Group bookings are not fun
Doing things in a restaurant can be painful but also fun. I love going in a group, but splitting bills, some people arriving late, waiting around for a table you’ve ALREADY booked, ugh. I also hate ringing up and booking – there simply there can be a better solution. I’ve used Dimmi a few times in Australia and seems to do a reasonable job, but that’s only for booking the time, and it doesn’t ensure that the table is available either. I’ve also seen Opentable in the US.
So I found this article really interesting. This technology company called Tock started by people in the restaurant industry want to change the way that restaurants take reservations. It asks diners to pay up front which acts as a deposit. Its a ticket reservation system.
Also the tables show up in real time if they are available and the price is variable depending on the date/time of day. It reminds me of airline seating. So if you want to book a table on Saturday night at 8pm, the price is much higher than Tuesday night at 5pm which would probably be a slower time.
In this diagram below, the red represents not available. Green represents available. Yellow are tables held in reserve. When tables are no longer reserved and are released, they go green.
Be keen to see if this idea gets any traction and if it makes its way to Australia. I can see it working for restaurants that already have prixe fixe i.e preset prices for several meals for a fixed price. Like those banquet style meals you get in a group. But what if you order a la carte? I’m assuming they deduct this deposit against the price. I’ve booked at some restaurants before that require a deposit with your credit card. I hated to hand over my credit card details but I can guarantee you that I turned up every time. This is a tactic I’ve seen used for some popular restaurants in the past.
Uber for restaurants
They want to be the Uber for restaurants. If you have ever tried Uber, its a pretty slick experience in that you go into the app to order a cab, it turns up and you don’t need to pull out your credit card, your wallet or tip. It just works. I work in the technology industry by day, and I visit the Hacker News website frequently. I discovered Tock via this Hacker News forum about it. Here’s the original blog post from the restaurant website which started the discussion about 6 months ago. I haven’t had time to read it in detail but it looks pretty epic. Make sure you read the original article on Medium here which piqued my interest.
Want more Sauce?
If you like this kind of stuff on Where’s My Sauce, please let me know in the comments! I’m just starting out with this food blog and would like to get your feedback. This post is about the intersection between food and technology. I love food and my day job is in technology. So it combines the best of both worlds for me. Plus its just neat!
Also sign up to my email list at the top of this blog post. Its super easy and we’ll keep you up to date. Just GIVE ME THE SAUCE right?
From The Sauce Master,