Boom Time for Belltown Restaurants

Boom Time for Belltown RestaurantsWeary of paying huge “Middleman” fees, top Seattle Independent restaurants switch their online reservations to OpenTable’s leading North American Challenger Eveve

Boom Time for Belltown RestaurantsOnce the home of Seattle’s “Film Row” – the hub of silent-era movie production in the American Northwest which took to sound in the 1930s – Seattle’s Belltown is fast becoming the setting for another revolution. Fast forward to 2014 and this time the actors are restaurateurs, the stages are the diverse dining hot spots that pepper the area, and the storyline of the day is Eveve – a Scottish software upstart helping the local food industry radically improve their margins with an online reservations challenge to the hitherto unhampered behemoth, San Francisco based OpenTable.

Launching in Washington — their third strategic market in North America — just two weeks ago, Eveve has already attracted a range of flagship restaurants in the area. Within a week, Eveve managed to sign up two Belltown favourites in Pintxo and La Vita e Bella. The following week, the 110 year old Ballard institution, Hattie’s Hat, became the third restaurant to sign on with Eveve in Seattle.
La Vie with Eveve

In an industry where a profitable restaurants’ margins are typically as narrow as four percent, Eveve CEO Timothy John Ryan and his experienced team of restaurant specialists are breathing life into their clients’ businesses with a cost-effective alternative to the old monopoly of OpenTable.

As sure as movies moved away from mime, restaurants are now rejecting additional fees for diners. With Eveve, restaurants pay a flat fee, so there is no conflict between the need to manage a restaurant’s diners digitally, and the need maximize a restaurant’s profits.

Pintxo owner Cory Chigbrow saw an upturn in his reservations within hours of switching over:

“We were tired of paying OpenTable a membership fee, as well as a fee for individual diners – not just from their website but from our own as well! They were selling our own diners back to us, and we found ourselves blocking off tables in busy times in the evenings and at weekends.”

“Within four hours of installing Eveve we had 27 online diners, and there was no need to block off any tables because there was no incremental cost per online diner.”

First Class Reservations Technology on Seattle’s Second Avenue

The technology is as strong as anything in the market place. Eveve began life in the late 90s as an agile software house in Scotland who counted IBM, JCDecaux and the Royal Bank of Scotland among its clients. In 2006 they were approached to build a comprehensive reservations system for a restaurant group in their native Edinburgh, and in the eight years since they have expanded to manage nearly 900 restaurants in 11 countries, and are now the biggest independently-owned restaurant reservation supplier in the world.

Touching down in the USA in 2011, Eveve has already crushed the OpenTable monopoly in Minneapolis-Saint Paul and Houston, managing nine of the top ten restaurants by online reservations in the former, with fully half of the top ten having already made the switch in the latter. The company has now made Seattle the base for their Western expansion, spurning San Francisco to set up alongside the likes of Microsoft, Amazon and Expedia.

Stopping the Rot

“We chose Seattle, not San Francisco, as the base for our operations for the West Coast,” says Ryan. “We estimate that just under four million dollars pour out of Seattle down the coast to San Francisco each year.”

“We stemmed that tide in in Minnesota, halving what was leaving there in financial terms from the restaurant industry, and we aim to halve it again here.”

“Seattle is unique in that it has such a vibrant economy – this is not a city that needs to send its revenues down the coast to a company that has so flagrantly abused its market position. Now Seattleites have a world class software solution right on their doorstep.”

Stuart Telford
Twitter: @StuartTelford
Cell: 206-295-7150