Savored, the foodie deal site that offers insider pricing at high-end restaurants (formerly known as VillageVines), just announced the hiring of a chief revenue officer. Mike DeLuca, a former sales executive for AOL Local, will take over revenue, sales and expansion at the 40-person startup.
Mr. DeLuca, whom AOL poached from ad startup Yodle, is pretty stoked about
escaping the clutches of the dying AOL dinosaur joining Savored: he’s already taken the step of updating his LinkedIn. “I am responsible for revenue at rapidly growing, NY based startup, Savored.com,” it reads. “Venture backed by Hearst, High Peaks and my boy, Mike Lazerow of Buddy Media. I am tasked with growing and managing all things revenue, including sales, strategy, acct mgmt, ops and BD.”
He goes on, “Savored is not a deal site but it is an intelligent and more sustainable iteration of the craze.”
Mr. DeLuca has a monetization puzzle in front of him, complex but not unsolvable. Savored is like a Priceline for empty restaurant tables. Restaurants want a full house; diners want a 30 percent discount discreetly applied at the end of the meal. The site says Savored offers access to 635 restaurants, which conflicts with the “over 1,000” cited in a press release, so we’re not sure whether to believe the claim that its partner restaurants are doing $25 million in annual sales thanks to Savored customers. But in the past year Savored started distributing its offers through OpenTable and Zagat, increasing its reach, and supplemented its reservation business with Savored Signatures, a curated foodie activities marketplace that offers culinary and mixology classes to tasting menus. Savored Signatures debuted in New York in October and will roll out in the Savored’s other nine markets later this year. Whether Mr. DeLuca can turn a promising pivot into a tasty profit remains to be seen.