Aug 12, 2023 3 min read

Fine Dining or Fine Fining?

It's evident that reservation platforms have firmly entrenched themselves in the dining landscape. But will added fees exhaust the customer?
Fine Dining or Fine Fining?
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The hospitality industry has encountered a wave of fees in recent months that has left both consumers and operators grappling with new financial considerations. While the ubiquity of fees may raise eyebrows, it's no surprise that extra costs have met with mixed reception. After all, who relishes the idea of parting with more money than anticipated? The proliferation of additional charges, such as the elusive "platinum card" surcharge, begs the question: is it reasonable to tack on an extra 3% to your final bill? The answer isn't always crystal clear.

So, what other fees am I referring to specifically?  I'm talking about the reservation landscape.

The surge of reservation platforms like Resy and the exclusive newcomer Dorsia has reshaped access to the hottest dining spots, posing a challenge for the everyday diner. Nowadays, you almost need a reservation to get in anywhere. When's the last time you just strolled into a restaurant without a reservation? If the memory eludes you, you're not alone in this shift. Both diners and operators are inclined towards the assurance of secured seating rather than risking a disappointing rejection or uncertain foot traffic. It's evident that reservation platforms have firmly entrenched themselves in the dining landscape.

The Unwanted Guest: No-Shows, Bots, and Scalpers

A new conundrum has emerged for restaurant owners and operators: the rise of no-shows, bots, and scalpers—those who reserve tables but don't follow through, leaving establishments to contend with lost revenue. Recent data from OpenTable underscores the extent of this issue, with a staggering 20% no-show rate in major cities and 28% of Americans admitting to flaking on reservations annually. The question looms: why do patrons neglect to cancel? Some juggle multiple reservations before impulsively choosing their dining destination, while others succumb to forgetfulness or inertia. Regardless of the reasons, no-shows inflict financial strain on restaurants, prompting a critical inquiry into the cost.

The Costly Fallout: A Calculated Perspective

Imagine this scenario: a restaurant boasts 50 seats, with 50% of its nightly traffic attributed to pre-booked reservations. If 10% of these reservations result in no-shows, the establishment loses $100 per night. Extrapolate that over a month, and the financial hemorrhage balloons to over $3,000. The staggering implications leave little room for surprise as to why operators are seeking solutions to ensure reservation commitments.

A Shift Towards Solutions: Introducing Reservation Deposits

In response to this mounting challenge an increasing number of restaurants are adopting reservation deposits, ranging from $25 to $50, to encourage customers to honor their reservations. While this pivot may not have been the inital preference of the operator to implement, it emerges as a solution in the face of financial strain.

Embracing Technology for Enhanced Experiences

I don't just want to harp on the bad though. Many diners appreciate the integration of technology into the dining experience, recognizing its potential to elevate their time at the table. The immense amount of technology coming into the space yes can be overwhelming but it is also very exciting. As a diner who always wants the best experience, I love when I see restaurants integrating technology to provide customers an optimal experience.

Notably, Branded Partner Tablz stands out in the reservation game. Whether you want the perfect date night, birthday celebration or if you have an important client meeting that needs to go seamlessly, Tablz helps relieve the stresses of hoping for a perfect night.

The table reservation platform allows prospective diners to virtually tour a restaurant and pick their table for an added fee. Incredible restaurants are enhancing their guest experience by leveraging Tablz with their existing reservation system. And no, Tablz is not a second system you have to manage. Tablz works in conjunction with your existing setup.

As the hospitality industry navigates the intricate tapestry of fees, reservations, and technological advances, the challenge lies in harmonizing the expectations of patrons and operators. While the introduction of reservation deposits aims to alleviate revenue losses, it's the collaborative efforts of entities like Tablz that exemplify the industry's resilience and determination to provide exceptional dining experiences. In a world of evolving dynamics, the hospitality industry's trajectory hinges on its ability to embrace change while safeguarding the essence of shared moments around the table.

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