June 15, 2023

Is Technology Killing Hospitality? - Tomer Molovinsky | BCL #294

Tomer Molovinsky is the CEO and co-founder of Per Diem, a YC-backed company that is revolutionizing the restaurant industry with their white-label mobile app solutions. With a background in product design and development, Tomer has been working at the intersection of restaurants and technology for most of his career.

Before co-founding Per Diem, Tomer made significant contributions to some of the most successful products in the restaurant tech space, including OpenTable and Resy. His expertise in mobile apps, payments, and loyalty has positioned Per Diem as an emerging leader in restaurant tech.

With a passion for helping businesses deliver amazing customer experiences, Tomer is helping to push the envelope and drive innovation in the restaurant industry.

Tomer:Restaurants, at the end of the day, it's a hospitality service.

The most powerfultechnology in a restaurant is the technology you don't see.


Julian:Hey everyone. Thank you so much for joining the Behind Company Lines podcast.Today we have Tomer Molovinsky, CEO and co-founder of Per Diem, a YC-Backedcompany that is revolutionizing the restaurant industry with their white labelmobile app solutions. Tomer, I'm so excited to chat with you. Obviously notonly because of your incredible experience coming from Israel, your you were,you had some incredible kind of beginnings to your career, but also you workedwith two incredible companies with an OpenTable and Resy, and I think.

Maybe back thenthey weren't as synonymous as they are with, dining experiences, but I can'timagine not looking into OpenTable or Resy or anything else to go identifywhere I want to go for dinner. So it's crazy thinking about how they kind ofrevolutionize the, the experience going and dining with people and friends andthings like that, but also how a lot of companies are shifting and trying touplevel their technology base and solutions and things like that.

So, Really interestedand excited to get into what you're working on now. But before we get into,everything with Per Diem, describe  

what you were doingbefore, you started the company and what ultimately exci it, it inspired youto, move into Per Diem.  

Tomer:Awesome. Thanks for having me on the show, Julian.

Uh, Yeah, so likeyou mentioned before, Per Diem, I was a product manager at both OpenTable andResy. So I joined those companies both as they were going through prettyformidable years pre-acquisition for both companies. So it was fun being on theproduct team and being able to really build products that were, we didn't knowat the time that the companies were getting acquired, but we're really a partof like, the strategic growth of both those companies.

So, at OpenTable itwas, OpenTable was already a public company. Yeah. So it was really rebuildingour entire tech stack to put it on a modern os. Build it on an iPad and nolonger these like clunky old servers and what have you. And then with that, wewere really upping, OpenTable had already become the dominant player inreservation.

So one of theprojects that I worked on there was taking the next step. And really likeuberizing the experience and adding payments to the end of the reservation. Sothat was a really interesting project that I worked on, and then I was able totake all those kind of insights that I learned at OpenTable.

Yeah. Four or fiveyears really. And then as Resy was going through their, through their throughtheir boom, I was able to join and lead consumer product there and take a lotof the ideas we had at OpenTable and really being more, I would say like, Inthe driver's seat in terms of like a product role?

Yeah, I was kind ofable to drive decision making and make some more things happen and, and reallywas able to, along with a great team obviously, but build some amazing productsat Resy our loyalty product. Everything from wait list to like launching ourwebsite. So yeah, that gave me a lot of obviously like insight into therestaurant industry and the tech side of the restaurant industry.

Yeah. But thereality is beforehand I had, my brother's a restaurateur, so I'd spent most ofmy life either opening a restaurant for him or working for him at one of hisrestaurants. And that kind of gave me that insider's knowledge on the industry.Yeah. And so that gave me a, a somewhat unique perspective that you know, andso I, I've been able to.

Really like mesh,that real world kind of operational experience. Everything from opening torunning a restaurant Yeah. To then like taking that and like what, what's theproduct experience that should be wrapped around that? Yeah. And that led towhat we're doing today at Per Diem.  

Julian:Yeah. It's interesting thinking about, technology and especially withinrestaurants, and it seems like there's either disconnect from one or the othersides, like technology isn't built for the restaurateur and, and making itsuper, operationalized in, in internally.

Or it's, built fromthe inside and doesn't necessarily have the modern or cutting edge feel whenyou're, building both, at, at OpenTable products and working with restaurants.How did you kind of make that connection? Do you, do you obviously, pull backon your experience with your brother's restaurant and, and everything you'vedone there?

Why do you thinkessentially, technology isn't so widely adopted in, in restaurants?  

Tomer: Ithink one of the big reasons for that, in my opinion, is that, restaurants, atthe end of the day, it's a hospitality service. It's like mm-hmm. It'shospitality, it's you go, it's someone with a smile on their face, and thesecond you're like, head is either on a phone or in a computer screen, thenthat's like the anti definition of hospitality.

