I'm sure you've all seen the little burgundy stickers on restaurant doors, boasting businesses as Zagat rated. Tim and Nina Zagat founded the company in 1979, which got its start as a two-page typed list based on New York restaurant reviews from friends. It has broadened its critiquing wings to cover everything from Indian food to Thai massages, and they're sold worldwide in multiple languages. Can you guess how much this homegrown empire is worth? To find out just
The company is valued at nearly $200 million and is up for bid — the New York Times lists Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp (owner of Citysearch), Bruce Wasserstein’s company (publisher of New York magazine), and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation as possible buyers. Zagat's business is primarily subscription based, so it will be interesting to see if the sale brings changes to its online tactics.
The Zagats obviously have brains for business. When they couldn't find a publisher for their restaurant guide in the early '80s, they published the guide themselves and stocked them on the shelves of any bookstore that didn't turn them away. Hard team work and persistence have definitely been a recipe for Zagat's success — not to mention a surprisingly comprehensive review process that sets them apart. Tim Zagat estimated they "probably have three to five people in every restaurant, at every meal, all year long."