Finance

Restaurant review platform Eatability to close next month

Eloise Keating /

A still from the Eatability website

Home-grown restaurant directory and review website Eatability will close at the end of June, less than three years after it was acquired by telco Optus for $6 million.

Just days after another local restaurant platform was acquired by global review giant TripAdvisor, Eatability users yesterday received an email informing them Eatability reviews will no longer be available after June 30.

“We regret to inform you that Eatability will be closing its doors on June 30th 2015,” the letter said.

“Up until this date, you will be able to still access Eatability, and all of the reviews you and the Eatability community have contributed.”

“After this date, we’ll no longer be publishing the Eatability web site, Eatability app, or social media sites, and reviews will no longer be available. You will also no longer receive our ongoing newsletters to your email.”

“We thank you for being part of the Eatability community, and for the contribution you have made to the dining scene in Australia.”

Eatability, which was acquired by Optus for $6 million in mid-2012, did not offer an explanation for the closure and the announcement, which was also posted on the Eatability Facebook page. The news was met with surprise by a number of Facebook users who asked for an explanation.

 

SmartCompany contacted Eatability but did not receive a response prior to publication. However, a spokesperson for Optus told SmartCompany the decision to close the platform was made following a review of Optus’ Australian Group Digital Life division, which is “focused on created new growth opportunities through new technology”.

“Following a review of this business, Optus has decided to close Eatability, a restaurant directory and review website, effective 30 June 2015,” the spokesperson says.

“We will be notifying suppliers and reviewers directly about the changes.

The Optus spokesperson also confirmed to SmartCompany that Celeste and Hui Ong, who founded Eatability in 2003 and became Optus employees after the sale, are “no longer with Eatability”.

When Optus acquired the platform in July 2012, Eatability had more than 235,000 restaurant reviews and 37,000 restaurant listings.

The Ongs told SmartCompany at the time Eatability had become “bigger than both of us” and so the acquisition made sense.

“We are very excited about the acquisition because it gives us the resources to push Eatability even further,” Hui Ong said.

“As a small company, we were very limited in what we could do; Optus has a lot of marketing clout and a huge customer database.”

The announcement of Eatability’s closure comes in the same week that $10 million restaurant booking service Dimmi was acquired by TripAdvisor.

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Eloise Keating

Eloise Keating is the editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Eloise was news editor at Books+Publishing, the trade press for the Australian book industry.

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