Right. So I'vealways had this, not really a mantra, but just like, wherewithal of the mostpowerful technology in a restaurant is the technology you don't see. Yeah. Sobooking that reservation or like some seamless payment on the back end. Just tomake everything more frictionless and what have you.

Yeah. But thereality is like, tech is good and restaurants can really, they can, obviouslythey've, they've more and more been enabling tech within the restaurants,especially since the pandemic. But like the extent to which that can really bein the background, I think it makes it a lot more powerful.

Cause ultimatelythe guest experience goes up without having a bunch of wires in the way, likeRight, right. If you can elevate, if you can know, if I can know what Julianlikes. And what you know if you're a vegetarian or if you have any allergyrestrictions before you walk in the door.

Obviously you'regonna have a better experience. But if I have to do that without a smile on myface and without being able to make you feel like you're wanted and greeted,then, then you kind of lose some of that magic. So I think that you alwaysgotta find that medium of like, what's too much tech, and you gotta balancethat with like how much hospitality you want to give.


I was thinkingback, on your experience with OpenTable going from, capturing the reservationto even completing the full cycle of the transaction. How do you stay? You likekeeping your consumer kind of engaged with the experience of the restaurant,but also keep that process that seemingly sophisticated.

So simple beinglike why we paid for X amount of individuals or meals transacting and done. Sothat doesn't say hinder the experience of being at the restaurant.  

Tomer:Well, I think OpenTable and Resy, and I think to an extent now Per Diem, one ofthe benefits that we have is, You really like when you're an OpenTable, you'rethere for one reason.

You want to go tothat restaurant. Yeah. So, and for years, OpenTable really tried to make thatas as easy as possible. For years, OpenTable didn't even wanna make you add acredit card to book your reservation, which led to a lot of ca last minutecancellations, which ultimately wasn't good.

So there's like awhole back and forth behind that. Yeah. Like how much friction do you enable?But ultimately, like the restaurant has to run a profitable. A table is worth alot of money and if, if you're making last minute cancellation, then that's nogood. Yeah. So, so I think, I think that's a big part of it in terms of justlike, You know how you think about those experiences.

Yeah, basically.Yeah.  

Julian:Yeah. Well, also thinking about,  

so you get peopleat the restaurant, you, you now, now you're trying to almost increase orenhance the experience. How do you do that? Is it through, the data you'recollecting, through the information that you're inputting once they're there,the restaurant, how do you enhance the experience?

Tomer:So really the experiences, I'd say the restaurant experience is usually alreadygood before the tech gets there. Mm-hmm. Like most of the best operators, theydidn't need the tech. The tech is kind of an enabler and that's like theirhyper-growth thing that really makes them, so I don't think the tech is evergonna be like, oh, we blew up because we adopted this thing.

That's like few andfar between, and like, I, I just, I don't, like, ultimately it's like it's yourconcept, mm-hmm. It's like how, how, how people, if you have loving fans, whicha lot of restaurants and cafes do. Yeah. If you have a following, and then ifyou have that following, then people are willing to, I mean, you'd be.

Yeah. The thingsthat we would see, especially at Resy, because Resy, we had some super highdemand restaurants. Yeah. And the hoops people would jump through to get abooking at that. You would be shocked. People are waking up at 3:00 AM we hadsome restaurants where we had, we had a, a feature called Notify, where in a givennight there'd be 50,000 notifies.

That's 50,000people in New York City waiting for one table to open up. The second that tailwould go out, it would be a push notification. It was like winning the lottoand trying to, trying to get it so, So I think like inevitably, Resy didn't,Resy didn't make the demand for that restaurant Resy put the pieces in place toenable that demand so that the restaurant could really leverage that.

But ultimately itwas the restaurant that did everything to create that demand.  

Julian:Yeah. Are

are restaurants or from what you've seen, andmaybe it's evolved today, are they more equipped to kind of taking on thatdemand? So now that they have. In X amount of increased customers, they'vealready had this proof of concept.

They're reallygetting their name out here. How do they actually deliver on that demand? Also,how do they, like a lot for a lot of tech companies, right? You hire becauseyou're scaling and things are consistent, so you can keep track of everything.It's metrics, metrics, metrics. But I'm sure with restaurants it's a little,little more volatile.

Tomer:Yeah, so I think restaurants today, especially with social media, are more ableto capture their demand than ever. Yeah. And it's not just social media. If youthink about every system that a restaurant runs today, whether it is an opentable or Resy, or whether it's Square or some other point of sale, any onlineordering system, You're collect, you're, you're collecting a giant emaildatabase of essentially users.

