A new app designed to help drive more traffic to restaurants on slow nights is the brainchild of an avowed foodie who is not much more than a child himself.
Sixteen-year old Daniel Singer came up the idea for Cake.af because he “kind of wanted to do something funny” as a diversion from his day job. That job is as founder of multiple tech startups including Bond, YouTell and BackChat. He brainstormed the idea, thought up a trendy name — Kale was among the front runners — purchased a URL and launched the business in barely a week’s time. And hundreds signed up.
“I love food, discovering new restaurants and sharing them with friends,” Singer told Modern Restaurant Management Magazine. “It’s a great way for restaurants to have customers on off nights when they aren’t normally at capacity and for people to discover new, local restaurants. It’s a win-win.”
And Cake.af does drive people to restaurants—a free Uber ride delivers guests to the doorsteps of participating restaurants. (They’re on their own for the ride home.) Now available in select cities including New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, Singer sees possible expansion to Austin, Boston, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles’ South Bay and Chicago.
Customers sign up for the free service by sending the “cake” emoji to Cake.af. Once registered, Cake.af determines restaurants that have open tables and sends an invite to the customer detailing the type of establishment and the time of the reservation. The customer then accepts or declines the invite. If they accept, an Uber car will be sent to provide a free ride to the restaurant.
“I was interested in the idea of moving people and I know people like to be treated like V.I.P.s so we take care of everything for them,” said Singer.
Currently the fee for participating restaurants is $3 per person and the Cake.af team targets restaurants where the bill would be in the $20 to $35 range for each guest to make the margins work, according to Singer. Restaurants interested in participating can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We’ll see if restaurants will want to pay for the service on a consistent basis,” added Singer. “But is different than an ad being they only pay because someone actually showed up.”