eLuna.com In the Press
|Here are some of the articles written about eLuna in the press.|
|The Appetite Comes with the Food, By Talia Hasin (PDF Hebrew)||Makor Rishon, November 2005|
|Casting a Kosher Net, By Gloria Deutsch||The Jerusalem Post Good Food Guide, Winter 2003|
|Eat Well! That's an Order!, By Carol Novis||The Jerusalem Post City Lights, September 20, 2002|
|Best Practices, By Ahron Shapiro||www.israel.internet.com, January 25, 2001|
|Click for kosher food finder, By Charlotte Halle||Ha'aretz, Anglo File, February 16, 2001|
|Spotlight Movers, Noshing on the Net, By Carol Novis||The Jerusalem Post City Lights, June 8, 2000|
|Not Page One, By Sam Orbaum||The Jerusalem Post, October 28, 1999|
Click for kosher food finder By Charlotte Halle
February 16, 2001, Ha'aretz, Anglo File
Anyone who has
ever looked for a kosher restaurant in an unfamiliar city knows how
frustrating it can be, even in Israel.
eLuna Fills a Need for Israeli Restaurants and Their Patrons
By Ahron Shapiro Associate Editor israel.internet.com
January 25, 2001, Jerusalem
In Israel, the restaurant database Web site eLuna.com makes the short list of bookmarks for residents and tourists. This beauty of this site is in its simplicity. It matches up businesses with consumers in a way that's easy and rewarding for both.
The restaurants have a need to attract and find customers. Perhaps they've tried conventional advertising in local newspapers, with limited success. By joining eLuna, they commit to offering a modest discount - usually 10 percent - to Web visitors in order to be listed with the service. Once listed, they're visible to tourists and Israelis alike, wherever they are.
The customers have a need to find a nice place to eat out in Israel. They also like to find a bargain. By visiting and registering with eLuna, they find the restaurants they want, with discount coupons available for printing. If they've eaten at a restaurant, they can submit a review with the possibility of winning a prize. That review, in turn, enhances the value of the site for the next customer. More prizes are awarded for bringing new members to the site.
It's a win-win proposition. The businesses and their customers get matched together and eLuna gets traffic that attracts site sponsors. Additional opportunity for revenue is found in the site's store, a travel section, and the option of home delivery of catered food in some areas.
Interestingly, eLuna is designed to serve the religious Jewish English speaking resident and tourist community in Israel. For that reason, it only lists kosher restaurants, and its pages are only in English.
Perhaps it is limiting itself, but on the other hand, its specialization may be a key to its success. The site is apparently manageable by a small staff, and by keeping things simple, they avoid the complications a larger site would entail.
Zagat it's not, but in Israeli cyberspace, eLuna has carved a niche for itself through the sound business method of identifying a need and serving it well.
For someone who doesn't touch meat, only eats kosher food, and admits that she doesn't even dine out much at all, Debbie Lampert of Ra'anana knows an awful lot about the food scene in Israel.
"Im a computer, not a restaurants person," she says. But as a "virtual" expert on kosher restaurants and wine in Israel, Debbie is the inspiration behind the popular Internet site eLuna.com which lists and offers discounts at some 150 kosher eating places in Israel.
eLuna is certainly an idea whose time has come.
who's ever searched for a good kosher restaurant outside Jerusalem knows
how difficult it is apart from hotels which serve kosher food, or Chinese,
steak and humous/tehina restaurants, good, sophisticated, kosher food is
hard to find. And even when kosher restaurants exist not everyone knows where
Debbie came on aliya with her family from Silver Spring, Md., in 1977 and moved first to Rehovot, then to Beer-Sheva and finally to Ra'anana. She has been involved in high tech industries for the last 18 years, but it is only in the last year that she struck out on her own with eLuna.
How did she get the idea?
It struck her, she explains, that the religious population was looking for reliable information on good, suitable restaurant as well as on other products. That information simply wasn't widely available.
'It seemed to me that observant English-speaking people had certain marketing needs that weren't being met and that provide a business opportunity. Observant Anglo-Saxons are a niche market and a niche market is very attractive to advertisers. Fr example, if you're selling kosher trips to Spain, then you want to reach a particular market that's interested in kosher products. The people who sign on with eLuna are prime member of that market."
For their part, eLuna subscribers are provided with a service they can't get anywhere else.
When Subscribers sign on to eLuna, they are given access to information about 150 kosher restaurants all around Israel. The information is reliable, because it's based on recommendations from people who have actually eaten at each restaurants. It's also free.
"The restaurants on our site are not just compilations, but places people actually like. I could have just gone to the Rabbanut and got a list of kosher restaurants, but I didn't do that because there would be no guarantee of quality."
Restaurants don't advertise, but they all offer discounts (mostly 10% off the bill) to subscribers.
"Here and there I have had to compromise," says Debbie. "For example, one Ra'anana restaurant has limited the hours they offer the discount because of the large number of people asking for it. But by and large, restaurants all do offer the 10% , because they're only listed on the site if they do, and they realize it's worth it. Clients come to listed restaurants and they bring their friends. It brings in a lot of business. Even hole-in-the-wall places get visibility."
If a restaurant fails to offer the discount, then Debbie will check it out and try to ensure the client is recompensed.
"It sometimes happens that a waiter will be new and may not have heard about the discount. In that case, I'll call the restaurant and see that something is done about it.
Clients are often so pleased that they e-mail with enthusiastic comments. One satisfied customer sent information on us to 300 friends!"
The decision not to charge restaurants for a listing on the site was deliberate. "My aim was to provide the best possible content. If you want the best content, then you can't limit the restaurants to advertisers. You need a big client base to attract other kinds of advertising. I estimate that we need a client base of 5,000 to expand our advertising. We haven't reached that yet, but the site has only been up 11 months."
Advertisers don't include listed restaurants, but they do include travel agents publicizing kosher tours and cruises, wine and books. Debbie sees plenty of future potential for advertising geared to the observant market, though she admits that the site still has to make a profit.
"First fame then fortune," she says cheerfully. "We are now hoping to attract other investors."
What she has discovered is that there are a lot of kosher restaurants out there that people haven't heard about.
"How may times have people told me that there are no kosher places in Tel-Aviv. Well there are 25 on my site. There are 12 in Ra'anana alone.
Most popular restaurants? She sites Magdiel Haktana in Hod Hasharon and Brown's in Ra'anana.
As well as providing information on kosher restaurants, Debbie also has another aim: to contribute to Israel.
"If eLuna helps bring people to Israel or boosts business for local restaurants, then I'll be happy."
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