You, and at the endof the day, restaurants, like many tech companies, it's direct responsemarketing that works. Yeah. It's sending out an email with an offer, and that'swhat's gonna get someone to click on that email and to go through and booksomething. Yeah. So the more you build that up in your own database as arestaurant, and that was one of the key factors that we preached to restaurantsat Open Table.

Build up your owndatabase, build up your own database, and so the more restaurants can do thatand leverage their own brand. Now, especially during the pandemic, I thinkeverybody realized like sort of the dire straits of the situation of like,okay, nobody was really taking online, ordering that seriously income, thesedelivery apps that did a great job and built an amazing business and createdamazing logistics networks.

But they did kindof have a stranglehold on the market in the sense that like everybody went tothose places during the pandemic. So you were really so dependent on thosethird party apps as a restaurateur. And I think people are starting to realize,so first it was just online ordering and then obviously that all blew up.

You have Squareonline, you have DoorDash, storefront, you have a million different webproviders. Yeah, and what is wasn't there is really that at the end of the day,the ultimate loyalty machine in terms of of any type of tech product is an app.It's a mobile app, right? Like your most, our best customers at Resy used ourapp religiously.

Your best customersat any, anywhere you'll be, they'll have your app. They want to get notifiedfirst, whether no matter what you do. Yeah. And so really the unlock now for usis like, Now we've at Per Diem, we've created the technology where it's like,okay, all this online ordering that became available during the pandemic,people started taking advantage of that.

Yeah, well nowwe're taking that next thing that really only until now, like the big brands,the the Starbucks, the Sweet Greens, the Blank Street Coffee, all those guys,they've had to spend like literally millions of dollars building out their ownmobile apps. And now we're coming saying, Hey guys. You don't need to spendmillions of dollars.

Like we give youthat for 40 bucks a month. Yeah. And so, and so what, what we're able to do nowis leverage all those emails and all, we have customers that have hundreds ofthousands of followers on Instagram. Yeah. So if you can take all that and youcan power through your first party ordering, and now you take all thosedelivery apps that are doing amazing jobs marketing you, and you just treatthat as your acquisition costs and you say, Hey.

Bring all thattraffic in and then let me convert that traffic to my own channel. I've builtthis great website, now I have this great app, and that's where I think the,the economics of the restaurant industry that we've been seeing over the lastfew years. I think that's where they start balancing out.

Because like yourealize like, oh, delivery, I don't need to pay 30% for every delivery I do, Ipay 30% for the first couple. Then that person becomes my customer. Yeah. Andthen I'm, they're, they're doing delivery through the app, which costs mesignificantly less. It costs me a dollar a delivery. Yeah. As opposed to whoknows how many dollars you just paid for that.

So I think, I thinkthe technology that's coming to market is ultimately helping restaurateurs, ishelping everybody in hospitality to kinda level the playing field. Yeah. Andthen what that's gonna do is you're gonna have these behemoths of companies,the, the Uber Eats and the DoorDash of the world, and that's, That is like thebest marketing in the world for you.

Once you have likethe foundation to be able to convert that traffic, just like a tech company,right? Once they get Google AdWords and they get, they can convert that trafficonce that restaurant knows how to convert that into like a, just a passing bycustomer to a regular, that's where the magic mittens, that's where, that's whereyou see as a restaurateur exponential growth.

Yeah. That's whereyou can start, and that's why you see Starbucks and Sweet Green investing somuch in their app. Yeah. Because that's where, that's where the loyalty is.That's where the person who was ordering once or twice a week is now gonna beordering 2, 3, 4, 5 times a week. Yeah. And that's so, so that's kind of beenmy insight so far.

Mm-hmm. And, andhow I recommend kind of restaurants dealing with this whole new world.  


What, what wouldyou say, I mean, this seems like a huge educational kind of shift though,right? In, in, in terms of the restaurant tours mind because, Rather than kindof a builtin solution, they're having to kind of conceptualize taking in this,kind of, peripheral data, but then identifying, materializing it into almostlike a funnel and seeing how they can utilize it.

How much of whatyou're building now kind of does that for them and, and how you're able tocommunicate that value. Quickly and efficiently and, and almost simplisticallyfor a lot of the, restaurateurs who have been just focused and are experts atdelivering great, experiences to customers, not necessarily, enablingthemselves with best technology.

Tomer:Sure. And then, that's a good point. I think like, at the end of the daythough, it's not a lot like, Sure. The, the blueprint that's been put out there,again, it's been laid out by Starbucks and others. Yeah. So it's really justlike, just copy those guys. And at the end of the day, it means like,merchandising it on your website, merchandising it in your stores doing likedifferent fun incentives that are gonna get people to download your app.

These aren't thingsthat are like rocket science, but like, McDonald's has a wan sauce that peoplego crazy for, and they only make it available during in their app. So likeanybody can do that with their own products and make it if, if it's some kindof cookie that people go crazy for whatever it is.

And that can be anapp exclusive. So there's a whole playbook out there. What we've done is madeit easy for, restaurateurs and cafes just to come in, plug and play. At the endof the day, that playbook also comes down to, hey, every. DoorDash order. Youget every Uber Eats order, you get throw a flyer into that bag and put a littlepromo in there.

Say, Hey guys,download our app. First order you get, an extra 10 points or you get a couplebucks off. And before you know it, you know that. Well, it can be verysophisticated. Yeah. But at the end of the day, it could just be putting aflyer and, and that, that, like, low tech sometimes can lead to good results.



It's like a lot ofcompanies who, during even the pandemic times, if you order, you'd see a,DoorDash logo or decal and the window, and all of a sudden you, you, you'ddrive towards that. Like, oh, I can get this on that application, but I, I, Ilike where you're going with it. It's like, Let's take all that technology andenable these companies to run independently and see what kind of, ability thatthey can have scaling their business and not be so, whether it's gridlocked topricing, with, with delivery fees, but also competitive marketplace wherethere's just so many different, restaurants and, and businesses on there.

One thing I alwaysthink about is like, how does this change the localized impact of a business?So, say, I'm, I'm a restaurant or cafe. I don't need to think about deliveringto the person in the next neighborhood over. Right? It's like the people here,my community, I can keep and attract and maintain.

How does you knowwhat you're doing really change what they can do to the real localproximity.  

Tomer:Yeah, exactly. And most of our for what it's worth, most of our orders arepickup orders. So it's not like most people are putting, in delivery orders.So. And so exactly that. It's, it's, it's, Hey Hey, you're local.

What's easier everytime you come to my website, a you have to remember whatever my URL is, so it'slike, x whatever with your city name, dot com, dot co, whatever it is. I gottaremember that. If I'm on a, on a phone, I have to enter that into my browser.Right? Right. I then have to log in every time because like the web browserrefreshes and last time I ordered on my laptop and now I'm ordering on myphone, so I gotta log in every time.

Half the times youforget your password or that's a whole nightmare kind of thing. Yeah. And solike, it's really simple. It's like, hey, if you order from here every day,don't you just want to hit a button on your phone? You don't need to log in.Your favorites are just right there. The same thing you ordered yesterday isright there.

You tap once andboom, it's there and you pick it up like, and so at the end of the day, this isa local thing. It's a hundred percent local. The reason we're doing this, itwas actually the inspiration for Per Diem as it stands today, was during thepandemic living in New York City. And I have a mortgage here in New York City,so I wasn't able to leave like everyone else and.

I was sitting here,in downtown Brooklyn and literally there were restaurants that I was like, Idon't know if these restaurants are gonna be here next week. Wow. And, and Ithink everybody, this happened to them during the pandemic where they startlooking around their neighborhood and they're like, oh my God, I really likethat place.

I wanna support it.Yeah. And I remember there's a Korean place that opened. I was like, No matterwhat it takes, I'll order from you guys every day. And I did for like a couplemonths. And but, but I think that was kind of the, the thinking and then, andthen obviously like, and so like, oh my God, like on the one hand, all theserestaurants now, they're so dependent on these third parties.

Yeah. Everyoneknows that's not really the most profitable way to build a restaurant. So howdo we, as Per Diem, when we are in this, kind of YC stage and, and ear veryearly in the game, how do we help to solve this problem? How can we make firstparty ordering a thing mm-hmm. So that these, so that these restaurants candepend on certain things in time of need.

And, and that wasreally where the genesis came. We, we iterated through a few different productexperiences. So we started as a subscription service for, for local businessesworking with. Farmer's markets and bakeries. Yeah. Ultimately that was a littletoo outta left field for a lot of restaurateurs. It was like, all right,subscriptions, I get it, but like, what do you want when, and we were kindalike making up as we went along, but what we found out through that was therewas this deep connection.

The ones that didit, like their customers, like really cared about them and this, it createdthis loyalty. So we're, we were hungry to, to do that. And then we realizedover time, That, Hey, the way to deliver that isn't a mobile app, and it reallyis the medium. And then we looked around and it's like everything out therekind of looks like a bad website from the nineties.

Like every mobileapp solution that you've ever used that isn't that Starbucks or like SweetGreen, just looks antiquated and it feels antiquated. And my thinking is youcan't level up. Yeah, if your thing looks antiquated, like the whole benefit ofthe app is that it looks fresh and that it's slick and that it's easy and thatit, and that's what consumers expect these days.

Yeah. And so likewhat we're bringing to the table is like, Hey, you don't have to pay millionsnow to have that super slick app experience and, and what have you. And that's,I think kinda like the, for us, that's kind of what created this, thisinspiration. We're seeing the results now. I mean, like we're, yeah.

