“It’ll be like Uber for pumpkins!” We’ve all heard companies promising to be the Uber for something, hoping to drastically change a space the way Uber did for personal transportation. Companies that have succeeded in doing so, however, are few and far between.
Maybe this time around it’ll be different. Enter Reserve, a personal concierge for dining. It’s yet another startup that aspires to be the Uber for something. Only this time, according to co-founder and CEO Greg Hong, it boasts one major difference: it’s backed by an Uber co-founder.
So What Does Reserve Do?
Reserve is a restaurant concierge app that seeks to help its users “eat at better restaurants and with better service.” More than just a reservations app, Reserve handles everything from restaurant suggestions to payment processing after a meal.
Upon opening the app, the user will be able to set the party size, the date, and time range for the reservation. Reserve will then recommend restaurants, serving information (such as awards received by the restaurant and the number of Michelin stars) as well as beautiful images of the restaurant and food. Reserve boasts that the dining experience will be exceptional, claiming that users will be “treated like a regular.” After you’ve finished the meal, Reserve will automatically bill the check to your credit card, letting you skip the wait and be on your merry way.
Hasn’t This Been Done?
If this seems awfully familiar to you, don’t worry, you’re not going crazy – many companies already currently aspire to make the dining experience easier for users. UrbanDaddy, for example, recommends restaurants and activities based on situations, with an emphasis on quality. UrbanSpoon is a platform for restaurant reviews and recommendations, and allows users to apply a number of different filters to their restaurant search. In the reservation space, OpenTable is famous for allowing users to effortlessly book restaurants, and has recently enabled users to handle payments through the app as well.
Each of these companies is successful in its own right. What makes Reserve a little different is that it combines all of these into a seamless experience for the user. But even so, sometimes the promise of convenience isn’t enough to convert users.
So What Sets Reserve Apart?
Reserve is the first project to come out of the oven at Expa, a company that “works with founders to develop and launch new products.” Expa was created by Uber and StumbleUpon co-founder Garrett Camp, and added Foursquare co-founder Naveen Selvadurai to the team earlier this year.
But the real magic of Reserve is what happens behind the scenes. Garrett Camp proudly announced that Reserve is designed “with restaurants in mind.” Catered to the restaurant owner, it enables “restaurateurs to seat more guests, deliver better service, and fully realize their vision.” Restaurants are not charged for using the service. Instead, diners are charged with a $5 flat fee per reservation, and face various penalties for last-minute canceling and no-shows.
Reserve also provides support for the restaurant. It allows restaurants to be flexible by not requiring the restaurant to hold tables. It also provides better information to the restaurant, such as the preferences of the diner, enabling the restaurant to treat diners like regulars. Finally, diners are able to provide private feedback to the restaurant through Reserve, giving restaurateurs a valuable source of information.
With these features in tow, it’s easy to see why restaurants would choose to work with Reserve. Reserve is currently partnered with a growing list of restaurants in New York City, Los Angeles, and Boston (fear not, San Francisco, it’s coming to you soon).
Images and media courtesy of Reserve.com.