Resy's Cofounder on How They're Revolutionzing Restaurant Reservations

Certain people complain when something isn't working they way they think it should, but others actually try to fix it. Entrepreneurs Michael Montero, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Ben Leventhal thought the technology that restaurants were using to conduct their operations, such as Yelp SeatMe, were outdated and overpriced, so they created Resy.

They launched Resy in 2014 as a platform to improve the dining experience for eateries and consumers. According to CEO and Eater cofounder Ben Leventhal, Resy charges restaurants a fraction of the price their competitors do for better software that they can use for table management, customer management, and floor-plan management. So better technology at a cheaper price? "It sounds like magic, but it’s not; it’s about building software from the ground up, and in 2015 you can do different things and create a different business," Leventhal says.

What's more, Resy allows each of its partner restaurants to customize how they want to use the company's software. This means that some spots can choose to have diners pay a fee for a premium table, while others may charge for cancellations, and many can simply use it to accept reservations completely free of charge. 

Leventhal calls himself restaurant-obsessed and firmly believes that Resy allows restaurants to do business as if they were premium entertainment producers, which he by all means thinks they are. For example, if you cancel tickets to a Broadway play, you won't get your money back, and Leventhal thinks restaurants should at least have the opportunity to make up for the losses they incur due to no-shows —- a major problem in the industry. 

Resy currently operates in five metro areas: New York, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco and Washington, D.C, and has plans to expand. Local restaurants that use the service include Cena by Michy, Blue Collar, Myumi, and 27 Restaurant & Bar. Leventhal says the brand is selective about which eateries they sign up. To use Resy as a consumer, you have to download the app and put in your credit card information. Reservations are accepted only up to two weeks in advance, and restaurant have different policies regarding cancelations. 

With Resy, there are no awkward confirmation phone calls because the company allows restaurants to text the consumer directly to confirm. What's more, Resy will text you pertinent information regarding the place you're about to eat at, such as whether it's a BYOB joint or if there's a must-try menu item. The company is working on introducing a build-in payment system so you can pay via the app. 
Restaurants may work with Resy and its competition such as OpenTable at the same time; however, Leventhal says it would be an operational nightmare. Asked how Resy compares to the service Table8, which helps users snag hard-to-get reservations by charging them a membership fee, the entrepreneur explains the companies are offering completely different things. "Table8 is a loyalty membership platform that doesn’t have much to do with what we’re doing. They’re more of a marketing channel, and they don’t have the software. It's a different space and a different consumer experience that doesn’t have to do with restaurant operations."

It's been ten years since Leventhal cofounded Eater, but he says what he's doing now with Resy isn't all that different. "There are lots of similarities anytime you're building something from scratch, because there are tremendous challenges and opportunities. At the end of the day, you’re working with your team to build something that people want." 

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Valeria Nekhim was born in the Ukraine and raised in Montreal. She has lived in Manhattan and Miami. Her favorite part of food writing is learning the stories of chefs and restaurateurs.