Today, we are going to interview Maggie Nemser. She is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of BlackboardEats. I’ve been intrigued with the BlackboardEats site. As a result, we have an interview with Maggie. She has developed a great program and certainly is familiar with marketing on the Internet.
Maralyn: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Maggie: I started as a producer at MTV and weaved my way into Yahoo! Food where I was the editor for 3 years before leaving to start BlackboardEats. This was definitely the right move for me, especially since I am more passionate about restaurants than I am about sleep.
Maralyn: How did you conceive Black Board Eats?
Maggie: One day, I was dining with a friend who produced a coupon for 40% off and I was mesmerized by her moxie. It dawned on me that so many people wouldn’t have that hutzpah to use a coupon at a fancy restaurant; I knew there needed to be a more discrete and club-like way of living large on a budget. At this same time, I realized that there was no one-stop shop of food editor-approved restaurants with great specials. I left my job to create it.
Maralyn: Tell us about the benefits and how it works?
Maggie: You sign up for the BBE newsletter, delivered twice weekly in 3 cities (NY, SF, and LA) and “Everywhere” (our product driven and order-by-mail issue). You then have 24 hours to get a unique passcode and one and sometimes two months to use it at the restaurant. When you visit the restaurant, you SAY (no coupon required) the passcode and get 30% off of your bill.
Maralyn: How do you find out about all the recommendations?
Maggie:We handpick all spots that we feature and each one is vetted by our food editors and writers. Our pedigreed editorial team includes writers who have contributed to publications such as Food + Wine, Bon Appétit, San Francisco Chronicle, Travel + Leisure, Saveur, and DailyCandy.
Maralyn: Do you use freelance writers, so you can cover a broader area?
Maggie: Yes, we use freelance writers.
Maralyn: If you do use freelance journalists, how do they apply and how much do they earn per review?
Maralyn: How many cities do you cover?
Maggie: We cover 3 cities, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, and one Everywhere edition, but we are expanding in the next few months.
Maralyn: Is this currently just in the U.S. or do you plan to expand globally?
Maggie: We plan on expanding globally.
Maralyn: Please tell us a little more about “Partner Plate,” “Off the Menu,” “Extra Special,” and “Best of Blackboard Eats.”
Maggie: “Partner Plate” is our name for sponsored specials, paid for by the restaurant. “Off the Menu” is the title for our emails sponsored and paid for by our advertisers – these are not restaurants specials. “Best of Blackboard” are our specials that were very successful and are running again.
Maralyn: Please provide your website, editorial e-mail (if you accept freelance food writers), Facebook page, and any other pertinent information.
•BlackboardEats homepage: http://blackboardeats.com/
•Becoming a fan on our Facebook page has its perks! We often give away exclusive (free) dinners for two, etc.
International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association
Books By Hills Success With Writing Where & What in the World
Member: Society of Professional Journalists
Finalist in the Writing and Publishing category of the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, “$uccess, Your Path to a Successful Book,”