Last night, the Savored team anxiously awaited the roll out of a number of exciting changes that we’ve been working on tirelessly over the past few months. The anticipation paralleled nearly one year ago, when our team of twenty five braved a Friday night together until 5 AM to re-launch VillageVines as Savored. While the launch of these initiatives produced a similar feeling in a lot of ways, the pride of this launch stems from a refocused effort to go back to the basics of what makes Savored unique and, at least in our eyes, positioned to change the restaurant industry forever.
When my co-founder, Dan Leahy, and I started Savored back in early 2010 (VillageVines at the time), the thought of introducing the dynamic pricing model of the airline and hotel industries to restaurants was incredibly promising. Several prominent companies had succeeded in those industries (Priceline, Hotels.com, Orbitz, etc.) and yet no player provided similar yield management solutions in the restaurant space.
We achieved significant early success with this model, generating over $10 million of gross billings in our first year. But we got swept up in the deal craze and admittedly lost our focus. All of a sudden everyone was offering restaurant deals and our differentiation was unclear.
With the changes we are rolling out today, we are going back to our core focus of introducing mechanisms to effectively match supply and demand in the restaurant industry. Restaurants care about “putting butts in seats,” and without a smart yield management solution like Savored, they are incapable of knowing what incentives are needed and when to attract diners. Consumers benefit from the fact that restaurants now have a platform on which they can profitably optimize prices when they have excess tables, giving diners access to incentives of up to 40% off their entire bill during less busy hours and access to tables or special experiences during prime times.
As such, we are incredibly proud to announce the following changes to our service, effective today:
- We are introducing dynamic price optimization in which restaurant incentives will vary above and below the current 30% level depending on consumer demand. This has led to a considerable increase in new inventory on our service, particularly during prime times (weekends and 7pm-8:30pm) and is entirely incremental to our current 30% off inventory.
- After testing numerous pricing models, we have decided to eliminate the consumer reservation fee, making Savored entirely free for consumers to use. In conjunction with this move, we have introduced a service fee for restaurants using the Savored platform.
Everything we’re introducing today marks our commitment to get back to a focus on creating an incredible user experience that helps diners get the best possible pricing at great restaurants while enabling restaurants to optimize their prices to drive demand. I am proud to say that this is just the beginning and that over the next several months we will continue to roll out new products focused on achieving this goal, while enhancing dining experiences for our members and helping our restaurants gain more exposure and increased profits all across the United States.