extremely sensitive to price and therefore cost efficiency will be very important. However consumer’s time is also very important and 2012 will see certain groups of consumers using products that help to more time efficient. Products that don’t require consumers to repeatedly fill out forms or queue for hours need to be affordable for mass adoption.
CWS: What do you think is needed to improve connectivity for the underserved in Africa?
MS: Infrastructure can always be improved, lower connectivity rates and most importantly high quality and relevant content.
CWS: What do you think are the 3 key attributes needed to succeed in East Africa’s telecoms, media and ICT industry going forward?
MS: Creativity, Simplicity & Affordability
CWS: Which key message do you want to highlight to the audience during your participation at East Africa Com in Nairobi this April?
MS: Obviously health care, environment and solutions that address the needs of the underserved command attention, but we want to show that even small SME’s should and can embrace technology in order to provide a measure of ROI and increase efficiency.
East Africa Com is taking place in the luxurious Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi, next week on Tuesday the 17 and Wednesday 18 April. Don't miss your opportunity to join this important industry forum - register now by clicking here.