Why We Built Meitre

In the late 90s our sister use to play in the kitchen, while we were usually found dissecting a computer in our shared bedroom. She grew to become a Chef, we ended up building a tech company to serve restaurants.

Too many people just eat to consume calories. But we count the memories, not the calories. That is why we couldn’t stay indifferent and just accept the status quo of this day and age of the restaurant scene. We’ve all heard it many times before, the little independent local restaurant, surviving on wafer-thin margins and 18 hour days, fully booked on a Saturday night only to find the room half empty with guests who haven’t turned up. On the other hand, people planning ahead and arriving on time only to find a restaurant overbooked. There’s the bar, have a drink and wait. Where’s the sense of hospitality gone?

The convenience and immediacy of booking a table online anytime day or night is beneficial to both diners and to restaurants. But the question isn’t about whether or not online reservations are themselves a good idea. We live in the golden age of technology, in which web-based services have transformed many consumer and business functions by making them easier, more accessible, and drastically less expensive. That’s ultimately the most perplexing thing about online booking: unlike so many other web services, this one has actually driven up operating costs, not reduced them. By permitting a third party to own and control access to the customer database, restaurants have unwittingly paid while giving away one of the crown jewels of their business, their customers.

All this trouble for what? The industry has been very successful to replicate the inefficiencies of reservations by phone to the online format. Overbooking, late cancellations, and no-shows still plague restaurants despite the rise of online booking websites. They have managed to transfer the heartache disappointment of booking maneuvers very effectively onto the internet. No-shows are the scourge of the industry and singlehandedly power the most divisive debate in the restaurant trade in years. But has anyone really thought about what to do about it?

Here. We are.