Savored Launches Upscale Restaurant Deals in Boston
If you find yourself in the category of diner who would rather get run over by a bus than pull out a coupon to help pay for meal, please let me introduce you to Savored.com, the restaurant discount site that launched in Boston yesterday and offers a selection of upscale dining options like Noche, Sibling Rivalry, and Cambridge favorite Central Kitchen, all at 40 percent off.
Savored (which has operated in beta for the past year under the name VillageVines) just relaunched with a new name, new site, and a handful of new cities across the country. Unlike other coupon sites, most of which offer deals of a set value ($20 for $40 worth of food), diners using Savored pay $10 and make a reservation through their website. Later, when the bill comes, the customer discreetly receives a 40 percent discount on the meal (this excludes alcohol in Massachusetts, of course). As any math wiz can tell you, this often results in far greater savings, says Savored’s co-founder Ben McKean. “If I’m going to spend $100 or $200 on a meal, it’s a much better deal.”
Savored now operates in 10 cities with more than 600 restaurants, 90 percent of which, McKean notes, don’t offer discounts anywhere else. “Exclusivity is a big achievement,” he says, explaining that while many restaurants get upwards of 20 deal sites a day knocking down their doors, word-of-mouth has enabled top tier establishments to realize that Savored is a way to fill seats during off hours without diluting their cache.
McKean and his co-founder Dan Leahy met at Georgetown, and both went into investment banking after college. McKean had been working as an analyst on the OpenTable IPO and says it inspired him to create the site. “OpenTable is a successful technology for these business, but what they needed was a true marketing solution,” he says. Eventually, Leahy and McKean decided to dump the finance world to launch their site in 2009. The two New England natives (McKean is from Concord, Mass.; Leahy from Portland, Maine) are currently on track to generate more than $25 million of sales for their restaurant partners this year. With a recent influx of $3 million in capital, Savored is now considered a threat to OpenTable’s business model, though McKean plays that comparison down, calling it “complementary” instead.
So does launching the deals in Boston mean that he’s finally going to be able to take his parents — who still live in his childhood home in Concord — out to dinner? “I’ve been telling them I will for a while,” says McKean. “I should own up to that pretty soon.”