NEW DELHI : Online restaurant discovery and food ordering platform Zomato plans to scale its offline events and experiences vertical—Zomato Live—to host more small-format food events, and take its flagship Zomaland food festival to college campuses across India.

In November, Zomato piloted Zomato Parks, where it curated the entire food and beverage space at artist Katy Perry’s concert in Mumbai. The company has a strong pipeline of more such small events lined up for 2020 that will see Zomato partner with food, music, and literature festivals across India and curate the food experiences at these live events, said Chaitanya Mathur, global head, Zomato Live.

“We have just launched Zomato Parks—at the Katy Perry concert. This is the second such property under Zomato Live (the first being Zomaland). Our thought behind this is—how about we go and curate food and beverages at events pan India. We want to bring in the right food experience for these events," Mathur said in an interview.

The company set up its events vertical—Zomato Live—in December last year with the launch of Zomaland—its flagship food and entertainment festival that also features a line-up of music performances and comedy acts over a three-day period.

Last year, Zomaland was launched in Delhi, Bengaluru, and Pune. This year, Zomaland will be hosted in 10 cities. In its first phase, the food and entertainment festival has already opened up in Delhi, Chandigarh, Pune, and Jaipur. The company plans to build more properties under Zomato Live.

“Zomaland is our own food carnival—Zomato Parks will be a business-to-business proposition and a solution for event organizers," said Mathur, who was formerly co-founder of food festival The Grub Fest. “For 2020, we have a much larger vision for Zomato Parks. We have got a lot of inbound queries from event organizers," Mathur said.

In 2020, the company will also sign up colleges for hosting a version of Zomaland in college campuses and schools. “We might be creating a student friendly version for schools and colleges so Zomaland Campus might launch—perhaps in October 2020," he added.

India’s top cities have become vibrant markets for events spanning music, food, literature and poetry festivals as increasingly urban millennials seek newer experiences. This is a shift from a decade ago when movies and dinners were the mainstay of Indian families seeking new things to do over weekends. On the other hand, while large music concerts and events have gained popularity over the past few years, they are only growing in frequency and now reaching India’s smaller cities. The same is true of comedy gigs, and food events.

In 2018, ticketing platform BookMyShow entered the live events space by promoting and producing live shows in India such as Disneys’s Aladdin.

For Zomaland, Zomato relies on revenues from sponsors, stalls, ticketing and revenue from sale of merchandise, and beverages sold on the venue. However, the bulk is sponsor funded.

“The idea was to create an offline version of what Zomato does, where we recreate experiences wherein people can touch and feel Zomato in some way," said Mathur. Zomaland could go to several overseas markets where the company is present, he said.

By next year it hopes to add more cities to host Zomaland in India, but the plan, according to Mathur, will depend on the availability of large spaces and ideally a good food infrastructure to get stalls on board. Zomato was founded in 2008 as a restaurant discovery and review platform. It has expanded to over 30 countries globally.

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