Accordingly, many restaurant owners are choosing to work with reservation services based on these perceptions.
Erika Chou, a partner in River and Hills Hospitality Group, which operates New York establishments like Kimika and Wayla, used OpenTable at her previous restaurants. Now, all her restaurants are on Resy.
“They work with a great group of restaurants,” she said. “So you know if you are in that company, your exposure is also greater. You are getting in front of that same type of clientele — people who really value the dining experience as a whole.”
These reputations aren’t accidents. They are born from how these companies initially sold themselves to customers.
Resy, founded in 2014, began as a service that specialized in coveted tables, like Minetta Tavern or Balthazar. Now any restaurant can sign up for Resy, but many diners said they still saw it as a destination for new, buzzed-about spots. Some people live and die by the platform’s Notify feature, which sends an email if a reservation becomes available; others religiously follow social media accounts like ResX, where people can give away or take coveted reservations.
Nick Kokonas, a co-owner of the Chicago fine dining restaurant, Alinea, started Tock the same year. With Tock’s ability to offer prepaid reservations and deposits, tasting menu restaurants flocked to the service. Yelp, which started offering reservations in 2013, is best known for its virtual wait-list system, used primarily by casual restaurants like ramen shops and cafes.
SevenRooms, which can be integrated into Google, Facebook, Instagram or a restaurant’s website, isn’t meant to be noticed by customers, said Joel Montaniel, who co-founded the company in 2011.