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BlueSkies is one of 65 companies chosen by VentureBeat to launch at the DEMO Spring 2010 event taking place this week. These companies do pay a fee to present, but our coverage of them remains objective.
With OpenTable’s successful IPO last year, the restaurant reservation market has a clear leader. But a startup called BlueSkies Hospitality Management Systems says it’s launching something better with a service called Restaurant 2.0.
Restaurant 2.0 will supposedly allow restaurants to take reservations from their own websites while collecting data for their customer marketing systems. Restaurants can also communicate through customers using email confirmations and text messages to let them know when their table is ready.
BlueSkies was founded by a number of entrepreneurs with real experience in the restaurant industry — chairman and co-founder Carl Bruggemeier, for example, has managed restaurants including Tavern on the Green, Commander’s Place, Mr. B’s Bistro in New Orleans; The Phoenix in Cincinnati; Brennan’s in Houston; and The Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo. As the company puts it, the founders “wear the same shoes as their clients: They manage staff, write checks, pay bills, prepare food, open wine, and yes, deal with both unhappy guests and happy guests.”
The new product actually consists of a number of different modules, including:
- GuestReserve allows restaurants to take reservations on their own website. In the process, the restaurants are building a customer database for future marketing efforts, and diners can also create their own profiles.
- Reservationist allows restaurants to manage their reservations and their customer database.
- Administrator allows restaurants to build a floor plan and staff roster for each location.
- Scheduler helps create a weekly staff schedule
- TableWatch manages table availability in the dining room.
BlueSkies said it will charge a $595 installation fee and $150 per month for Restaurant 2.0. There are no per-reservation fees. The Pendleton, Indiana company is self-funded.
Update:In case you were having trouble grasping exactly what made Restaurant 2.0 stand out, Chief Operating Officer Tomer Molovinsky wrote me an email highlighting what he said are the biggest differentiators. Here’s an abbreviated list:
- Self-branded. We brand the restaurants not ourselves.
- The Reverse-SEO Effect — High-volume, upscale restaurants using our system have seen an over 25 percent increase in search engine traffic because instead of clicking on the OpenTable link when they type in your restaurant name in Google, they’ll click directly on the restaurant’s website and make the reservation from there.
- Cost Savings: high-volume restaurants stand to save tens of thousands annually from our solution
- Web-based architecture: Because we’re a web-based service there’s no need for expensive IT support, hardware or software (we can run it off of any PC or Mac in a setup time of about 30 minutes!)
- Enterprise solution (one-stop shop): We started BlueSkies HMS because all the restaurant’s info was spread out through a variety of systems, and we wanted to consolidate the information for our clients into one central web-based platform.
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