Meet seven startups changing the way you dine out
Once the realm of regulars and determined callers, the age-old system of restaurant reservations is experiencing a renaissance of sorts, thanks to tech. Here are seven apps dotting the current landscape.
From the moment OpenTable launched its reservations platform, it was clear the restaurant industry would never be the same. This SF experiment-turned-international-empire was recently acquired by Priceline for billions and is generally known for being the great equalizer of reservations: everyone has a shot, and all tables are free.
Pay to Play
As we reported earlier this year, power duo Gary Vaynerchuk and Ben Leventhal are behind Resy, a new product that partners with high-end restaurants in New York—think Charlie Bird or Minetta Tavern—to provide their most desirable last-minute reservations for a fee, a move that’s had many New Yorkers up in arms about a seeming “pay to play” system.
After raising $10 million in capital, newcomer NoWait has exploded onto the scene as a provider of user-friendly technology to both restaurants and consumers that helps diminish waits at casual-dining destinations. Skip the initial trip to the restaurant, join the line from an iPhone or Android, and show up just in time for your table.
Save Me a Spot
What about restaurants that don’t take reservations, but that experience perpetually long waits? You could check the Shack Cam for Shake Shack’s Madison Square Park location – or you could purchase a coveted spot near the front of the line from a fellow Shout user. We spoke with Shout in depth here.
Did you forget to make that anniversary reservation? If you’re willing and able to pay for convenience, Table8 is partnering with SF’s hottest restaurants to make same or next-day tables available for your next special occasion for a nominal fee, no planning required.
Res to Impress
Much like Table8 and Resy, Zurvu offers prime-time tables at New York hotspots from wd~50 (which closes soon) to Dirt Candy if you’re willing to pay the $10 flat fee. The upshot? Customers can also join a a waiting list for as many restaurants as they’d like, for free.
Like Ticketmaster for Tables
After a controversial launch, SF-based ReservationHop is making a soft pivot. Initially accused of scalping hard-to-find reservations, ReservationHop is now offering tables to consumers for free in a move that’s reminiscent of OpenTable’s model.
Of course, you could skip all the drama and just cook at home.
Now go forth (and eat well).
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