Resy, a New York-based restaurant reservations app looking to go up against OpenTable, has just announced that it has secured $2 million in seed funding to make sure you don’t have to wait to sit in the best restaurants in the city.
The round was led by Vayner/RSE and Lerer Ventures, with participation from TomsCapital/Panarea Capital, A-Grade Holdings, Slow Ventures, Ken Austin, and a few others.
The idea is simple. Instead of grabbing the 5:30pm or 10:30pm reservation at the hottest restaurant in town, Resy lets you pay an extra fee to book a table at a reasonable time, with little to no notice ahead of time.
After signing up, you’re shown restaurants in the area with available tables. You simply choose the restaurant, the number of people attending dinner, and buy the table. When you arrive, instead of waiting in a line and hoping for availability within the next hour, you’re ushered to your table to begin dining.
Prices are determined as a collaborative effort between Resy and the restaurant, and both parties share the revenue so that everyone wins.
See, even though many of these hot restaurants have a line out the door and around the corner, many are still missing out on a certain customer that simply refuses to stand around and wait for dinner. This is particularly true among restaurants that don’t accept reservations, explains CEO Ben Leventhal.
This is not only an extra revenue stream for a restaurant, but a way to acquire loyal customers they might never have had access to.
“We’re also seeing the notion of being a ‘regular’ play through on Resy,” said Leventhal. “Even since launching a beta in June, we’re seeing some users book up to three or four times at their favorite restaurants.”
Leventhal has always been passionate about the restaurant business, believing that entrepreneurs in the technology sector will undoubtedly help the industry evolve after historically having low margins and an inefficient model around handling inventory. In fact, Leventhal is the mind behind Eater.com and is an investor in restaurant payments app Cover.
According to Leventhal, Resy might consider a self-serve model for restaurants in the future, but for now they’re staying very hands-on as they test the waters. They’d also like to offer a highly curated experience to users, with only the best restaurants on the platform.
That’s why Resy is launching with a small batch of 20 awesome restaurants in NYC, including Minetta Tavern, Charlie Bird, Toro, Gotham Bar and Grill.
Resy is one of two projects that will be incubated by Vayner/RSE this year, with Gary Vaynerchuk taking a co-founder title alongside Ben Leventhal (CEO) and Michael Montero (CTO).