With the recent petrol price hike in Malaysia which would consequently inflate the cost of living, we are constantly searching for ways to save more without compromising too much and one of it is to dine cheaper. Potentially the first in Malaysia, Offpeak.my is a website where customers can book to enjoy discounts at a wide variety of restaurants, every day for every meal! It also serves as a platform for restaurateurs to fill up their empty tables during less peak hours of the day offering discounts to hungry customers.We had the opportunity to feature with Offpeak.my to uncover this restaurant booking site that offers plenty of discounts during off peak hours.
Offpeak.my is a simple restaurant booking site – Customers book their reservations online, go to the restaurants during the designated date and time, and enjoy meal at a discount. Offpeak.my passes the full benefit of the discount 100% down to the customer. The discounts are simply knocked-off the food bill – with no additional charges and costs. Customers don’t need to buy coupons nor pay in advance.
Plus, you don’t need to book way in advance, Offpeak.my even allows bookings up to 10 minutes before the nearest time-slot (reservation time-slots are every 30 minutes). The name Offpeak.my is pretty much self-explanatory, the discounts are available throughout the day from brunch, lunch, tea-time to even supper.
The Colourful Background Of The Founders
Off Peak Hub Sdn Bhd, a tech startup firm incorporated in Malaysia, launched the site on the 18th of August 2014. It is co-founded by Tan Ban Eu, Managing Director and Lau Ngee Keong, Business Development Director. Despite being a new tech startup, the founders of Offpeak.my are no strangers to the tech and e-commerce sector having previously founded and invested in online sites.
Tan, being responsible in business operations and strategy, is a serial entrepreneur in the IT industry, having previously been a co-founder and angel investor of carlist.my (now known as iCar Asia Limited), and currently being the CEO of RTW Technology Sdn. Bhd. Tan Ee Ern, the business development director of Offpeak.my, bring business expertise from his current position executive director at FSBM Holdings Berhad and his previous work in Fujitsu Services London. Lau, now responsible for key partnership acquisitions, previously co-founded Chikapowwow.com. He is also currently a director at CBA Industries Sdn. Bhd, which is a key supplier of abrasives in Malaysian automotive and plywood industries.
With a mixture of various experiences and expertise, the three are definitely a force to be reckoned with.
“We have always been involved in the online space, and we are always on the lookout for great ideas through assessing gaps in the market or unfulfilled customer needs. We believe that the recipe to any great business is to provide a solution to an unfulfilled need – in this case, we found that there’s a gap in providing restaurateurs a platform to get in more customers during their less peak hours. Well, as customers ourselves too, we would always welcome a good offer,” Tan said when asked how did they come up with the idea.
“The position for Offpeak.my was mooted from the hotel and airline industry where they often give discounts during off-peak season, so why not for the restaurants too, especially since Malaysians have a healthy social food culture,” Lau added.
Tan told Vulcan Post that his vision for Offpeak.my is to helps restaurateurs regulate the diners from overflowing during their peak hours to less peak hours, and to attract new customers who may otherwise have gone elsewhere during these less peak hours.
“We aim to be the food expert wherever we have our presence. The measurement for this is when our customers tell us that they look to Offpeak.my when they are deciding where to dine out.”
Creation Of The Site
Tan told us that they started toying with the idea of Offpeak.my in February 2014 and in a month or two they put together the whole business plan and built the architecture for its platform. From there the programmers started to code the website and got Offpeak.my in a matter of 3 months. Impressive planning and execution, if you ask me!
“This could only be achieved because of the experience and motivational drive we have within the group.”
“However, we had to ensure that we have about 2 weeks to a month for changes but I wouldn’t say that it’s a challenge – we were very lucky that we had great partnerships with the restaurateurs, and thus we ensured that feedback from the restaurateurs for feature enhancements was accommodated. This was very important as these are real on-the-ground feedback that enhances the user experience, both for the restaurateurs and customers,” Tan explained.
Offpeak.my is currently available in Selangor, Penang, Pahang, Sarawak, and Kuala Lumpur – yet they are still growing rapidly in number of restaurant outlets and will continue to widen its coverage to other states in Malaysia. Lau told us that prior to their launch, they had set a personal goal of having at least 50 restaurant outlets on-board .
“So we were racing against time to get the site up and ready, and getting a good number and selection of restaurants as our partners. We targeted to launch with at least 50 restaurant outlets, but we achieved more than 60 outlets for our launch, and now we are at 100+ outlets in less than 2 months of operations.”
Getting Merchants’ Participation
I asked how would they survive in the ever competitive market, and they reply that the winning strategy that Offpeak has is to ensure the win-win situation for both the restaurateurs and hungry customers are maintained.
“This is because everybody would always ask ‘What’s in it for me?’, and that’s the question that we consistently strive to provide a positive answer for. Our restaurant partnership to date has been very healthy and that’s part of what keeps our motivation high – but no success comes by without hard work and perseverance required of the team,” Tan assured.
“We must keep the momentum going, and thus we are diligently managing our pipeline to ensure that our restaurant partnership flow is strong, while we maintain and strengthen the relationship with our existing partners,” says Lau.
“Apart from our restaurateurs, our current collaborations are with the online influences, YouTube videographers and personalities, and bloggers – after all we are providing an online platform. We have a panel of such online personalities that we work with for our launch and I must say it was the most pleasant experience. In fact the feedback from our restaurant partners has been very positive too.”
Challenges Are Happy Problems
In the near future, Offpeak has lined up a suite of exciting plans. The most immediate that the customers can look out for from Offpeak.my is the launch of Offpeak.my mobile app for iPhone and Android in the coming months. The enhanced site navigation feature to search for dining discounts by day and time slots with more exciting flash offers and promotional campaigns from Offpeak.my.
In addition, they want to ensure that the growth rate of restaurant partners, coverage in Malaysia, and customer base using Offpeak.my as their primary choice of dining discount and reservation site is not only maintained but also expanding. Despite having hands full for the next year or two, Offpeak.my is concurrently looking out for new collaborations that enhances its current proposition to the restaurateurs and customers, as well as new markets to land its feet on.
“One of our short-term plans is to widen our coverage of states in Malaysia, with major states like Johor, Perak, Malacca and Sabah being in the next-landing list. In the longer term, our vision is to explore new markets in Asia to expand our online footprint and to propagate our established platform to benefit both the restaurateurs and customers in the region.”
“Our offers are not one-offs, hello today, gone tomorrow. At Offpeak.my, we will run our campaigns for the long haul.”
Thanks to the highly-motivated and synergized Offpeak.my team, we can now dine with discounts at off peak hours! No more lining ups and crowded restaurants! Before signing off, Offpeak left a message to all the hungry food eaters: “Join us on a see-food diet at www.offpeak.my where you see food, book for a discount and eat it!”
And here’s a special shout-out from Offpeak.my to our Vulcan Post readers: