At EMERGING, we’re fortunate to work with some of the country’s top restaurants and technology firms. As a result, we’ve had front-row seats to the expanding ResTech scene these past few years as restaurants embraced technology at an unprecedented speed, securing a lifeline during a time of crisis.
This increasing acceptance of today’s tech hasn’t slowed down, with many incorporating their own apps, new digital loyalty programs, automated aspects in their kitchens, and online table reservation systems.
It’s this latter category that’s experiencing an industry disruptor. Called Tablz, it’s a new intuitive 3D booking system that transforms how we look at restaurant tables. Let’s explore how it’s shaking up the industry and what it brings to the table.
An Intuitive 3D Booking System
As Frazer Nagy, Co-Founder and CEO of Tablz, explains, “Tablz is not a restaurant reservation management system like OpenTable, Resy OS, and SevenRooms. It’s an intuitive 3D booking system that sits on top of those systems.”
Working in conjunction with your existing setup, it asks those booking online a simple question, “Do you want to upgrade your seat, or do you want to sit anywhere?” Those who want to upgrade their seating are invited to a beautiful, interactive site displaying your restaurant in a 3D video. This view gives your guests an experience before they even walk in the doors, enabling them to explore the dining area and pick out their preferred seating in advance.
Nagy explained, “Many of these restaurants have spent literally millions, some tens of millions, meticulously designing their restaurants.” Tablz enables their customers to see the beautiful ambiance they’ve created and experience a positive first interaction with the restaurant—choosing a specific seat. The best tables cost more in the same way that airlines, concert halls, and sporting events charge more for prime seating. Even some movie theaters are experimenting with extra fees for preferred seats.
While a somewhat alien concept in the restaurant industry, it’s catching on, and it makes sense. Think about dining at your favorite restaurant, sitting at the prime table overlooking the city, or a beautiful landscape. Would you be willing to pay more? For many people, the answer is a resounding yes.
Restaurant as Real Estate
Nagy described how Tablz fills a needed element in the guest experience, “At 7 p.m. on a Friday or Saturday, or whatever your peak time is, we need to look at a restaurant like the real estate it is. There’s this category called premium dining in guest service that’s been left exposed because we thought that the guest experience only existed in-house—that we only treated our VIPs once they were seated at the table.
But we now know that’s not true. For the modern consumer, their guest journey begins long before they sit at their table.”
Tablz doesn’t aim for the top .5% of diners—those who fly in on their private jets and have laid claim to their preferred booth in Miami before landing. They aim to be right below them and to the top 20%. Today’s restaurant table management systems do a great job of handling the other 80% of a restaurant’s volume.
Nagy explained the importance of the VIP category, “You know those diners in the top 15-20% are disproportionately worth so much more to your business and their influence in the marketplace.”
Tablz gives operators a unique way to fill their VIP’s needs and enhance their experience. It also offers guests going out for a special occasion, such as a birthday or anniversary, the opportunity to make the moment even more memorable and extraordinary.
A Unique Value
Tablz offers a discreet and voluntary opt-in for guests who want to upgrade their tables. Simple yet sophisticated, it ensures specific seating for those guests who feel the right table enhances the experience. As with most disruptors, some see it as a threat and others as an opportunity. However, you’ll notice that firms that embrace rather than fear disruption often find inspiration and improve the customer experience. As Tom Freston said, “Innovation is taking two things that already exist and putting them together in a new way.”