Thursday, May 26 , 2016, 10:08 pm | Fair 60º




Young Co-Founders Savor the Simmering Success of SBMenus.com

Dusty Stutsman and Bryan Brand have expanded their online food-ordering business to more than 50 restaurants between Isla Vista and Carpinteria

By Gina Potthoff, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @ginapotthoff |

The concept was so simple that Dusty Stutsman nearly overlooked its significance.

Stutsman, a Colorado native, recalls years ago visiting a friend who went to college in Ann Arbor, Mich., and ordering food from a website that showed all types of local joints.

“At the time, I didn’t think anything of it,” he told Noozhawk.

On the flight back home to Colorado State University, however, Stutsman began to realize how easy and stress-free the dining experience had been.

He shared the concept with Bryan Brand, a friend at a New York school who he kept in touch with from their days at Santa Barbara City College.

So begins the story of how SBMenus.com was formed four years ago, at which time Stutsman and Brand ventured back to Santa Barbara and established an online food-ordering business that now features takeout or delivered cuisine from more than 50 restaurants between Isla Vista and Carpinteria.

The young co-founders — Stutsman is 27 and Brand 26 — are seeing their most successful gains to date. SBMenus.com doubled the number of online-ordering restaurants in 2011 from 2010 and added 20 restaurants in the past six months alone. In 2012, the site facilitated more than 73,000 online orders, totaling more than $1.3 million in sales. Site visits were up 35 percent, and page views saw a 40 percent bump.

The small start-up notched another milestone eight months ago by moving from a home office into a workspace in downtown Santa Barbara’s Victoria Court.

“This place is great,” Stutsman said, sitting with Brand in the office given a laid-back feel with hanging bicycles, a ping-pong table and two friendly dogs.

Stutsman and Brand pride themselves on the streamlined, “real-time” aspect of the site, which constantly updates restaurant hours and information.

Online food foragers can search by category, browse reviews and popular items and get in on special deals offered exclusively through SBMenus.com.

Frequent customers can even see their previous orders from a particular restaurant, effectively creating their own “usual” that’s recalled with a credit card number instead of a face.

Brand said individual or group office orders are merely clicks away and can be made in advance, say if someone wants to try ordering lunch from a busy place such as South Coast Deli.

“There’s a line, guaranteed,” Brand said. “If you order online, you walk up to a separate line. You’re never put on hold.”

The online entrepreneurs, who created NightOut.com as a spin-off of SBMenus two years ago, are hopeful to continue the upward business trend by doubling the number of restaurants in 2013 and possibly letting customers use more than one credit card per order.

They’re grateful they didn’t quit the business before they finally turned a profit 18 months into the venture and optimistic they will continue to expand.

“This site and service is applicable to any demographic,” Brand said. “Everyone is hungry.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.




Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

 

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.