Leading Denver restaurant leaves OpenTable to embrace tech-savvy EVEVE

Timothy Ryan, President of EVEVE’s North American operations, announced today that it has expanded its United States presence to Denver —one of America’s most important restaurant reservation markets —by partnering with critically-acclaimed restaurant Axios Estiatorio.  “We are very honored and excited to be able to establish our initial presence in Denver and in Colorado by announcing our partnership with such an amazing restaurant,” said Ryan.   “Denver is one of the most diverse and progressive restaurant cities in America and we are excited about the potential to work with restaurants in the city, and throughout the State of Colorado in the weeks and months ahead,” said Ryan.    Axios was awarded Denver’s Best Greek Restaurant in 2012 by the Denver Westwood, and ranks amongst Colorado’s best in online reviews, with a 4.5 on Yelp, 93% on Urbanspoon and 26/30 on Google.

EVEVE announced its expansion into Denver, building on its presence in 11 other states and two provinces in Canada, after surpassing expectations in their initial U.S. test market of the Twin Cities in Minnesota.    Entering the U.S. market just 12 months ago, almost 100 restaurants have signed up for Eveve in North America, with just over half in Minnesota.  The impact has been most profound amongst busy independent restaurants, especially in Minneapolis-St. Paul.  11 of the America’s busiest 125 independents have now switched to Eveve; and in Minnesota a staggering seven of the top 10.  With more than one million diners processed per annum, Eveve is the number two supplier by booking volume in the USA and has emerged as OpenTable’s principal American competitor.

“In this field, we think the Denver market shares a great deal in common with Minneapolis in 2011 [before Eveve’s entry], and its independent restaurants should benefit just as much as their Minnesotan counterparts”.  Colorado and Minnesota have similar total populations, both centered around a large Metro area.  Moreover, both states are comparatively wealthy and Denver and Minneapolis have thriving and sophisticated restaurant scenes.

Finally both Denver and Minneapolis have an exceptionally high penetration of online reservations for restaurants.  This is exhibited in a disproportionately large number of restaurants taking live reservations, higher online bookings per diner per annum, and a higher percentage of total diners coming from online (versus walk in or telephone).  Ryan adds that “Both cities’ online reservation markets are significantly more developed than larger or comparable cities such as Houston, Dallas, St. Louis, Kansas City or Cleveland.”

Like Minnesota in 2011, Coloradan restaurateurs are faced with one expensive monopoly supplier.  Now Eveve brings some much needed competition to the field, which is good news for prices, and for restaurateurs.  Ryan adds “We captured 39% of all online reservations in Minnesota.  With all our clients being independents, it is reasonable to assume that without the chains, Eveve process up to 50% of online reservations in Minneapolis-St Paul for independent restaurants.  There is no reason why this can not be done in Denver, given that it mirrors Minneapolis in so many ways.”

The benefits for the Denver restaurant community are tangible.  “In Minneapolis, Eveve has proven it can provide an industry-standard reservation system and comparable online reservations volumes, as the previous supplier [OpenTable], at a cost which is typically 70-90% less”.  The introduction of a viable competitor into a formerly monopoly market will typically have a meaningful impact on prices, but the scale of the savings in this case are particularly unusual.

The restaurant business is a tough one, and if restaurants can shave thousands (or in many cases tens of thousands) of dollars per year from their bottom line, it is a welcome saving.  Ryan concludes “There are a handful of restaurants in Minneapolis that switched to Eveve which actually saved as much on OpenTable fees, as the owners paid themselves the previous year”.  There might be some of those in Denver!


Timothy Ryan