In 1999, Cary Chessick helped raise money to launch Restaurant.com. The original business plan was designed around Sysco Corp. and promoting its restaurants online. A subscription-based model was introduced that included restaurants paying an annual fee in exchange for a priority listing and Web site in the Restaurant.com directory. Six months after the launch, management was forced to revamp the model, as restaurants were not willing to pay for the sites. To stop the company from free-falling into bankruptcy, Chessick left his legal career behind.
With six months of cash reserves available, he successfully cut expenses to prolong the life of the company. At the time, he was involved in nearly every aspect of the business, crafting and testing business models, raising additional funding, writing new business plans, conducting legal work and overhauling a customer service center all of which set the tone and a steady course toward significant long-term growth.
He advocates teamwork and invests heavily in technology, personnel, training, data analysis, partner relationships, restaurant acquisitions and retention. For customers, he strives to offer a positive online experience unlike any other on the Web.
Between 2005 and 2007, company revenue grew by more than 177 percent with significant profit. He says that progress was from tremendous persistence, hard work, ingenuity and teamwork. He continues to see no end in sight to the company’s growth potential.
HOW TO REACH: Restaurant.com, www.restaurant.com