Everyone knows how restaurant reservations have worked in living memory: When we want to eat at a restaurant, we call ahead or drop by and reserve a table for a specified time. But in recent years restaurant reservation websites and apps have enabled new kinds of consumer interactions. Tech contributor Alexis Madrigal says some of those options fall neatly within our societal traditions while others break entirely with the established way of doing things.
“OpenTable is only the beginning of what an enterprising restaurant technologist might cook up. It merely replicates the existing system of the restaurant reservation online. And while that does change some things — for one, it’s easier for patrons to make and cancel reservations, as well as to see all the restaurants who could seat two on Friday at 8 p.m. — that technology doesn’t challenge the basic idea of the convention.
For that, we can look to Grant Achatz, the chef behind Alinea, Chicago’s entry for best restaurant in the country. In August of 2012, Alinea got rid of reservations. Instead, they started selling tickets. And earlier this summer, Nick Kokonas, Achatz’s business partner and the driving force behind the ticketing system, revealed exactly how effective it’s been.”
Photo: Alinea, Chicago