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A month or so ago I came across a restaurant-booking startup Bookingrid, which takes on Open Table, LiveBookings and a few others on changing the ways we book tables in the restaurants.
Bookingrid, which can be safely called a Russian startup which operates from the UK, allows restaurants place a widget on a website (e.g. a restaurant guide such as Hardens) and allow their users book a table and pay for it upfront.
Sergey Dugaev, the Russian founder and CEO of the company has come up with the concept two years ago to solve restaurants’ problems of no-shows, and help himself and others get access to expensive restaurants.
When tables are booked but guests do not come, the revenue of the restaurant is negatively affected. To deal with it at least in the UK high-end restaurants take credit card details and may even charge a minimal fee if the customer does not show. Open Table offers an option of firm reservations by allowing restaurants request a credit card details. Mid-range restaurants do not do that as much so they have to bite the bullet when the no-show situation arises.
Dugaev believes that Bookingrid has a better way of dealing with restaurant problem. It allows customers prepay for the table and sell the reservation on “the secondary market”, if the plans have changed. Restaurants solve no-show problem and can even increase occupancy rates by offering discounts for unpopular opening hours.
The company is testing its table-booking system with a number of Michelin star restaurants and for now it concentrates on the high-end market segment, while exploring what value proposition is most convincing for the restaurant owners.
From my humble point of view, the discount system might work well here in Germany, where even upper-middle-class citizens carry brick-size voucher books with them “just in case” to get discounts in various places. In big cities such as London such system may work well for expensive restaurants.
Still, I am curious to see how quickly the behavior of restaurant goers will change, compared to, say, travelers who were quick to adopt EasyJet’s dynamic pricing model.
Image by Lioba Schneider.
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