Japanese startup raises $600K, gets you into hard-to-book restaurants



See the original story in Japanese.

Pocket Concierge is a website that allows you to book popular restaurants, even if they are fully booked for several months. Tokyo-based startup Pocket Menu, the startup behind the service, announced today it has raised 60 million yen (approximately $600,000) from Fuji Startup Ventures, Nippon Venture Capital, and individual investors.

It’s really tough to reserve popular restaurants online or over the phone. However, when the restaurants experience sudden cancellations, they could be wasting food. So it’s useful for them to be able to invite other customers instead. This service allows the restaurant to e-mail you an invite when they have an unexpected vacancy in their reservation list. As a result, you can have a chance to enjoy dining at the restaurant that you normally might not be able to visit.

The service was launched by former chef Kei Tokado back in March, and recently added new features that give users a better experience. The startup has limited its service area to restaurants in Tokyo, but with these new funds, it expects to expand the beyond Tokyo to other major Japanese cities such as Kyoto and Osaka.