Helping hungry souls find local bargains for their eating endeavors is the prime focus for Bend-based SocialEatia.com, a new restaurant website that came online earlier this year. Answering the question of “where do we go to eat?”
SocialEatia.com contains the specials, events and deals from participating restaurants in diners’ immediate geographic vicinity. The genesis of the company emerged at the crowded junction of food and social networking.
The website advertises restaurant specials and other special promotions through burgeoning social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and other food related landing spots. Founder and CEO Evan Julber said he plans on filling the company’s large office in the Old Mill District with plenty of new employees this year. A beefed-up local work force, Julber said, will give the company the ability to respond to customer service requests from users of SocialEatia sites in other cities.
In 2008, Julber jumped into the web arena and purchased the undeveloped domain name FractionalExchange.com with the idea of launching a home-swapping social network specializing in putting owners of vacation homes and other fractional properties together for the purpose of exchanging use for business and pleasure. After spending three months analyzing the market, writing a business plan and designing the software, Julber set forth on programming the website and launched it in July 2009.
The site allows users to make the most of their vacation property − whether it’s a fractional home, a fully-owned vacation home, condo or a residence club share. From a beach cottage, ski chalet or mountain cabin to a downtown urban condo, Julber’s company allows for smooth, efficient navigation to satisfy those property swapping needs.
“Managing a web start-up has been very challenging and rewarding,” said Julber. “Just about every skill I’ve ever learned has been applied to bringing the business to fruition, including the best skill ever – delegation and hiring people that know their areas of expertise well.”
SocialEatia is his newest venture and has seen remarkable traffic since its inception. Their 8,300 square-foot Bend office is perched atop the Helly Hansen store in the Old Mill. The spacious digs allow for a maximum amount of expansion for Julber and his small staff. Their goal is to focus primarily on Bend area restaurants but will soon deliver their proprietary software to markets throughout the country.
Lara Wettig is the company’s director of sales and marketing and believes it’s a great service that allows consumers to choose daily food specials they would never be aware of unless they actually went into the restaurant.
Its workings are simple. A restaurant manager submits a post on daily specials or upcoming events to SocialEatia, which delivers it twice a day to The Daily Dish, their daily email sent out to nearly 7000 Central Oregon foodies and to the restaurant’s Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as SocialEatia’s 2000-plus followers on Facebook.
Restaurants can also embed a coupon or event listing to a post and set a specific expiration date. Along with a monthly subscription to their site, restaurants can submit up to 90 messages to SocialEatia per month.
“That’s one heck of a bang for their advertising buck,” said Wettig. “It’s easy to sign up for the online newsletter through their site to see what’s cooking around town. Stay tuned to our website for an exciting new dining product that will revolutionize and ignite appetites for the hottest local restaurants.”
Julber’s company is one of many new startups that make up the expanding fabric of Central Oregon’s hi-tech sector. The extreme livability and educated workforce the region provides is luring more entrepreneurs and fertile business minds to the area as a place to locate their enterprise and also enjoy a high standard of healthy living. Statistics gleaned from the Oregon Employment Department reveal sustained growth in the high-tech field in recent months. Numbers for Central Oregon indicate several tech-heavy firms in Deschutes County moving toward expansion rather than contraction. Good news for local gearheads and technophiles.
Info: SocialEatia 541- 595-8350 or www.socialeatia.com.