Tokyo-based startup Vesper, developer of TableSolution and BeautySolution, reservation and customer management platforms for restaurants and beauty salons, announced earlier this month that they have raised 200 million yen (approximately $1.6 million) in funding from Japanese investment firm Jafco as well as angel investors. With this latest funding, Vesper is looking to carry out the necessary system development for global expansion and strengthen their sales personnel.
In January of this year,Vesper CEO and founder Yu Taniguchi told us they were moving towards completing the last of their then 1,200 total installments of the company’s services with large scale businesses including Hotel Nikko Tokyo and others. 
Since then approximately half a year has passed, and while the current number of total installations is not open to the public at this time, average installations of the service for restaurant use would seem to have increased by 27 times since January.
In the same period of six months, restaurants which have adopted TableSolution have seen an increase in reservations in orders of 33 times compared to last year, with number of guests increasing about 32 times. According to Taniguchi total account cancellations so far are close to zero. In fact he says, with the exception restaurants using the service actually closing down, account termination has been highly unlikely.
So, what exactly are the merits of this kind of online reservation system for a restaurant?
Restaurants using TableSolution are able to offer three different ways to take reservations: regular telephone reservations with online customer management, online reservations through the restaurant’s website, and telephone reservations using automated voice answering system.
Taniguchi provided data from one user case in which a biergarten style restaurant using TableCheck saw a 150% increase in reservation guests compared to before when they were only accepting telephone reservations.  Furthermore, they saw an additional 11% increase when adopting TableSolution’s automated voice answering reservation service which was released around January this year.
With TableSolution’s store tending structure, one advantage is that even if the phone line is tied up when another reservation call comes in, the answering system will accept reservations automatically. The system connects to the telephone via Twillio, helping to prevent missed opportunities to take reservations during busy hours.
As a result, this restaurant was able to increase their reservations through a combination of being able to take new reservations even during non-business hours and reducing reservations lost due to tied up phone lines at peak business hours. Of course it’s important to keep in mind that this is the only user case study that has been provided by Vesper, which may or may not tell the whole story, but it does seem worth acknowledging that a restaurant has actually been able to use this system to favorable results.
One of the biggest factors affecting businesses that use online services geared towards restaurants is of course the level of difficulty involved in adopting these systems. However if you observe the advancement of competitors such as other booking management services and tablet-based POS (point of sale) cash register systems, those challenges may very soon be a thing of the past. Surely this is one effect of the sudden widespread use of smart devices in business.
Regarding future plans Taniguchi says they will be focusing mainly on global expansion and extending their services to include options such as payment functions and more. Moving into the international market, they are looking particularly at Taiwan and other Asian countries. Being a considerably international company in terms of its employees, as well as Taniguchi himself being born and raised overseas, there doesn’t seem to be any strong concern regarding cultural barriers.
On Vesper’s website they’ve published their 8-point company policy. Personally I like the first one the most: “Act like there’s no tomorrow.”
The competition between Japan based reservation and booking services, as well the growth of these companies is becoming something quite interesting to see.
Translated by Connor Kirk
Edited by Masaru Ikeda