August 9, 2015
As someone who grew up working in the hospitality industry – from my first gig bussing tables at Dutch’s Daughter in Frederick, MD to obtaining my Masters in Tourism Administration at the age of 32 – I understand how important, and oftentimes misunderstood, the service industry can be.
While mobile platforms such as Yelp, Foursquare, and Zomato make it easier for consumers today to find nearby restaurants, cafes and theaters, these may also be armed with destructive and discouraging reviews so as to turn would-be customers off.
It’s true that if one has an incredible experience at a business, they may come home and tell their partner/roommate, maybe even a colleague. But if a consumer has a terrible experience, they’re going to find the need to tell 10 people – and review sites turn into dumping grounds for these frustrations.
But what good do bad reviews do anyway? Do they help the restaurant improve (publicly shaming them in the process)? Do they help the consumers release their frustrations (whilst fueling their own egos)?
One food-tech startup is empowering customers to provide their feedback – discreetly and constructively – directly to businesses. And the best part is that these customers get rewarded for it!
Founded by Robert Edell and Julien Wormser, Servy is a mobile app comprised of a vetted community of frequent diners and hospitality experts. These Servy Consultants use the app to complete private restaurant evaluations in exchange for a partial reimbursement of their meal. Think of it as a mystery shopping network fit for foodies.
The app launched 8 months ago in New York City. Although NYC is the startup’s focus at the moment, the app does allow users to evaluate any restaurant in the USA. Even if Servy isn’t working with that restaurant, they will reach out to that business and offer the user’s feedback. They plan to expand next to Washington, DC and Boston, MA.
What Servy’s restaurants love about this service, as opposed to existing review sites, is that the mobile app is structured (surveys can be customized by the business), verified (the user has to take a picture of their receipt) and the app helps identify important trends. Some of Servy’s restaurants have used the software to assess staff performance and determine incentives for their teams.
This budding new food-tech startup has just closed their first Seed round and are looking for developers and marketing staff to join their dynamic team.
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