December 19, 2011
What if food experts reviewed the best restaurants in your city and gave you a discount? Blackboard Eats is doing just that in LA, NYC, Chicago, and San Francisco, with plans to launch a new city in the spring of 2012.
“Don’t consider us a deal site; instead an intersection between motivating perks and journalism,” said Founder/Editor-in-Chief, Maggie Nemser. “Even the best restaurants don’t have butts in seats from the minute they open to the minute they close.”
What differentiates Blackboard Eats from other deal sites, such as Groupon and Living Social, is their foodie-focus on food quality and ambiance – a more niche market. The site is also free for both restaurants and subscribers, and, to maintain quality control, the food writers follow the basic rule of restaurant reviewers and dine anonymously. Nemser said to think of Blackboard Eats as a “niche boutique brand that won’t necessarily work for every city.”
Moving forward, Nemser said she plans to increase marketing efforts and explore membership and loyalty programs. They will also add music and concerts to their platform, but plan to grow strategically.
Nemser ‘s inspiration draws from her childhood growing up in one of the most foodie-focused cities in the world, NYC. “Restaurants were a great escape.”
She spent her entire professional career working her way up the “food chain,” (no pun intended) until she “finally got someone to give me a shot.” As the former food editor at Yahoo! and Yahoo! Shine, she became devoted to food writing and the consumer experience.
Nemser wanted the look-and-feel of Blackboard Eats to have a sense of neighborhood. The design is similar to the daily specials written on a blackboard at a neighborhood restaurant, attempting to give you the perception that the deals on the website are comparable to the daily specials you’d find at a charming neighborhood gem.
Nemser said, “I was often choosing the restaurants for my group of friends. I would choose restaurants that everyone felt comfortable at and worked financially. I was good at it.” Blackboard Eats’ reviews cover basic information, the restaurant name, location, and neighborhood, followed by a foodie write up, menu musts, sweet seats, chew on this (an interesting fact/tip), hours or operation, and price range.
You can download the Blackboard Eats App to either iPhone or Andriod. Check it out and let me know what you think – leave a comment below.
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