We now have online sales on every continent in the world except for Antarctica.
One Hundred Tables started as an idea to create a million dollar website that would serve restaurants online better than anyone and serve foodies and travelers who just want to know where to go for a great dining/foodie experience.
The reaction from restaurant owners to One Hundred Tables has been interesting. Some restaurant owners get it, some don’t. Some sign up and pay the $100 gladly while other’s say they don’t think they should have to pay for these things (they often just see the cost and not the value of what’s really going on for them online). It’s all good. It’s business.
So how do you go about getting sales on 6 continents without a sales team, working virtually from anywhere in the world, and on near-autopilot? I’ll share with you 7 ways we did it and perhaps it might be useful to you as you think about your own businesses.
1.BUILD IN SCARCITY The beauty of our business for us and the customers is that we’re not looking to showcase every restaurant in every city on the site. We only have space for 100 restaurants. Think about that — in a city like New York where there are probably 100,000 restaurants, we are SOLD OUT at 100.
2. BUILD IN GREAT BENEFITS FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS. Those 100 restaurants in each city get the benefits of the $100 profile, and those 100 restaurants are the ones that then also automatically appear on the 100Tables App. And there’s no extra charge. We just do it for them as an extra benefit of being on the site and to help spread the word about their restaurants. Serve your customers better than the next guy.
3. MAKE THE BREAK EVEN POINT FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS VERY FAST. Foodies use the site for free to discover great restaurants. We charge a flat $100 per year for a restaurant to have one of the 100 profiles we make available in each city. That’s dinner for two in most places. On One Hundred Tables it all boils down to a break even point for our customers of about an hour. Everything above that goes in the pocket of our customers. When the spend is only $100 in a year, the ROI for the restaurant(s) can be substantial.
I mean really — what’s the risk? A hundred bucks? That’s 27 cents a day — the butter on the table costs more. That’s 4 cocktails in New York City.
4. SHOW THE EARLY ADOPTERS SOME LOVE. Some restaurateurs “get it” immediately and sign up. These are the early adopters who see it, love it, and understand the value in having a good looking and powerful profile online from a relevant restaurant oriented website that provides good inbound links back to their own URL. We make sure every restaurant on the site has lots of online linking that’s relevant — we follow them on Facebook and Twitter, retweet their content to an ever-growing audience, and we pin their profile image to our Pinterest city boards so when they are re-pinned it pulls the restaurant’s One Hundred Tables profile URL with the image into a new audience. We even do select interviews with restaurants and chefs to give them some fresh online exposure which is always good all around. We try to add a nice personal touch here.
5. BUILD IN QUALITY BY DEFAULT. They also understand that it’s valuable to be included in a hot shortlist of only great places to eat. When a restaurant wants to snag one of the 100 profiles in their city, we allow their own customer base determine if they’re good or not. One Hundred Tables asks each restaurant to indicate where they have already been featured from a list of top sources. We call these “accolades”. These accolades then show up on that restaurants One Hundred Tables profile as proof points of why you should eat there.
Restaurants like knowing that only good places can get on. That’s the point of the site at its core.
6. MAKE IT DIFFERENT. MAKE IT A BETTER ALTERNATIVE. We receive emails sometimes from restaurants who like what we’ve built and want to join because they like the fact that we don’t get into reviews. Not everybody wants to look through 3,542 restaurants, filter out the bad reviews, then go through the remaining options when it comes to restaurant discovery. Plus go compare the profiles for any restaurant on One Hundred Tables with any other restaurants review or reservation site and you be the judge which profiles looks better. Our core idea approach was like this: Show me a surely reliable shortlist of 100 places to eat and I don’t care about that one guy who didn’t like his burger that one time in place everyone knows it great. On One Hundred Tables, every restaurant is good. Period.
7. KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOING Everybody likes a winner and to be on a winning team. Make your product great, get behind it, service your customers better than the big boys, and keep moving forward a little bit every day.
So now heading into 2020 our business makes a slight shift from B2B to B2B2C and puts each one of the restaurants on the site in the mobile hands of everyone who downloads the App. Think about that — travelers on the move who just want to know where to go, where other diners have had a good experience, and in your pocket for quick reference when you’re in your own city or traveling.
You can download the 100Tables App for iPhone for free here.
I hope these 7 ideas are useful to you in your own business as they were central to our thinking when we created One Hundred Tables. The Recap: 1. Keep your idea simple. 2. Build in Scarcity. 3. Build in Quality — put a lot of care into it. 4. Offer a great value to your customers and users. 5. Make your idea original and work on it everyday. 6. Make the ROI potential for your customers very high.
Move the ball down the field a little bit at a time and when you can make a big play — but always move forward.
You can see the whole thing at onehundredtables.com