Ideas and Validation February 13, 2020

Creating a website builder for the restaurant industry... am I crazy!?

yumpress

I am planning to launch my website builder in the next couple months. I know that I want to focus on a niche, my plan is to focus on the restaurant industry. I know there are some obvious reasons this is not the easiest niche to focus on, such as; saturated market, busy decision makers, decision makers have sales offer fatigue, etc.

I am not proposing to create something revolutionary, I do believe my product has some unique features especially in regards to integrations with 3rd party products, but for the most part nothing Wix and Squarespace cant do. I am also not wanting to turn this into a billion dollar IPO, I am really just wanting to acquire about 100 customers to have a profitable micro saas side hustle.

If I need to pivot to a different industry, I need to do it now. Does anyone have some thoughts on why I should definitely pursue, or definitely not pursue targeting the restaurant industry with my website builder?

  1. 5

    I would go out and pitch to restaurants. If you get a client just build them a custom site or use Wix.

    That will help you understand the market a lot better.

    Also might want to look at https://restaurantengine.com/ was made and sold by @briancasel

  2. 3

    I originally posted a different comment but after rereading your post, this comment might be more useful.

    First of all, unless you have the same background or are going to run the business using the same marketing tactics, advice from others might not be very useful. The competitive landscape might also be significantly different. But I think restaurants also have a high turnover so restaurants are closing and new ones are opening all the time.

    You should determine how you will generate new sales and then figure out how to test your theory as soon as possible. If you don't plan on managing a sales team or doing sales yourself, pitching restaurants isn't going to be helpful unless pitching and doing sales is how you plan to grow the business every day. If you're not planning on running a sales driven organization, you probably need to try paid advertising and content marketing.

    It sounds like you already have some sort of software you've been working on. I think you should consider building a fully functional MVP using Wordpress Multisite because it'll only take you a day to build and then you can use that to start testing paid ads.

    Going this route, you'll at least get a realistic taste of the business and whether or not you even want to continue building out the site builder. If making a decision and earning money is critical for you, you should make decisions that yield faster results.

    I don't know if it will be useful but for example if you simply want to know how saturated the market is or what percentage of restaurants already have websites, you can pretend you work for the US Census Bureau or whatever the business equivalent is, go door to door telling restaurant owners you're taking a survey. Ask them the questions you want to know like do they have a website presence, do they use online paid advertising, why or why not, how many years have you been in business, etc etc. This would be a fast way to quickly get an idea of the market saturation. Which might not help much since it doesn't tell you how well your marketing tactics will work.

  3. 1

    Why did you choose restaurants in the first place, instead of say...plumbing? It helps if you have prior experience in the industry, understand their constraints and needs, have a pre-existing network to get initial sales ...

  4. 1

    I previously did a project involving food sourcing for local restaurants, and was surprised at how receptive/helpful they were to sharing ideas and trying new things.

    I'd recommend going to several with something tangible (MVP, etc.) to see what they say.

    I remember seeing this sort-of related restaurant-focused side project: joinhelm.com/view/project/5e44045a8494654b14f2aba7