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In this episode of Hospitality Hangout, Michael Schatzberg, “The Restaurant Guy,” and Jimmy Frischling, “Finance Guy”, welcome a titan of the restaurant tech industry, Ben Leventhal. Ben a co-founder of Eater, the visionary, co-founder, and former CEO of Resy, and now the co-founder and CEO of Blackbird Labs.

Throughout his career, Ben has been at the forefront of technological and marketing revolutions in the restaurant industry. Ben’s journey began with Eater, a trailblazing digital media brand dedicated to food culture and enhancing dining experiences, then co-founded Resy, a consumer-facing reservation platform that revolutionized how restaurants and guests interact. Ben shares his latest venture, Blackbird Labs, shaking up the restaurant scene with cutting-edge technology and forging the future in the food service, hospitality, and restaurant industries.


Key Takeaways:

·   Ben touches on Eater, a go-to resource for food enthusiasts, to Resy, a more seamless and efficient experience for both diners and establishments.

·   The evolution of content in the industry: In the early days with Eater, being quicker than print publications was a defining feature. Compelling storytelling and a strong brand narrative continue to be an enhancement to customer relationships and brand perception.

·   Blackbird introduces FLY, a revolutionary point system designed to create a unified rewards currency for restaurants. Blackbird empowers independent restaurants to enhance their customer experience and compete on a more level playing field with larger chains and loyalty programs.

·   Web3: Innovative technology helping restaurant operators scale their businesses and improve their connection with guests and other establishments while reducing transition costs. Blackbird aims to equip independent restaurants with the tools they need to understand the value of immediate and long-term customer engagement.

·   Ben emphasizes a key lesson from his experience – when developing software, ask restaurants to do as little as possible in terms of implementation, operations, and training.

·   Reducing Operational Complexity: Blackbird aims to integrate into the existing tech stack, striving to be best-in-class in what they do.

·   Hot Takes: Ben shares his insight on trends, from TikTok recipes to drone food delivery.

·   Talking Back: The “Restaurant Guy” and The “Finance Guy” share their views on the introduction of technology in the workplace.

·   Trivia Tuesday: Separating fact from fiction in a lighthearted battle of wits.

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