meez podcast

Krystle Mobayeni - Co-Founder and CEO of BentoBox

Rectangle with white background and a photo of Krystle Mobayeni

Listen to this episode

About this episode

Krystle Mobayeni is the CEO and co-founder of BentoBox, a digital platform transforming restaurants into better businesses online. BentoBox simplifies website creation for restaurants, offering essential features like online ordering, gift cards, and SEO. Krystle's journey began in 2013, solving the complexities of website development for renowned eateries. BentoBox has streamlined the website building process for restaurants, combining functionality with stunning design. With over 14,000 restaurants served, Krystle shares insights on leadership, culture, and rapid iteration through design thinking. Recently acquired by Fiserv, the future holds exciting possibilities for BentoBox's continued evolution. In this episode, Krystle also opens up about how she's built a successful company-from leadership and hiring to building a great culture.

Where to find Krystle Mobayeni:

Where to find host Josh Sharkey:

What We Cover

(02:22) Krystle's general background

(04:09) Where Krystle finds good Persian food

(05:32) Sour cherries and Krystle's upbringing

(07:19) Krystle's family

(09:25) Balancing family and starting a business

(14:37) About BentoBox and Krystle's inspiration

(16:31) Design methodology behind BentoBox

(18:14) How to generate effective feedback

(21:36) Coming back to BentoBox's mission and vision

(30:13) How BentoBox started

(33:28) BentoBox employee culture

(52:57) Starting a business and venture capital


[00:00:00] Josh Sharkey:

Welcome to the meez podcast. I'm your host, Josh Sharkey, the founder and CEO of meez, the culinary operating system for food professionals. On the show, I'll be interviewing world class entrepreneurs in the food space that are shifting the paradigm of how we innovate and operate in our industry. Thanks for listening and I hope you enjoy the show.

[00:00:26] Josh Sharkey:

My guest today has created one of the most ubiquitous technologies in the hospitality industry. One that you've definitely interacted with multiple times and may not have. Krystle Mobayeni is the CEO and co founder of BentoBox, the digital platform transforming restaurants into better businesses online.


First and foremost, the platform allows restaurants to quickly build websites with all the functionality that we need to run the digital side of our business, from online ordering, gift cards, SEO, to a lot more. Krystle founded BentoBox back in 2013, when she was building websites for restaurants like Momofuku, and The Meatball Shop, and the Breslin, and..



And back then, I don't know if you remember, but it was a pain in the butt to get a website built. You'd have to hire a web designer and a web developer, and you'd usually have something like WordPress. And then you'd have to have that same person or somebody maintaining it over time. And BentoBox solved this much in the same way that Shopify was solving it on the e-commerce side.


But of course, BentoBox focused on all the needs of restaurants and also sort of leveraging Krystle's design background to make sure that the sites were not just really functional, but also really beautiful. Fast forward 10 years later, and the company serves, I think, over 14, 000 restaurants and growing and they have a considerable number of new products.


And you know, I've had the pleasure of getting to know Krystle over the last couple of years and I just really admire what she's built. So we spent a lot of today just sort of picking her brain about how she's built this really successful company from, you know, leadership and hiring to building great culture, how to iterate quickly and using sort of design thinking.


BentoBox was recently acquired by Fiserv. And when you hear Krystle talk about the future of the company, it's really clear that the acquisition is just helping her supercharge her vision. So I had a blast. And as always, I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.

[00:02:22] Josh Sharkey:

We're live. So welcome to the podcast. I'm so freaking excited to have you here. So thank you for taking some time. You've done a bunch of these talks already, so I'm not going to have you go through the whole rigmarole of a lot of the stuff that you've already talked about with your background. I think I'll share a little bit because I think people, if they don't know, they probably should know.


I think everybody listening probably knows about BentoBox already. I love that you have a design background and then became a founder. Obviously you were a designer for like 10 years and then you started your own design agency. And I think that's how you. Started getting into what became BentoBox because you were working with USHG.


And I think Momofuku was your first technical client.

[00:03:01] Krystle Mobayeni:

The first restaurant website I ever did was Momofuku. BentoBox didn't exist then. It was just,

[00:03:06] Josh Sharkey:

Oh, gotcha. Gotcha. Under the guise of your previous. And that was like, was it called Neon and Sons? Was that your agency?

[00:03:10] Krystle Mobayeni:

Yeah. Yeah.

[00:03:11] Josh Sharkey:

Cool. And obviously you've won a bunch of awards and you're just, I think, Krystle, you probably know, but you're incredibly well respected in the industry.


I'm just like, well. I'm going to be taking advantage of this time to just, you know, get some advice like I always do from you and learn and everybody else will along the way. But just things like, you know, I think you've got game changer from food and wine and female founders, hundreds list from Inc. So you've gotten all of those accolades, but you've most importantly, like built an incredible company and something that a word that is just, I think we all aspire for, which is, it's like ubiquitous in the restaurant industry.


And you were recently acquired by Fiserv, so I'd love to dig into a little bit of how that's going. What I didn't know until I did a little digging was I didn't realize that your first generation American born and your parents immigrated from Iran. We just had Nilou Motseman on the podcast a couple of weeks ago and talked a lot about that.


Her parents obviously left a little later than yours in 1979, so kind of like at the heat of the revolution. Same period. Yeah. Yeah. But I didn't realize that was part of your background as well. So. I think to kick things off before we get into Bento and all that jazz, where do you get good Persian food?

Other than probably at home.

[00:04:26] Krystle Mobayeni:

Oh yeah, yeah. Well, nothing compares to that. And for a long time in New York, I thought it was very difficult to get good Persian food. There was like a couple places and they're really not even worth mentioning, but several years ago, one spot opened in Brooklyn called Sofreh, which, yeah, you know that one?


Good. So good. And it's a little bit like there's a little bit of a twist on the Persian food that they do. It's got like some modern vibes. But the flavors are all there, and I love it. And they opened another spot called Eyval. Yeah, that's the place I would recommend in New York, you know? Yeah, yeah.

Read More
Read Less