Tablecross Inc.Kaoru Joho
Tell us about Tablecross.
Tablecross is a restaurant reservation application enabling social contribution. By making a reservation with this application, you can donate school lunches for the same number of children in developing countries as your party.
What makes our service different from existing services is the success fee system. In general, restaurants must pay the monthly advertising fees before running an advertisement, which is payable even if such advertisement attracts no customers. Our model is a success fee-based model, which means there is no need to pay initial fees and monthly fees but only 180 yen advertising fee per person who made a reservation through our service is required. 30 yen out of the 180 yen is donated as school lunch expenses for children in developing countries. This model can be beneficial to restaurants because they can use it as part of their CSR activities with reasonable costs.
What kind of people use your service?
Our customers are mainly people who want to do something nice in their daily lives without cost. We have never done promotional activities using ads. People come to know our service via my presentations, word-of-mouth communication and SNS. Tablecross has a fan club offering opportunities for our users to get together for charity drinking party every month. We are creating a culture through these drinking parties with our users in all parts of Japan, including the Hokkaido, Kanto and Kansai areas.
What made you to decide to assist children by donating school lunch?
As I traveled around Myanmar, Cambodia and Indonesia, I came to a conclusion that education is most needed for overcoming the challenge of poverty. In developing countries, many children have to work to feed themselves without attending school. Free lunch can motivate their parents to send them to school, and it actually works that way. I hope to assist them to achieve their dreams and goals by going to school and learning reading, writing and social manners.
What made you to start the business?
I saw street children for the first time in my life when I went to Indonesia in my childhood. I clearly remember being shocked to see children of my age working to feed themselves and to learn that such children were commonplace in some other countries. I felt a responsibility to do something and this experience led me to get involved in donation and volunteer activities since I was a child.
When I was a first-year student in high school, I had a chance to go to Florida where I joined a meeting of NPO people there. Their topic of discussion was a profitable way to contribute to the society. At the meeting, I was told that a person who has become aware of a problem is responsible for creating a sustainable framework for social concern, as ad-hoc, occasional activities and events do not work to solve the problem. I started to recognize the necessity of a sustainable framework that goes beyond donation and volunteering activities.
When I was a college student, I had a part-time job at an advertisement agency making restaurant ads. I learned that restaurant owners have difficulties with expensive monthly ad fees. I came up with the idea of Tablecross, a solution that can address restaurant owners' cost problem and social concern over children in developing countries at the same time.
What is your future business prospect?
I wish to spread our culture of the charitable restaurant reservation model. Charity culture has not been sufficiently formed in Japan. What private businesses including us can do is to create a donation model fit for Japan. I believe that a style of donation that can be made in people's daily lives without cost burden has the potential of spreading in Japan. In the not too distant future, I hope to create a culture in Japan in which people can do something nice for others by making a reservation.