1. Please give us a self-introduction (your company etc.).
My name is Johnny Shields, I am the CTO and Co-founder of KK VESPER, makers of TableSolution, Japan's leading restaurant reservation management platform. We have also recently launched TableCheck, restaurant search portal and reservation booking app. Our clients include many top-ranked restaurants and hotel F&B such as Hilton, ANA Intercontinental, Universal Studios, T.Y. Harbor, Hiramatsu, and more.
2. Have you ever done an internship abroad?
Yes, I did internships in Tokyo, Japan in the summers of 2005 and 2006. In 2005 I worked doing market research for a small US-based energy drink company, and in 2006 I found an internship via the Boston Career Forum for a position in finance at Lehman Brothers Japan. After my 2006 internship I received a full-time offer from Lehman Brothers and I returned to Japan as a full-time employee in 2007, and have been living in Tokyo ever since.
3. How did you form your current company?
I left the finance industry in early 2013 and was explored opportunities to do a web startup. I've always enjoyed the wonderful cuisine in Japan, and thought it might be interesting to work with restaurants. My business partner and I noticed that many restaurants in Japan were managing their reservations with paper and pen, despite the availability of many reservation services (Tabelog, Gurunavi, HotPepper, etc.) We saw an opportunity to introduce a service which would automate restaurant operations and assist merchants in handling online reservations. In the 4 years since then we have grown to 35 full-time staff and several thousand clients.
4. Have you had interns your company? Where did you find them?
Yes, we have sponsored two interns in 2014 and 2015, both working in business development and assisting with market research. One intern was introduced who was the older brother of a high-school student at St. Mary's International School in Tokyo where I gave a lecture. The other intern we placed through a collaboration we did with the Hitotsubashi University's business school, where a class on Consumer Behavior used our business as a case study, and one of the students applied to be an intern for us.
5. What sort of experience will interns have at your company?
Both past interns had a very rewarding experience. Firstly, Tokyo is the culinary capital of the world, with more Michelin stars in Tokyo than any other city, so working with restaurants is a wonderful exposure to Japanese culture for both newcomers and long-time residents of Japan alike. Our company is a very flat structure where myself as CTO, our CEO, and our Heads of Sales, IT, etc. work very closely with all junior employees to develop skills. Everyone's input and opinion is valued, and we work together to build the best product possible. Our interns produced business plans including exploring the possibilities to expand our business to Korea, Taiwan, and China, and also helped with client-facing content such as making a product guide for our system which is still in use today. As we have launched new products including a consumer-facing website, we have even more exciting opportunities for interns to be directly engaged in public-facing content creation.
7. What does the future hold for interns at TableSolution?
We are actively looking for interns primarily in our Marketing and IT teams. Please check our homepage at https://www.kkvesper.jp/jobs.html. There are opportunities for both Japanese and English speakers. Please apply if interested, we are eager to meet you!