Monday, June 15, 2015

TRENDS - Buying Tickets for Dinning

"Why booking a table may soon mean buying a ticket" PBS NewsHour 6/11/2015


SUMMARY:  Both restaurant and customer take a risk when they make a reservation.  Is the table really going to be ready at 8:00?  Will the party of six be a no-show?  Chicago restaurateur Nick Kokonas, co-owner of elite restaurants Alinea and Next, says one way to avoid the waste of broken reservations is to sell prepaid dinner tickets.  Economics correspondent Paul Solman reports on Tock, a new tech startup.

WOMAN:  Good afternoon.  RPM Italian.

PAUL SOLMAN (NewsHour):  A popular midrange restaurant in Chicago.  Looking for a prime-time table a few weeks out?

WOMAN:  It looks like I can do 5:00, or you’re looking at about 10:00 p.m.

PAUL SOLMAN:  Reservations, it seems, are a problem at, and for, pretty much every eatery tonier than Arby’s, all the way up to Alinea, number one in Chicago on TripAdvisor, 26th in the world, says Restaurant magazine.

To co-owner Nick Kokonas, reservations can be a dance of deception between restaurant and customer.

PAUL SOLMAN:  Why is that?

NICK KOKONAS:  One, there’s a no-show rate of 10 percent, 12 percent.

PAUL SOLMAN:  So, restaurants are overbooking.

NICK KOKONAS:  Just like the airlines do.

And the other thing is that they’re afraid to say no to people.  So, they know people will, if they arrive at a restaurant and the table’s not quite ready, they will go to the bar for 40 minutes, they will spend a little more money, and then they’re not going to leave at that point.  It’s Saturday night.

PAUL SOLMAN:  So, the restaurants lie to the people, and then the people who know they might not show up are lying to the restaurant.

No comments: