The way you visit restaurants is about to change in a big way. That's the hope at least for the three guys behind SilvrSpoon.
Patrick Meyn, Eugene Revzin and Nick Terkay have been working on the idea behind SilvrSpoon for about a year now, and they are getting ready to launch the program here in Chicago.
"SilvrSpoon is an interactive, mobile, loyalty, feedback and rewards platform," Explains Meyn, Director of Business Development. "It's bridging the gap between restaurants and consumers."
That sounds great and all, but what exactly does it do?
When someone goes into a restaurant that is using the SilvrSpoon system, they will find a custom QR code at their table. Scanning the code on your iPhone or Android device will let the restaurant know who is sitting there and as much information the customer wants to provide (The ability to link up to your Facebook account means you will be able to tell the restaurant just about everything about yourself).
Once you've checked in, you are able to see a menu on your smart phone that can be customized to your tastes, based on what you say you like and dislike, and the traits (spicy, grilled, vegetarian etc.) with which the restaurant has tagged its menu items.
Next comes ordering, which could be done completely without the waiter or waitress, ordering just through your phone. The guys at SilvrSpoon stress that they aren't looking to eliminate the waitstaff of a restaurant, and that the app can be customized as much as one particular restaurant would like, so that the waitstaff can be as involved or uninvolved as the restaurant would like them to be.
When orders are placed through the app, the user receives "points" at that particular restaurant, which can then be used at that restaurant however the restaurant sees fit.
As you're ready to leave the restaurant, you can request the check through the app, and then leave feedback through the app.
Meyn explains that one thing that's SilvrSpoon hopes to promote is loyalty to a restaurant.
"Loyalty is something that has been by the wayside a little bit," Meyn explains. "With all these daily deal websites and such, they don't really promote loyalty."
Other than that, the team explains that there is a lack of good feedback coming in from consumers about their restaurants. While they maintain that sites like Yelp and Foursquare, which you are able to leave comments with your opinions about the restaurant, but the restaurant never knows much about the commenter. SilvrSpoon however provides the restaurant with data about what the diner ate, when they were there, and at which table they were sitting, all key aspects that could change a diner's experience.
So why Chicago? Why did SilvrSpoon decide the Second City was the place to launch their application?
"People love to eat here." Explains Revzin
"As a technology company, there's obviously Silicon Valley [to start]," continues Revzin. "But there aren't 3,500 restaurants within a 20 mile radius."
So what kind of advice do the guys of SilvrSpoon have for someone who might want to start up their own company?
"The workday never ends." Meyn explains. "When you're starting something new, it's always on your mind."
Revzin says that a lot of people will tell you to keep something simple and get it out to market, which isn't always bad advice, but you still have to make sure that you're putting out the product that you want.
"Balance the need to get results with getting your idea out there." Revzin says.
And finally, there's the money, particularly convincing investors that your product is what they should be investing in, especially when your technology is new, and there are others trying out similar products.
"A lot of these investors are not quite sure which approach is right." Revzin says.
"We tell them, 'the future is easier to predict when you create it.'" Terkay explains.