The most important lesson I took away from my conversation with Greg Hong, the co-founder and CEO of Reserve, is that whenever you do something you’ve got to go all in. If you’re a sports fan, it’s approaching every game like it’s the Super Bowl, and in the words of Ravens legend Ray Lewis, it’s about leaving your legacy.
Between apps like OpenTable, Resy, and Urbanspoon new technology offers us countless options to enhance our experiences dining out.
However, whether you’re in need of restaurant recommendations, enjoy eating at a specific time or want to review your meal none of these apps afford a seamless experience to do all three.
Enter Reserve, the first app encapsulating the entire experience into a personal dining concierge.
According to Greg, our experiences dining out have become transactional, and Reserve’s ultimate mission is to make them special again.
He explains it in a Google Ventures video here:
Aside from saving you from opening five apps in favor of one, Greg’s team is going all in on their partnerships; a part of Reserve that fascinates me most. (You can learn more about how Greg approaches business partnerships in this great post from The First Round Review).
As a consumer, I evaluated Reserve entirely on user experience. How fast can they schedule my reservation? How accurate are their suggestions? Will they really account for my allergies? And how will the restaurant know that I’m paying with the app?
To my surprise, the only way to answer these questions is to look at the restaurants themselves.
From signing them on to training team members and actively improving based on their feedback, partnerships are Reserve’s quarterback sneak to win this highly saturated market.
Despite rapidly expanding to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Boston after launching in New York in October Greg’s highest priority is ensuring that each of Reserve’s partner restaurants feels like an active member of the team. To achieve this goal, regional managers are responsible for personally communicating with nearly all of the startup’s 100 plus restaurants, making it a priority to know each team member by name every time they call.
The restaurant’s insights are then digested in Reserve’s weekly feedback meetings where each general manager shares their key learnings. Next, the team looks internally to decide on the most responsive strategies to satisfy their partners.
As both a B2B and B2C service Reserve’s hyper-focus on user experience is garnering positive feedback from all parties involved.
For their restaurants, going all in means committing to saving them money, time, and bringing in new and hopefully regular customers.
For users, it’s an opportunity to feel special with a personal assistant taking care of our restaurant recommendations, reservations, and even our bill.