Ever since Spike Mendelsohn appeared on the fourth season of Top Chef in 2008, he’s been raking in win after win. Today, he and his family own several popular Washington D.C. restaurants — Good Stuff Eatery, Béarnaise and We, The Pizza — all of which expanding across the nation and overseas. We caught up with him recently on how Reserve for Restaurants is saving him money.
Why did you decide to try using the Reserve platform at Béarnaise?
I think it’s about time someone disrupts the space of reservations. OpenTable is this huge Goliath. I remember using them 15 years ago in my first restaurant. Chefs today are looking for a little bit more out of reservation systems. That’s kind of where I’m at.
It’s also about the cost. Reserve’s figured out a platform that works that’s cost-effective restaurants. We’re faced with some markets that are just completely out of control. Everything’s become more expensive — food costs are up, hourly wages are going up. There’s just so much stuff as a business, so you have to really look inside at what you’ve been doing and how you might need to disrupt your own process within your company. As the markets evolve in the restaurant business, you always have to make adjustments. This is an adjustment; this is what has to happen. Minimum wage is higher, the cost of food is higher, and I can’t raise my menu prices to where I out-price myself, so I have to look at other ways to save some money. And this is one of them.
What’s your favorite Reserve feature?
Mobility. The hostess or manager can walk around with the ipad rather than having to sit at the front of the restaurant and look at a computer. They can work the room a little bit more and have everything right there.