If you’re dining out on a budget, chances are you’ve come across Restaurant.com, a website that serves up 45,000 discounted gift certificate options a day to restaurants ranging from Gibsons to Giordano’s and 18,000 other establishments in Chicago and across the country.
The concept is simple: Restaurants provide the site with $10 to $100 gift certificates, which it sells at a discount to consumers. The company keeps proceeds from the sale. Restaurants get the business plus marketing support and customer data.
But it took two failed attempts before CEO Cary Chessick hit on his $50-million recipe for success.