“WhyWait” is a discovery app that allows users to find the following for restaurants/bars: Happy Hours, Deals, Events, Menus, Images and Social Media Integration.
Below is the full interview that we have conducted with Mr. ‘Littleton’ regarding his Company “WhyWait”;
1. What is it exactly that you do and what “WhyWait” is all about?
WhyWait is a discovery app that allows users to find the following for restaurants/bars:
-Social Media Integration
We also allow users to receive opt-in push notifications from the restaurants of their choosing. The restaurants control these messages in real-time. So, as a WhyWait user, if Tuesday night is slow for a particular restaurant I have favorited, I could receive a special notification good for that night only.
Our product is unique because we have created a consumer facing-product where the content is generated by the actual restaurants as opposed to user generated platforms such as urbanspoon and yelp. Our content is more robust and accurate.
WhyWait’s goal is to provide our restaurant clients with an easy to use marketing platform in the mobile arena and our app users a better channel in which to communicate with restaurants.
2. When has “WhyWait” been founded? And what stage is “WhyWait” currently at?
10/26/2011. We are in the latter beta stage of our product release. We debuted it in Bowling Green KY and gathered customer/app user feedback to determine the direction of our product.
3. What is “WhyWait”’s business model and how does it work?
Our business model is SAAS where revenue is generated on a monthly subscription basis from our participating restaurants. We also monetize advertisements within the app.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
I called my lifelong friend Jon Matar, and told him what was going on. He quit his job in finance and became the CFO of the company.
Jay Brown was our third employee and he serves as our operations manager.
Kaitie Vonderschmitt joined WhyWait as an intern in college and handles all marketing, graphic design and advertising.
Kristina Bell and Nick Phelps handle PR and Marketing.
5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?
Our product is unique because the information we are broadcasting is that of the actual restaurants/bars, not a review or a picture from someone who had a cold steak once.
We also offer more in-depth information such as happy hours, events and more extensive deals.
Our product serves as a complete city-guide as opposed to the fragmented solutions currently offered.
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has “WhyWait” achieved so far?
We have just launched our 2nd market with the intention of launching our 3rd within a week.
Our goal was to get 3 markets in operation and we are very close to achieving that goal.
7. Who are your competitors? And what is “WhyWait”’s competitive advantage over them?
Our competitors include:
Our advantage v urbanspoon and yelp is our formed partnership with restaurants. In getting restaurants signed up we have identified a major pain point in that the restaurants have no control over the information users are posting about them.
Often competitors will get on their pages and post slander to deter other potential customers. These platforms, if applied to you and I would be akin to having a facebook page that you had no power to remove comments or posts that you didn’t want the public to see.
We are offering a different solution, one in which they do have control of the content. We will be implementing a new take on the review procedure.
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
One of our biggest obstacles has been determining where our product fits in the market. Many of our initial assumptions were verified, however, several new opportunities were identified through feedback-gathering.
Taking this feedback into account and prioritizing it into development releases has been difficult to plan and ship releases on time.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
Many people are not aware of the adoptability hurdles faced with selling a technology product to the restaurant industry, which typically is technologically archaic.
Independent restaurants are both scattered and overwhelmed with sales pitches from a variety of industries. Just getting in front of actual leads is a task in itself.
10. Why are you going to succeed?
We have a strong core team with guidance from experienced investors and advisors.
We are committed to the success of this project and we are willing to learn from our mistakes and continue moving forward.
As we progress, we are encountering increased validation both on the client and user side.
11. If “WhyWait” succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
We have several industries we may consider down the road. (quiet for now)
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build “WhyWait” based on?
While the idea started with purely a way to show restaurant wait times, we quickly found that it needed to be a more comprehensive take on the restaurant industry.
The business vaguely resembles the first business plan used to pitch initial investors.
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
What we got right and what we could improve on. I believe that no matter how well a solution is thought out on a whiteboard, so much more can be gained (and more quickly) by putting the solution in the hands of your users.
We are improving at delivering results to the field and basing decisions on user feedback as opposed to trying to develop our whole product roadmap amongst ourselves.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
Our biggest problem 6 months from now will be handling scale.
While our product is architected to handle any load we could hope to impose on it, our infrastructure will have grow as needed. Organizing and implementing this growth will be a challenge.
15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
The benefit for the restaurant is power to promote and portray themselves as they see fit. By doing so, the user is provided a better perception of where they are going, before they get there.
16. How did customers/users find out about you?
App users find out about WhyWait through press and traditional marketing.
Also, restaurants are incentivized to promote WhyWait because the more users that download WhyWait and favorite their particular restaurant, the larger the opportunity is for that restaurant to open an additional line of direct communication through push notifications.
17. Who are your current customers/users? Who are your target customers/users?
Our current list of restaurant clients can be found on our website www.whywaittheapp.com. We have a diverse list ranging from high-end dining establishments to Baskin Robbins.
Our target market grew with the marketability of push notifications as all types of service industry establishments are looking for new ways to communicate with their customers.
18. Where do new customers/users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?
We conduct direct sales to restaurants as well as virtual campaigns through email and social media marketing to acquire new customers.
We are offering a new and exciting solution for the restaurant industry and simplifying the processes they are being instructed to get into throughout their industry circulations.
19. What do your customers/users say about your product and/or service?
Our product has been well received by our restaurant clients. It is a welcome relief for them to be told that the marketing presence we offer them is something they control vs. other user platforms.
We offer several unique features to users that is also not found elsewhere on a comprehensive level.
20. How are you going to scale?
After our initial 5 markets, Nashville, Louisville, Cincinnati, Lexington and Bowling Green we will begin promoting and selling WhyWait on a regional and then national scale.
We will rely on the metrics and marketing data we are compiling to assist in our virtual expansion effort.
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?
The real time information. Being able to control a channel to consumers is a powerful tool in the competitive restaurant industry.
Giving them a line to promote themselves in real time is a feature they cannot get elsewhere.
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
We started this business with the intention not of disrupting our industry, but to change it for the better. With our continued efforts and innovation, we are learning and adapting our direction in order to provide a one-stop solution for our industry.
We are the first and last ones in our parking lot and will keep our heads down for as long as it takes to achieve our goals.
24. Are you looking to hire a new workforce? And if yes, what job vacancies do you currently offer and where can potential applicants contact you at?
We are hiring positions in product development, marketing, sales, and business development.
Potential candidates can go to our website and click on the “Job” links to apply.
We’d love to hear from anyone interested!!
25. Are you looking for partnership opportunities or funding from Venture Capitals (VC) or other funding sources? Or your business is self-sustainable? And if the first option applies where can potential partners / investors contact you at?
We are exploring partnerships with distributors in our industry.
We have raised capital to advance us this far and we are getting into series A capital raises.
Investors can contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
To forewarn new entrepreneurs of the challenges they will face on an ever-changing basis. You need to be able to take criticism and feedback and direct it in a positive manner as you guide your team.