We launched threemonths ago. We've added over a hundred stores and, and we see that theircustomers love it. Like the stores that are doing really well are the stores,like I said, that within their four walls, they just crush it. They know howto, and it doesn't matter if you have 10 restaurants or one restaurant.

Yeah. If you knowhow to run a restaurant, you don't need to be Starbucks to have your own mobileapp, yeah. People will download it and they'll order from you very frequently.So that's kind of been the learning.  

Julian:It's, it's incredible to also think about the, the advancements in technologythat that's enabled this, right?

Like, I'm, I'm surethere's probably being a white label service or, or having white label servicesare so incredible in terms of how easily they are are to implement and thenscale on top of, and it's exciting to see, where all this technology will kindof enable these these producers of these restaurateurs who are delivering to their,their customers.

I'm curious, as afounder from, from your standpoint, your perspective, whether it's external orinternal, what do you view as some of the biggest risks as you start to scaleand grow this business?  

Tomer:Yeah, so we're lucky that, we've, we've started to see like, I think earlysigns of product market fit in terms of where we are.

And so for us rightnow, it's really all about execution. Like. You look at the market, it'sterrible, right? Like nobody's raising money now. It's like, whatever. Okay.You kind of put that aside, there's nothing you can really do about that. Like,I can't control interest rates. And then you look at the, and it's just, it'sbeen kind of that blase environment, but the reality is this is a really goodtime to be in startup world because at the end of the day, it's not money thatcreates this ideas.

It's actually thelack of money. That creates a lot of like the breakthrough ideas. And so forme, the, in the, the ability to execute especially now and even as we grow andscale and inevitably raise more money, not losing that focus because you canreally lose that focus. We started Y Combinator and Airbnb, they were the firstkinda like, Talk that that was given to us.

Yeah. And thoseguys raised $450,000 as their like seed. And that was like, and that's amazing.And you think about this like earth shattering company that's worth 50 whateverbillion dollars today. And they raised nothing. And that, and I think that thatlack of raising too much money also, forced their feet to the fire to make surethat they were building this amazing.

And then when theydid raise money, well that, that money went to good use. Cuz you already hadproduct market fit and you can, yeah, you can scale the business, yeah. And soI think for, for, for us, We've been for the first few years, like we didn'thit product market fit. So it's like we've built a great team and we we're,we're cycling through different product ideas and executions and what have you.

And finally aswe're getting there, it's like, okay, let's, we can execute. Now we've, we'vefigured out how to build product and ship it, but now how do we maintain thatlevel of execution as we do start growing? And as and, and to me that's thebiggest risk moving forward. It's, it's, as you grow, how do you maintain thatfocus?

So that, you don'tget caught up doing stupid things.  

Julian:Yeah. No.  

If everything goeswell, what do you view as the company's long-term vision?  

Tomer:So I think we have a very, like, I already, I already, I, I think within fiveyears we could be the biggest app developer in the world. Like my goal is tohave literally a million apps in the app store.

Yeah. And so ourgoal, they're a little bit more modest in the, in the, in the coming year. Butwe plan to be in a thousand stores by the end of the year. So that would belike a good fee one. And then to scale that. So like I said, square has 2million merchants on it. Like, I don't know that everybody's gonna have amobile app, but I wanna make sure that a lot of them do.

Yeah. And thenobviously, and then we're also able to bring, new different types of appexperiences. So today we're talking about restaurants and what have you. Butyou know, today we're integrated with Square. Square has a ton of, whether it'ssalons and, and barber shops. And then you go to other, like, just more likee-commerce, vintage stores and, and all kinds of like, And so I think there isan ability for us to go, a little bit more wide in terms of the types of appswe're building, I think especially along those e-commerce and shipping.

And then there islike an enterprise app that I think will have, we started playing with it now.Yeah. It's probably it's probably about a year away, but I think that could bereally interesting and, and really open up some different types of experiencesthat I don't think people have really expected from like a mobile app, I wouldsay.

Yeah. Yeah. Allaround the context of like ordering and stuff like that. But I think it's like,I think up till now ordering has been somewhat, not vanilla, it doesn't need tobe too exciting, but I think there are other use cases that we've thought ofthat that we're gonna start going towards. But I think the goal at the end ofthe day would be, we, we want to be the biggest app developer.

We wanna haveliterally like a million apps. I think there are 3 million apps in the storetoday. Yeah. So I think like in, maybe in five years there'll be 10 million. SoI think having like a, a, a solid chunk of that, that would be what I wouldcall a success.

Julian: Ilove that. I love that.  

And I also love thestrategy of, of taking, not taking, I would say is, is helping or enlistingsquare customers to kind of going towards kind of a more mobile centricexperience.

Is that somethingby design? Is that something you stumbled upon? Because that's pretty excitingand from a, from a funneling standpoint? From, from a A developmentalstandpoint as well, right. Is is taking those preexisting, almost people whoknow technology and upleveling them to modern technology.

Tomer:Yeah. And I think, I think exactly I would say what we noticed early on in thefirst product is that all our customers use Square. Yeah. So when we, so, andone of the learnings of the first product is nobody wanted a separate system.Yeah, so we had, we had built like a Shopify system on top, with like whatever,building every feature possible.

And what werealized is like nobody wanted our Shopify, they had their Shopify and it whereit was working perfectly. So really at a certain point today, the game is yougotta pick someone to integrate with and yeah, and all our customers alreadywere using Square, so they, and the Square has an open API and they've actuallyinvested a lot in it.

Unlike other pointof sale companies, so, square does have this kind of a giant headstart on this.Yeah. And they already have all kind of the cool coffee shop concepts and, anda lot of the quick serve cool concepts. So that kind of, you think who would dowell with an app? It's, it's the square type of venues that would probably dowell, that have that loyalty.

And so they werejust a natural kind of first fit. And then as we started really jumping into itwe, we realized that like Square has this amazing online ordering platform, butthere isn't a mobile platform to go with it. They have a great mobile webinterface and all that. So really what we started doing was just one to onebuilding against that.

Like our customersall use that for online ordering already. So we're just building that in themobile app interface and throwing some of our own ideas in there, like here andthere like, But but that's essentially it, it's like, yeah, hey, there'sanother channel. You're not taking advantage of it.

We're gonna helpyou take advantage of this channel.  

Julian:Yeah. So exciting. And I,  

I like this nextquestion or this section I call my founder faq. So I'm gonna hit you with somerapid fire questions and and we'll see what we get. I always like to open it upwith what's particularly hard about your job day to day.

Tomer:Well, maybe waking up early. I don't know. My team's in Israel, so, no, but yougenerally you no, I think, I think that has been hard is we've, we were bornoutta the pandemic and I think and our, our company is like a hundred percentremote. I don't know that we're gonna be, eventually, maybe we'll have a salesoffice here, like in New York or something like that, but like, The reality iswe're a hundred percent remote, and I think that one of the toughest parts islike, how do you, how do you keep everyone on track and, and make sureeveryone's, when, when literally, like a lot of our employees I've been workingwith for years that I've never met one-on-one.

Like Yeah. So, So Ithink that's one of the bigger challenges in today's world and how do you keep,but, but I think for what it's worth, we've done a good job. Like we've prettymuch retained all our employees. We're still small, but I think I think we'vedone a good job, but that is like the day to day as we onboard new people andbring new people into the company, how do we kind of maintain that Yeah.

Culture and, and sothat's gonna be something that definitely I have to have my finger on thepulse.  

Julian:Yeah. And  

thinking abouthiring and even just managing people, having a, an interesting view from aproduct standpoint, a product manager standpoint is, is how do you, what arethe things you do to keep your team engaged, not only on the priorities of thebusiness, but just, having a remote working culture, being so distant from eachother, obviously comes with some, I don't wanna say it's psychological effects,emotional effects, but it's, it's a different experience when you're, whenyou're, scaling a company, what have you put in place to help mitigate some ofthe. The distance that companies can have with remote employees.  

Tomer: Ithink it's, it's just in our nature, both myself and my co-founder Durran we'revery like, transparent. I think. Like, yeah, just like, it's not like we havesome like company culture that we're like, be transparent. And it's not reallythat, it's like we're just that way.

Like if something'son our mind, good or bad, we're probably gonna talk about it in some context oranother. So, I join our standups every day. I give everybody verbatim feedbackfrom what I'm getting. Sometimes you gotta kinda like, gotcha. Whittle downyour feedback. So it's not, but I give people that feedback so they know, theyhave as close of an opportunity as possible to understand like what the painthat that restaurateur is feeling right now.

And the same forlike our sales team. I'm, in there, trying to educate them as much. Both on theproduct and on the customer pain points so that we can empathize for people aswe're, trying to sell them. Yeah. Stuff. Yeah. Yeah. And how, I think that's apart of it.

Just like beingopen. Like we don't, like also like what we're expecting. Hey, if you didn'tdeliver this in this time and like, I think you gotta be kinda like, like inthis world, if you let things slide, and especially with remote. Like thingsare gonna slide and it, it'll be forgotten.

So I think you kindof have to address things. There's no reason to like be an a-hole about it, butlike Yeah. You do have to hold people to their word as well. And, and that's abig part of it.  

Julian:Yeah. What,  

what do you think,what do you feel is something that you're better at as a founder now that youwish you were better at earlier on?

