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HotelTonight for restaurants (SF)

#4 Product of the DayJanuary 29, 2014
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Thanks @gabsong! Since we are a marketplace, we had to validate (or attempt to validate) the value prop on both the consumer and supplier side. Honestly, we sort of built the product for ourselves after working in various offices downtown and hoped there were others (consumers) like us out there! Neither myself nor my co-founder Jaydon have any restaurant experience, so we literally hit the streets for 3 months talking to 75-100 restaurant owners. Most of them are entrepreneurs themselves, so they were incredibly supportive and gave us feedback as we iterated on the concept before getting our MVP out. We were really pleasantly surprised by their willingness to help out.
@rrhoover both of us (Jaydon and I) have a weird (=geeky) passion for pricing. We started working together on the revenue management team at Wynn Resorts in Vegas right out of college. At the time, Steve Wynn had instituted a rule that Wynn always had to be priced at least $20 higher than Bellagio (even if Bellagio was almost sold out and Wynn was empty). The result of a personal vendetta, as far as we knew. Our first month on the job we were tasked with pulling together an analysis to convince him to do away with the rule, and it worked. It was a pretty cool experience and we were both hooked. I went on to work at Hotwire.com, and then we both joined Liftopia, a variable priced marketplace for ski lift tickets. The application of the same fundamental revenue management concepts to the restaurant industry made a ton of sense to us. The perks of working with restaurants didn't hurt, either!
@gabsong we still have a small team, so we've been shifting back and forth between customer acquisition, product and sales over the past 6 months. We're going back into sales mode in Feb and plan to maintain a good pace of supply growth going forward (assuming we keep demand in line and ensure our existing restaurant partners are happy with the volume of customers we're sending their way). The biggest barrier for us is really breaking through the noise - there have historically been an overwhelming number of 3rd party products & services catering (no pun intended) to restaurants, of varying degrees of effectiveness. Once we get 15 minutes of their time, restaurant owners/managers tend to be receptive, but it's not always easy to get that time.
Such a great thread here. Only on PH will you see such quality conversation from a founder (@ryanajon1) and the community!
This was a cool concept. Does anyone know what happened?