On this week's episode, we hear from Arrif Ziaudeen, the founder and CEO at Chope. Chances are if you’ve ever tried to book a table at a restaurant in a major city in Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, or China, you’re already familiar with the platform. Chope is a restaurant booking service, and as you’ll hear in this episode, so much more. Listen in to hear Arrif break down his upbringing, career, and incredible founder experience in a beautifully candid way, as well as how a restaurant booking platform has managed to survive global Coronavirus lockdowns. whooshkaa:745475
- 0:06 - Introducing Chope
- 1:16 - Meet Arrif Ziaudeen, CEO and co-founder of Chope
- 3:12 - Lessons learnt from serving 2 years in the Singaporean uniformed services
- 5:38 - Life after the army and managing expectations
- 8:01 - Surmounting the steep learning curve while pivoting from law to consulting
- 12:00 - Impact of two great professors at Stanford discussing the principles of business
- 13:47 - Gaining a sense of urgency from the Stanford environment
- 19:00 - Taking the risky, but logical leap to private equity
- 20:50 - How the idea for Chope came to be
- 24:17 - The race to launch Chope and initial threatening obstacles
- 28:05 - Evolving from a system provider into a technology partner
- 30:11 - Chope today...Chope tomorrow
- 32:53 - Arrif's reflections on Chope approaching 10 years into their journey
- 36:17 - Chope's relationship with Square Peg and Arrif's reflections on our partnership
- 38:53 - How to recruit the RIGHT people into your business
- 41:00 - The impact of COVID-19 on Chope and the hospitality industry
- 45:02 - Advice from Arrif on how to be a good founder
Arrif Ziaudeen Bio:
Arrif Ziaudeen is a Singaporean entrepreneur who is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Chope. Along with two friends, Arrif co-founded Chope on 15 June 2011 upon realising that an online restaurant booking platform did not exist.
Born in India and moving to the UK when he was 14, Arrif graduated from King's College London in 2005 and joined Bain & Company as a strategy advisor. After three years in the legal profession, he embarked on a full-time Masters of Business Administration (MBA) at Stanford University. He graduated in 2010 and joined Principia Management, a private equity company based in Indonesia, as an Investment Professional.
The idea of an online restaurant booking platform came about when Arrif realised that people were still making restaurant reservations via phone calls. Chope started as a side-project where Arrif and his friends approached restaurants in Singapore to propose the idea in their spare time. With about 20 restaurants on board with the idea of Chope, he decided to devote more time to the venture.
Chope amassed a revenue of $5.5 million in 2016. The figure was doubled to S$10.4 million in 2017, with more than 4,000 restaurant clients in Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Phuket, Shanghai, Beijing, Jakarta and Bali. Chope almost doubled its revenue to S$19.5 million in 2018. Additionally, Chope expanded from 100 staff members to 200 in 2018.
Chope is on a mission is to create Asia's most efficient and rewarding dining platform to match millions of restaurants to billions of diners, so that every individual can find, afford and dine at the perfect place more often. Founded in 2011 and currently operating in 8 cities, Chope has seated over 35 million diners, and helped more than 5,000 restaurant partners manage online and offline reservations, table inventory, incoming calls, queues, and prepayment, all seamlessly integrated with Chope’s demand-generating diner app. They are growing rapidly and are poised to become Asia’s largest food discovery platform.