Tomer:Probably, I think, I think some of it does have to similar I would sayattributes of a PM in the sense that like, that once, like, once you say like,go on something, like you kind of got to. You kind of gotta shut up, like once,once you've given the green light and whatever, like you can't one week in belike, Hey guys, but we gotta do this too.

And I know, like,and so I think that's a real challenge because especially you're trying to selland you're trying to grow the business, and then you have this hot prospect andthen all in, so you're trying to cipher all that information. And so I thinkthe best advice sometimes is just to shut up and not, but like, yeah, just keepit in once you're gonna have like those sessions where you plan and you do allyour, like whatever, and, and you can course correct along the way.

That's what youhave standups for and stuff like that. But like, once you set a pretty. Likedirect direction. You just gotta let that thing kind of go. Yeah. And play itout a little bit. And then later you can figure out how to like, either pick upthe pieces or, or continue and, and continue along the way.

But, but that'shard sometimes just because like, again, you're, you're just out there, you'retrying to grow the company and it's like you hear one thing from one person,one thing from another, and. It's great to get that customer feedback, but it'salso, you gotta put up your own radars and to see like what's really important.

So yeah.  

Julian:Yeah. That's,  

that's well put.Thinking about, the company and, and even just, kind of overall experience withrestaurants as, as, as we see it kind of changed and evolve. Obviously Covid Dkind of increased, necessary boom and deliverable experiences, even from adistance, whether it's picking up or.

Or, or gettingdelivered. But how has it changed in terms of, obviously you're pushing someinitiatives in terms of kind of creating a more intimate experience, butoverall, is it gonna be all mobile centric? How do you kind of create thisauthentic experience when, the mechanism of mobile kind of creates this tensionor, or distance kind of, already.

Tomer:Yeah. And I, I think that's something that's gonna be like the challenge of ourtimes in terms of restaurants, how do, how does like a hospitality business,yeah. Adopt tech the way it is starting to adopt tech, yet still maintain. Anessence of hospitality. Yeah. Because at the end of the day, and I think DannyMeyer kind of lays this out, the best people don't come back because you're, you're,you got the best burger in town.

People come backbecause they love your people. They love the. The experience, like, yeah, theburger will bring a few people back, but like, it's that type of experiencethat really is the sticky part, right? Yeah. And so, and so how does techenable that? And, and that's gonna be a challenge. And I think like to theextent possible, tech does have to be in the background.

Obviously whenyou're ordering from an app, like, yeah, let the app do its thing, let it playits role. But great. And this goes back to local. If you can now skip the lineand because you've ordered ahead and minimize that, that actually helps the,the person at the counter, because that's one less person they have to talk to.

And it's like theydon't necessarily want to talk. And, that can be very like, exhausting talkingto like, yeah. 20 different people in a row and, and getting that right. Yeah.So it's like, for them it's a lot easier and a lot smoother and, and what haveyou. So like you think of these things, not because they're just like cool, butthey, they actually solve problems.

Yeah. And, and Ithink it's similar to the AI conversation we're having today, but like the morethings are automated, it makes individual contributors that much more able tocontribute. So I think especially as with the labor shortages we've been havingin restaurants like that, I think you're gonna see more and more technologythat really empowers employees to do more.

Yeah. Because let'sface it, a lot of times like restaurants had employees employed that. Didn't doa lot like a host, for the most part. They're busy like one hour, and then therest of the time they're like wiping down menus, and no one's really wipingdown a menu either. It's kind of like a fake wipe down too.

So it's like at theend of the day, restaurants had employed certain people over, like, becausethey get a crunch at like two hours of the day. So it's like, I think now withthis different tech, you're gonna be able to, make some of those things thatyou did. You're gonna have to change.

I mean, obviouslybecause. Because things are changing. But so I'm not as pessimistic on it. Ithink, like, I think again, like everything, restaurants are gonna have to findthat, right? Like what's too much automation and what's too less hospitality?And then they, they just have to find what that perfect medium is for them.

And that's gonna bedifferent for every concept.  

Julian:Yeah, yeah. No, it makes sense. I even think about the mobile experience beinga, a good kind of easy entry into a new restaurant or a new. Cafe, being like,oh, I'll order there and maybe check it out. And, and kind of, it's, it's kindof this pull into this experience, which is so, is so exciting to think about.

The little thingsthat I think of have just been missing, which is like the casual, experiencethat a lot of restaurants, I think even people just enjoy it, right? Walkingthe streets, maybe find something. But now it's like you can almostpreemptively do that through this mobile experience, which is so cool.

