Ben Reid and his wife, Jennifer, didn't intend to register for their wedding. "We'd been living together for a year, we were a little older and we were happy with our towels and toasters," Ben explains. "It seemed wasteful to ask for gifts."
But family pressure prevailed, sending Jennifer to a department store to build a wish list. After an hour, she canned it. "She called me on the way home and said that we were making a restaurant registry instead, which is a great idea," says Ben. "We were paying for our wedding, so we were going to be broke, and since restaurants are our hobby, it made sense to ask for experiences as a gift."
Three years later, that moment of desperation and the subsequent spreadsheet sent out to friends has become a website service for newlyweds-to-be called Foodie Registry. And it launched today in Denver.
"We weren't thinking about building a business," Ben says of the site, which was introduced in Chicago and spread to New York and San Francisco before coming to Denver. "But after we did this, our friends started doing it, too, so we decided to go for it."
The service allows couples to register for nights out at restaurants, dining experiences and food-related charities, entering a desired maximum amount for each item on the list. Friends then buy any amount they want (so long as it's over $25), and Foodie Registry sends the bride and groom a gift certificate.
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The Denver version launched with fifteen spots, including Cuba Cuba, Second Home and The Village Cork; it also lists a donation option for Food Bank of the Rockies.
But Ben says the service will expand once it gains some traction in the market: "We started a couple of years ago in Chicago, and now we're up to 75 restaurants there. We expect to get to that number in Denver, too," which will happen, he anticipates, after couples use the site and after he can convince Groupon-wary restaurant owners to sign up.
He predicts it will catch on quickly: "It's nice to be able to give newlyweds some time together instead of some plate that will just collect dust."