TheSauce.com, a free Web site for independent restaurateurs that provides a one-stop shop to help grow revenue, reduce costs and save time, registered more than 1,000 new restaurants in the first three days of the National Restaurant Association's Annual Convention in Chicago this week.

TheSauce.com's booth resembled a never-ending lunch-hour crowd, as the curious and skeptical alike stopped by for a personal demonstration of the site and its one-of-a-kind online food ordering solution that connects restaurateurs directly to TheSauce.com through a handheld Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) device.

"Our customers don't want to spend their time in the back office in front of a computer. They want to be out on the floor or in the kitchen where the action is," said Peer Munck, chief executive officer of TheSauce.com. "We're a solutions company obsessed with making the restaurant operator's life a little easier. Forcing them to sit for hours in front of a computer screen to place a food order--like some Internet portals do--makes no sense."

Anthony Lavely, chief executive officer of Redheads Bistro Bar with locations in New York and New Jersey, is impressed with the handheld ordering and receiving features. "I like the fact that it's a productivity tool. The order management process using TheSauce's Palm Pilot solution is a high control, closed-in system."

Independent restaurant owners were not the only people hungry for information about TheSauce.com. "It's been a pleasant surprise to find such a tremendous level of interest among manufacturers. They have little or no direct relationship with restaurant operators. Now they can reach them through TheSauce.com," said Munck. "We've also been approached by several representatives from international companies interested in licensing the concept in Hong Kong, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Australia and the U.K."

The majority of TheSauce.com's customers are based in the Los Angeles area, the nation's largest restaurant market, and where TheSauce.com is focusing its initial efforts. Restaurant operators are using TheSauce.com for services such as finding and training qualified employees; purchasing quality food and supplies; and finding new ideas for menu preparation, operations and marketing from industry experts.

Additional services soon to be offered on TheSauce.com will include:

Online food and equipment ordering - the most cost-effective
and efficient way to order food and restaurant supplies

Personal and professional financial assistance - from
establishing a 401(k) plan to managing payroll

"How to" assistance in creating a marketing plan - from
developing brand strategy to building guest relationships

Legal services and information - everything from employee
relations counseling to license procurement to offering

standardized forms and documents online

Menu development - from trend advice to actual menu layout
About TheSauce.com

TheSauce.com plans a nationwide rollout of its network of national and local vendors and partners for the summer of 2000. TheSauce.com also operates FlyInTheSoup.com, aimed at restaurant employees and EatingOutLoud.com, which will focus on restaurant guests. For more information visit www.thesauce.com.