The move comes only nine months after it acquired Urbanspoon and made a big entrance into the U.S.
A group of former Urbanspoon employees gathered at Lost Lake Cafe on Capitol Hill Thursday to hold a wake for the restaurant-review startup. But the tone of the small party was more a celebration than a memorial service.
Things had been going downhill for months with Urbanspoon’s new owner, employees said, so they weren’t that shocked to receive pink slips Thursday.
Restaurant review site Zomato laid off all of its Seattle staff — about 20 employees — roughly nine months after acquiring Seattle-based Urbanspoon and making a big entrance into the U.S.
Several former employees of Zomato and Urbanspoon in Seattle said they were told that more than 150 employees across the U.S. were also laid off Thursday morning.
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The cutbacks effectively shut down Zomato’s Eastlake office, except for one manager.
Several attempts to reach Zomato for comment were unsuccessful. One representative of the company, reached on his cellphone, declined to comment.
Zomato, based near New Delhi, India, used the January acquisition of restaurant-review app Urbanspoon to move into the country with big plans to take on Yelp, a leading review website. Now it seems those plans may be waylaid.
One employee laid off in Seattle on Thursday said the company cut all content workers nationwide. Zomato, which has its U.S. headquarters in Dallas, will keep sales and operations people in the country, the employee said.
A couple of Zomato employees received a list that appears to list current U.S. employees, showing 183 job titles, as well as cities and ages associated with those positions.
The list indicates that 156 were laid off. The employees said they were told that those were the employees cut nationwide Thursday.
Zomato started small in the U.S. — with employees only from Urbanspoon in Seattle. It then went on a hiring spree across the country.
The company uses a model where employees go out on foot and in cars to visit each restaurant to gather menu and other information.
But in recent months, former employees said, they were told to do that work from their desks, suggesting Zomato may be moving away from the in-person data-gathering model.
Urbanspoon had about 50 employees at the time of the Zomato acquisition.
That number fell dramatically over the past several months after several rounds of layoffs and people leaving the company, former employees said.
The Urbanspoon app was shut down after the acquisition, but the Zomato app began operating in the country.
Employees said they received severance packages.