Have you ever struggled to plan a party/dinner bigger than 10 people? What restaurant will fit a group this size? How many event request forms do I have to complete before I talk to a human? The struggle is real when planning events in NYC but fortunately for us Peyton Ladt created a platform called Bashed that will change your life and the ease in which you book an event. So go crazy and invite that 11th person to dinner because now booking a reservation for larger groups will be easy in NYC.
1. After 3 1/2 years working at Jetsetter what inspired you to develop Bashed? Can you tell us a bit more about what Bashed is?
I have always been the unofficial planner in my social group and, after living in New York for several years, finding that underground secret bar with the jalapeño cocktail, or the veggie burger that tastes like the real thing (almost), became a hobby of mine. In parallel, I was running business development at Jetsetter, and constantly searching for places to entertain my clients or meet colleagues for after-work drinks. After planning several group events over the course of a busy month, it finally hit me: the current group booking process was broken and unnecessary. From researching endless restaurants and bars, to the emails back and forth with several venues at a time discussing menus and pricing, to the complicated contracts — it was a drain on both time and resources. I realized this was a problem I needed to solve. I had always known that I wanted to start my own company, so when the idea came to me and it seemed like something that was needed and that I could execute, I was beyond excited to get started.
2. You’ve been working on this company for the past year, what has been the biggest challenge in working with developers to launch? Have delays altered your business plan at all?
We decided to hire an outside development firm to build Bashed, and we have had a great experience with them so far. When we were conceptualizing the site, we interviewed a lot of different firms and candidates who could have built it in-house, in the end, we chose a firm that we had previous experience working with and that was the right price based on our priorities over the next year. So far we have not experienced any delays.
3. What has been your biggest accomplishment so far?
Coming into the restaurant industry as a novice was more of a learning curve than I expected. I was used to working with bigger brands and companies that for the most part, had a similar verbiage. The restaurant industry is all about building relationships with people and servicing the customer with hospitality –all things you can know on paper, but experiencing them and honing in on the best way to speak to our customers and restaurant partners was a different skill set. A year and a half later, I am proud to be working with over 70 venues, some of which are among the most well-renowned restaurants in New York City including: 21 Club, Craft, American Cut, Striphouse, and Vaucluse.
4. Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs following in your footsteps?
I recently read an interesting article in Harvard Business Review about invalidating vs validating an MVP (minimum viable product). Most entrepreneurs set out to validate their MVP and if it’s not the final product you plan for the final version to be, any success will validate your idea. Alternatively, if you test experiments to invalidate your product, you are likely to have a quicker and clearer vision of whether or not you are set up for success.
5. As a New Yorker what are you go to venues for large parties?
It depends on the context of the party! Here are my favorites based on the type of occasion:
Baby/Bridal Shower: Maman
Cocktails with Friends: Sel Rrose
When I want to see my friends who watch sports: The Ainsworth
Meet Me in Meatpacking: Scarpetta
Entertaining the ‘Rents: Vaucluse
Private Rooftop Party: Terrace Suite at Hotel on Rivington
6. Do you have any tips on achieving balance while operating a startup?
There are a lot of unexpected elements and unknowns in the startup world, so keeping a fairly regimented structure of my day that allows for a healthy amount of sleep and some exercise in addition to the work day is key for me to maintain the highs, lows, and curve balls that come my way.