Pay for last minute reservations with Resy1/28/2015
If there is one industry that embraces technology blindly, it is the food world. From kitchen gadgets, appliances and accessories that seem to do practically anything and the Internet seemingly half-filled with food blogs and recipes, tech is everywhere. Even some restaurants are so connected that you can order and pay for your meal via your phone. Still, like every other industry, there will eventually come a time when technology crosses the line. That time may have just passed with Resy, an app gives users the ability to pay for a reservation.
As long as there’s been the hospitality industry, there’s been the concept of the “greased palm” — i.e. paying someone to get expedited or preferential treatment. In the restaurant world, that means slipping the matradee $20 to move up the wait list. While not generally a situation Iowa diners experience, waitlists and impossible reservations are commonplace. In major cities, Resy virtually erases that.
As the landing screen of the app puts it: “Resy is an app for people who love restaurants but hate hassling for reservations.” What’s the easiest way to overcome a hassle? Pay for it to disappear. Resy offers that service without the sketchy nature of slipping the reservation gatekeeper $20. While placing a reservation is free, moving up the priority ladder can be had for anywhere between $2 to $50 via a connected credit card. Of course, if catching another diner greasing the waitlist wheels is infuriating, knowing your reservation was leap-frogged because others dropped a few bucks is worse. That’s where restaurants are feeling trepidation.
Restaurants are not amusement parks. There’s something initially elitist and off-putting about offering a reservation fast-pass. Should those with fatter wallets be allowed to jump to the head of the line? According to Resy restaurants, yes. While currently only available in New York and Los Angeles, the businesses that have partnered with Resy love it. Online reservation booking has existed for more than a dozen years with the service OpenTable.
Through OpenTable, diners can book as many reservations as they want for free without any drawback to no-showing for dinner. Resy customers who pay to jump the line and fail to show-up are out potentially $50. According to Resy restaurateurs, OpenTable reservations can lead to as high a no-show rate as 20 percent, whereas less than 2 percent of Resy diners fail to show. Even better, Resy diners spend more on their meal. The logic is pretty simple: If you’re willing to buy your way in the door, you’re more likely to eat a pricey meal.
Beyond reservation hopping, Resy helps diners weigh their options. With features such as New York Times restaurant ratings, magazine reviews, chef bios, menu highlights and location mapping, Resy offers a great deal of information to whet your appetite. Helping clarify dining plans further, users can see wait times based off date and number of people in your dining party. So if you’re phone averse and really want to make sure you get a table, Resy not only helps find the best option but also secures your dinner plans with only a few taps of your phone.
As trendy as we like to think Des Moines is, no restaurant in town has a month-long waiting list, thank goodness. While Resy is planning to expand to other major cities, it would take a dining revolution for Resy to deem Des Moines worthy of its services. So until the central Iowa population boom of 2035, you’d best plan to carry an extra $20 to grease wheels at your favorite restaurant of choice.
Patrick Boberg is a central Iowa creative media specialist. Follow him on Twitter @PatBoBomb.