A CONVERSATION WITH
MICHAEL JACOBER, FOUNDER AND CEO, BLANKET
1. Tell us a bit about Blanket and what problem it’s solving for in the marketplace.
Blanket is a photo-based operations management tool that everyone from restaurant owners to retail operators can use to task, measure, and reward hourly employees. Our software allows companies to create clear and consistent visual standards of work, and make sure those standards are being met every day through the use of photographs on a phone. As companies continue to use the product, Blanket is able to provide performance data that gives both management and employees insights on where they stack up among their peers within their store, organization, and even industry. Some of our clients include Tom Colicchio’s Crafted Hospitality restaurants and Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Each multi-unit company that we piloted with has rolled out our software to all stores in their portfolio. We are currently operating in over 50 restaurants with plans for expansive growth in 2020.
2. Before you started Blanket, you were a successful restaurateur. Can you share how you ended up going this route?
This is a question I ask myself everyday: “How did I get here?” I had a pretty good thing going as restaurateur with 3 operations under my belt. I honestly enjoyed the seven day a week hustle, but when my wife got pregnant with our second child, I knew I couldn’t continue to work quite the same way. I couldn’t stomach hiring more layered management because I knew it would ultimately mean more work. I started looking into software to help alleviate my daily four wall oversight, but none of it seemed to be built for me, so I decided to build my own.
3. Besides the food service industry, any other industry applications you see for Blanket?
Blanket really makes sense for any industry with hourly employees that requires daily routine tasks or maintenance. We are piloting in grocery stores, landscaping companies, hood cleaning, health care companies, and retail.
4. What’s one thing you’ve learned about running a company that you would share with other founders?
Stay nimble: Limit spending and keep overhead to a minimum as you are building towards proof of revenue. Any superfluous dollars means less ownership down the road. Be open to pivoting: It’s very rare in any startup that your original idea will find product market fit without a whole bunch of tweaking. Try to enjoy the process of fulfilling your customer’s needs. Don’t lose sight on why you started your company: Most days are tough as a startup founder with very limited reward. It’s important to remind yourself why you couldn’t live another day without going for it.