I’ve already mentioned Savored on this site but, given I’m still getting a hang of the blogging world, I thought it merited a second entry as a full-blown profile. This is the type of write-up I have in mind for Edible Startup profiles going forward. This morning I sat down to chat with Daniel Benavides, my Peruvian friend from the GSB who is spending his summer working on Bay Area customer acquisition for Savored.
If you haven’t heard of Savored yet, or are unfamiliar with the model, let me provide a quick summary. Customers pay $10 to make online reservations at participating restaurants. The restaurant then gives Savored-booked tables a 30% discount off the entire bill, including alcohol. The discount is tied to the reservation so there’s no need for physical coupons or secret codes. And the restaurant is in control over the timing and number of Savored reservation slots. It can’t get overwhelmed by a busy night packed with only Groupon customers.
It’s an exciting week for the rapidly-growing startup: on Monday they announced and launched a partnership with OpenTable. The partnership enables OpenTable users to see Savored deals on the OpenTable website. The arrangement is currently live in San Francisco and will be live in Savored’s other nine cities this September. I asked Daniel what this partnership says about Savored and its model:
“It really shows how just how good the Savored model is. OpenTable saw there was a big opportunity here because Savored is really different from a daily deal site. Customers don’t like fixed menus or physical coupons or secret codes. And restaurants don’t like unpredictability and public discounts. Discretion is very important. Savored gives diners the flexibility to order what they want, and gives restaurants control over their tables and their discounts. It’s a very restaurant-friendly solution.”
The restaurant friendliness of the model likely explains why Savored was approached by Zagat to form a partnership. The Zagat Survey is a highly-regarded collection of ratings for restaurants, hotels and more. In this partnership, Zagat members get access to exclusive reservations that aren’t offered on Savored or OpenTable. In exchange, Zagat provides its usually-members-only restaurant ratings for free on the Savored website. With over two million members, the Zagat partnership provides a ton of exposure for Savored.
Says co-founder Dan Leahy, “to be honest, we’ve never been more excited about our growth and potential as we are right now. We’ve built strong presences in the 10 major U.S. markets, launched distribution partnerships with the two premier names in the restaurant space, and along the way have really built a core competency in building and maintaining relationships with the top restaurants in our markets.”
From a partnership perspective, it’s hard to imagine Savored could be doing better than OpenTable and Zagat. As Daniel B said, “now that the OpenTable deal is finalized, the geographic expansion possibilities are huge.” My next question is will Savored seek to expand beyond restaurants into other categories. Daniel is not sure, or is not at liberty to share, but regardless others are certainly trying to beat them to it. TechCrunch recently profiled Bevvy which offers 50% discounts on bar tabs for reservation fees ranging from $10-$50. It remains to be seen if the “speakeasy-type passwords” that customers use to redeem Bevvy discounts will actually be as charming and catchy as they might seem.
On the question of expansion plans, Dan Leahy’s response stays within the boundaries of the restaurant world, “we’ll continue our aggressive geographic expansion, launching the Savored service in new domestic and international markets. We’re increasing the distribution of our offers through our own mobile applications as well as by adding additional distribution partners. And we’re rolling out a number of new products to help our restaurants profitably fill all of their tables.”
Thanks Daniel B for the interview and I’m looking forward to celebrating Peruvian Independence tonight with some ceviche and pisco, hopefully 30% off!
<– Daniel Benavides, Audience Development MBA Intern at Savored
Follow him @dbenavidesk