The restaurant business has always been a difficult one. Plates break. Checks get miscalculated. Name a potential problem, and it's bound to happen on any given day.
Being good at all that and managing to keep the lights on is a Herculean effort in and of itself, but now, restaurants are brands and the internet exists. That means they need good websites and great SEO.
According to BentoBox CEO Krystle Mobayeni, a restaurant's website should, "give you an idea of what that place feels like before you even come in." When you're looking for a new place to eat, "The first thing you do is Google something, everyone does it. So the first thing that should come up is a property that the restaurant owns." Something that represents that business the way it wants to be seen. And that's where Mobayeni's company comes in.
Krystle Mobayeni has a classic American dream story. She's a first-generation Iranian-American, she's worked for ad agencies, co-founded a digital creative studio, and now, she's running her own company. Back in 2013, "I was working as a freelance consultant... and I ended up working with this restaurant and started learning about how frustrated [the staff] were... They felt like they were being held hostage by all these different technologies they were using, and wanted to solve all of that with their website because it was the only place they had control online. I found that I couldn't give them what they wanted with the tools that were out there." Mobayeni had to give them something though, "So I hacked together something on WordPress and moved on with my life. But a couple of months later a few other restaurants like The Meatball Shop and The Union Square Hospitality Group reached out to me. They had the same pain points, they wanted the same thing." Suddenly, she had a whole new business on her hands.
Mobayeni sees a restaurant's website as the heart of its online brand, and BentoBox helps its clients, "enhance the thing they already do... We can help sell gift cards or sell tickets if they're doing an event. We can do catering orders. Each one of these things augments their operations in a way that's much more high margin and helps them stay in business."