The company aspires to be the world’s matchmaker for everything, so why not match people with their daily sustenance?
Online matchmaking is big business, and rightly so. Think about it. Who doesn’t fret over where their next job will come from, or their next apartment, or their future spouse?
But most companies choose to focus on just one pain point: online dating, or job recruitment, or real estate listings. If you think about it, this is a missed opportunity. The problems are similar, and so are the algorithms. Why not be a company that is a matchmaker for everything?
Japan’s Recruit Ltd. has adopted precisely this strategy. Against this backdrop they have acquired Germany’s Quandoo online restaurant reservation platform for $219 million, the company announced today in a statement.
Since its start in 2012, Quandoo has been rapidly growing. It operates in Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Poland and other countries. The app allows diners to choose a restaurant based on their preferences, book a table and pay, all in the same app. It is comparable to OpenTable in the United States and its user interface is similar.
Despite criticisms that it is a copycat app that hasn’t innovated much on OpenTable’s model from 1998, Recruit said in its statement that it believes Quandoo has a lot of growth potential. This is because the number of online restaurant reservations accounts for only approximately 16% of total reservations in Europe, including those made by phone.
According to Quandoo’s latest stats, the reservation website and app partners with over 6,000 diners and has seated over 6 million hungry people in 13 countries.
The Japanese are on an acquisition spree
Recruit Ltd. is one of several of Japanese companies that are flush with cash and have embarked on an M&A spree overseas. The Wall Street Journal attributes this expansion trend to the fact that Japan’s domestic population is shrinking.
Recruit is an interesting company because it started out in the 1960s connecting job seekers with potential employers. Since then, it has expanded into making matches in the HR, education, travel, real estate, and now dining sectors.
In today’s statement Recruit announced that its long term vision is to become the world’s top “matching platform.” It said it plans to become the world leader in the marketing media business by 2030 and the number one global HR business by 2020.
The acquisition of Quandoo, Recruit said, is part of a strategy of acquiring other lifestyle companies including travel, dining and beauty.
In fact, in the last four years, Recruit has acquired U.S.-based Staffmark Holdings and Advantage Resourcing for a combined total of $700 million. It also bought U.S. job search website Indeed.com for $1 billion. In addition, Recruit has made a minority investment in the U.K.-based Hotspring Ventures Ltd., a spa and salon booking platform.
In light of this history, Recruit’s latest foray into food reservations is easy to swallow. The food tech space is heating up right now. If you want to be a matchmaker for everything, what better than to match people with their daily sustenance?