Tomer:Go ahead. Yeah. And I, and moreover, I, I want to emphasize too, it's, it'sthe, the work that like DoorDash and, and, and Uber eats, like that wholecapability now for a restaurant, it, especially if you don't have to pay the30%, if you can Yeah. Because like today you can, you can kind of cut that out,like it's kind of, and, and you can just enable the delivery component.

Yeah. And so like,That's something you, that's something that when I opened a restaurant in 2008that didn't exist. Like, like in order to do delivery, you had to hire your ownpeople. You had to like, and it's like, what hours are they? Like it didn't really,and then like that person doesn't show up.

So those deliveriesdon't, like this type of network is brand new and it's really something that Ithink restaurateurs will be able to leverage. Yeah. And I think the, the newscoming out of the door dashes of the world will be a lot more positive in yearsto come because like, At the end of the day, it is enabling like independentowners to like do stuff that they weren't able to do before.

So, yeah.  

Julian:Yeah. Tomer, it's been such an exciting conversation. I always like to ask thisone before we end.  

What's, a book or apiece of advice, something that's stuck to you or lasted with you had lastingimpact, whether it's earning your career now something that you wanna sharewith other founders, books or people, what, what would you like to share?

Tomer:Yeah. So. There, there is a book, I think it's called The Art of Design, or itmight be something else, but it's but it's basically the, the basis of designand, and yeah. Shoot, I'm, I'm forgetting the word the, the title now and I,I'm feeling, but but it's an amazing book and one of the fundamentals there islike, whenever you've had like that, that doorknob Yeah.

Or something thatjust feels off, like you pull instead of push and whatever. And like what thatbook shows is like, that's not those things, when they happen, it makes youfeel like it's your fault. Like the user like, oh, I'm stupid. Of course it'spushed not, but like the reality is is like that's bad design.

Yeah. And I thinkthat that has kind of guided me in a lot of ways since I read that. And then Iwas able to work with some great designers throughout my career. And I thinkthat's been like one of the bigger inspirations for me professionally is just,it's not about. Being like pixel perfect because that's kind of bs.

It's really justabout like making sure that that fundamental flow works and is crisp and islike boom. And that's good design and I think like that's important obviouslytoday more than ever for every product and every startup. And so, And I'msorry, I blanked on the, but it's something of design.

Yeah. Is it,  

Julian:There's a few of 'em out there. It's like a design of everyday things.  

Tomer: Adesign of everyday things. Sorry. Sorry.

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. It's, so, it's, it's interesting you you bring that up because I'mhaving a conversation with somebody else when we were going through almost likea product demo and how.

We were going to afew of 'em and, and one experience was so shameless and the other wasn't, andI'm coming to think about, it's like, how do you do that from a designstandpoint or a product standpoint? Do you do that by, eating your own dog foodby testing it out, talking to your customers, doing something, doing a littlebit of everything.

How do you gothrough that process to know where the friction is and how to make it, moreeasily accessible when you're the one building the technology and you're like,oh, obviously this makes sense.  

Tomer:Well, thankfully, we're not the first ones to have to do it, so we can get lotsof ideas from others and then and so I think that's what we've, we've liberallytaken from other ideas as long as they're good.

And then as long asyou talk to your customers and like at the end of the day, you also gotta buildsomething that makes sense and is meaningful to them. So if, yeah, if you'rebuilding product without customer input, like you're more than likely not goingto build the right thing. So. So I think that ultimately it leads to just knowingwhat the pain point is and that that helps in that sense.

Julian:So, yeah. Yeah. Last little bit. Tomer is always like to give my guests achance to give us your plugs. Where can we be a fan of yours? Give us yourLinkedIns, your Twitters, where can we as, as members of the BCL community andreach out and not only be a fan, but support what you're doing and, and evenstart a conversation.

Tomer:Yeah, I would love so yeah, I mean, Please come follow our our LinkedIn page.We're on Instagram, not super active, but definitely posting a lot of ourcontent and thoughts on LinkedIn. And so yeah, you can check us out there or atour website, tryperdiem.com. Yeah, and if there's that great coffee shop orrestaurant in your neighborhood and you're like, you already order from thereevery day, then please hook us up with a referral they deserve.

A better app.Absolutely. If they don't have one already, and we'd be happy to deliver thatone for them. So, so yeah.  

Julian:Amazing. Tomer, it's been such a pleasure not only chatting about your earlyexperience at OpenTable and Resyn and what that really kind of fundamentallytaught you and your career, but also how you're taking that and those learningsand really helping impact these restaurateurs who have a localized audience,who have a lot of brand loyalty, but really need to uplevel and really scalethat and, and giving them the technology to do that.

It's been soexciting to hear your story. Big fan of what you're doing, and I hope youenjoyed yourself today on Behind Company Lines.

Tomer:Amazing. Thank you, Julian.  

Julian:Of course.

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