A banner year at Urbanspoon as foodies conduct millions of mobile restaurant searches

We’ve seen a number of high-profile online services get shuffled into the dust-bin of history in recent weeks after their corporate parents decided to pull the plug. (Namely Picnik, TeachStreet and Summify).

But here’s a counter example. Urbanspoon, the Seattle-based online restaurant directory which was gobbled up by IAC in 2009, is alive and well. In fact, the company said that traffic grew by 80 percent last year.

“Looking back at 2011, we’re very happy to see how many people we’ve helped to find their perfect dining experience,” Urbanspoon’s Conrad Saam writes in a blog post. The company is now serving up a whopping 29 million visits per month, with Saam adding that repeat traffic grew by 15 percent last year and mobile visits more than doubled. Unique monthly visitors stands at 19.5 million.

Now, that’s a lot of restaurant searches.

In fact, Saam tells GeekWire that the mobile growth was one of the big reasons why Urbanspoon performed so well.

“Urbanspoon was well positioned in the mobile space prior to the massive consumer move towards smartphones,” said Saam.  “So when people ask their friends: ‘What apps should I get on my iPhone?’ Urbanspoon naturally pops up.” (You may recall the company appearing on some of the early iPhone ads).

But Urbanspoon also has diversified its business in recent years, encroaching on the long-held turf of OpenTable in online reservations. In that arena, the company said that it helped more than half a million diners secure reservations at more than 1,200 restaurants.

Urbanspoon is now at more than 40 employees, and it is still in the process of looking to hire a new CEO following the departure of general manager Mani Dhillon.

  • Kevin Foreman

    Congratulations.

  • http://www.destination360.com Destination360 Travel Guides

    I used to like when the original owners were there. The last few times I’ve used its produced disappointing results. Maybe I’m not the market any longer but now use foodspotting more.