Developing a CRM for Restaurant People


Hi Everyone – I’m Kevin Zink, one of the founders and developers of Tripleseat. Since Jono has been bogarting this blogspace, I thought I’d sneak in and mix things up a bit.

If you’ve read any of Jono’s posts, you’ll find out that he’s got a lot of experience in the restaurant and hotel industry. As such, he identified a big need for a software solution to help restaurants book and manage their private dining spaces. This is where we at BrightMix come into the picture.

Jono basically came to us and said, “I need a CRM-like tool for the restaurant industry, but it needs to be easy to use and cheap.” An interesting problem. We were intrigued, and after flying out to Boston to meet with Jono, Dusty and myself decided to do the project. Tripleseat was born!

What does a Restaurant CRM look like?

Before we started developing, we needed to figure out what Tripleseat needed to be. We started by checking out the concepts behind the big CRMs like Salesforce or SugarCRM. These software packages are impressively large, monolithic and expensive, and they’re built to help any company sell, literally, anything. As such, they are bloated with features, most of which do not apply to restaurants, they’re expensive, and most importantly, they’re not easy to use. Bogus.

We aimed to keep it Simple.

We wanted to take one of these big CRMs to dumb it down to be as simple and easy-to-use as possible. For that, we determined that we’d need the concept of Accounts, Contacts, and Bookings.

Next, we needed to infuse these concepts with a great user experience. We wanted to avoid the need for any sort of training; “Tripleseat should be easy enough for my Mom to use,” Jono kept telling us. We studied some other excellent web-based products out there: Basecamp, Highrise, Rivalmap, Vimeo, et. al. for inspiration. These are all Web 2.0 applications, as we call them; they’re easy to use, FUN to use, and look fantastic. Ah, yes, that’s the ticket!

We’ve taken elements from all these applications, in additional to some of our own ideas and concepts, and we’ve got Tripleseat to the point where it’s a pretty slick application with a seamless user experience. We’re still working really hard at making it even better, though. Over the next few months, Tripleseat is going to get prettier, even easier to use, and even better managing private dining events! Stay tuned!