Reservation Ticketing System News: Tock is Turning Traditional Restaurant Reservation Practices on its Head

CC Image by ddqhu
CC Image by ddqhu

Today we’ll be taking a look at a relatively new reservation ticketing system that will be widely available in early 2015: Tock. This reservation management software is really revolutionizing the restaurant industry’s reservation practices and expectations, and so we feel that it deserves a closer look.

Chicago restaurants, Alinea and Next, have been using the Tock system with great success since 2012 after co-owner Nick Kokonas designed the system. A few other select restaurants have used this system as well, most recently the Lower East Side restaurant WD-50 that closed its doors on November 30th.

WD-50 used Tock to manage its reservations in the final few weeks leading up to their closing…the restaurant sold $250,000 in tickets in the first two hours of launching the system. To say that this system was a wild success for WD-50 might be a very significant understatement!

How Does Tock Work?

Essentially, Tock optimizes the revenue of restaurants that consistently deal with a high demand and low supply of seating and available reservations. This reservation ticketing system effectively capitalizes on this high demand by having customers pay online (in full) for their reservation and meal in advance. The customers’ reservation is non-refundable and includes service charges, so the only additional cost to the customer will be any liquor charges accumulated at the end of their meal.

CC Image by vxla
CC Image by vxla

Of course, this is a rather simplified explanation of the system, since Tock is really going out of its way to provide flexibility to users through five different ticket types (which happen to also include a traditional reservation option). But the really revolutionary option available through Tock is the ability to offer and manage dynamic deposit tickets. Booking a reservation during peak dining times will result in a higher booking price, but dynamic deposit tickets will also offer restaurants to effectively offer discounts for reservations during less desirable times.

Why Does It Work?

While dynamic deposit ticketing won’t work for every restaurant, Kokonas has worked very hard to develop a system that he hopes will overtake the current industry leader, OpenTable. But how does this reservation ticketing system help restaurateurs manage and optimize their revenue?

Let’s take a closer look:

  • The biggie: Tock effectively works to eliminate no-shows. According to public data released by Kokonas, the incidence of no-shows at Alinea dropped to less than 2% in 2013 when the Tock system was first employed. For comparison, consider that through traditional reservation methods the average restaurant estimates that they see approximately 15% of their reservations result in cancellations or no-shows!
  • Fully pre-paid, non-refundable reservations help restaurants to project their revenue further in advance. This point is pretty self-explanatory…restaurants gain guaranteed revenue when they require fully pre-paid, non-refundable reservations.
  • A restaurant’s purchasing habits become more accurate. Knowing what diners will be ordering helps restaurants to accurately purchase stock and reduce their kitchen’s waste.
  • Staffing needs can be estimated more accurately and scheduled accordingly. Just as the previous point, knowing how many diners will be visiting a restaurant on any given night helps managers to predict and effectively manage their staffing schedule.
CC Image by Kevin Gong
CC Image by Kevin Gong

Why Do We Like It?

Here at TicketPeak we really like the multitude of options that the Tock system provides its customers. The reasonable flat monthly fees that Tock is planning to charge helps restaurants effectively manage their finances and have access to the systems full range of ticketing and reservation options.

“Tock is a comprehensive toolbox built to fundamentally change the way restaurants create and manage bookings.” – Nick Kokonas

Tock reminds us of our own ticketing system – reasonable fees, an exceptional variety of ticketing options, and always keeping the needs of the client first!

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