An Interview with Mike Laskowski of the Date Seat App
By Matthew Robinson
While it is easy to get food delivered or to use apps that tell you what restaurants are around and what kinds of food they serve, it has been a challenge to pick a place with just the right vibe.
Fortunately, a pair of Boston-area entrepreneur foodie recently launched Date Seat, a new free app that helps you pick your place not only by location, price range, and food type, but also by occasion. Whether you want the perfect spot for a first date, proposal, big game, of just quiet coffee, Date Seat can help you find just what you need.
According to co-founder Mike Laskowski, Date Seat not only represents a new way to find places to eat, drink, and hang; it also shows how dedicated people can “crush” a dream in a good way and help solve a problem with simplicity and class.
MR: How do you define your venture?
ML: We are the newest app to find restaurants by atmosphere and ambiance. We focus on providing value and engagement for anyone who uses our dining app. We’re an outlet to quickly and effectively empower users to find a restaurant tailored to their needs, without hassle.
MR: What gave you the idea?
ML: We were getting sick and tired of siphoning through hundreds of restaurant reviews every time we wanted to go out to eat. It was so time-consuming. We then started to hunt around for apps that could help us find restaurants by atmosphere and ambiance. It turns out there weren’t many apps available…that could help drill down on what we were looking for. We wanted something simple that could tell us about a restaurant’s characteristics like lighting, interior décor, proximity to other tables, noise, attire, etc. We ended up collecting our own data and creating an app that could add value to peoples’ lives, including our own!
MR: Who is your customer base or demographic?
ML: We’ve found that our customer base is anyone who enjoys dining…. When we first launched, we targeted people ages 18-25…thinking we could point the app towards a more ‘mobile-engaged’ generation. What we quickly found is that people of all ages were engaged. Singles, married couples, people who are dating, foodies, literally everyone…. It was very surprising how positive the reaction has been. People from other cities are constantly asking us to expand to their areas, and that’s something we’re actively doing at the moment.
MR: How do you fit into the market?
ML: What we found is that people are very engaged with us joining the market. We aren’t competing with Yelp or Trip Advisor or any of those other companies that really push the food aspect of it. We’ve strictly focused on our own market of really pushing the restaurant itself, and that’s played a huge part in terms of differentiating us. People want to know the vibe of where they are going – especially for something such as a date or special occasion – and we’ve provided that information for them. Giving them the empowerment of customizing their experience creates value, and that’s what helps drive our app.
Restaurants like us because we market them, help them grow, and work together to build a business relationship. We don’t treat them like a business just to make money. We genuinely enjoy collaborating with them and that’s something they can see when we work with them one-on-one. We visit the restaurant, introduce ourselves, and aim to create a long-lasting relationship by being personal and helping them hit their goals.
MR: What do you most need to a be a success?
ML: Focus. The app is there and it’s already built. The hard part is over. Our success will be dependent upon our level of focus to execute on awareness and expansion. The amount of focus we’ve instilled thus far has proven to work. We just need to continue that focus by executing on key initiatives from our business plan and analyzing the trends that have given us success so far.