Wouldn’t it be awesome to fly first class – I’m talking serious first class, with showers, high-end wines, and those little bedroom pods – for, say $400? Or sit courtside during the NBA Finals for $100 a seat? Or perhaps watch this coming November’s Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix in a dining room at the Bellagio overlooking the fountains and the Strip for a couple of hundred bucks per night?
Indeed it would.
The problem, of course, is that, in our present reality, every one of these scenarios is, for all practical purposes, impossible. Whether we agree with them or not, there are multiple underlying circumstances – make sense?
Fascinatingly, however, we’ve never grown accustomed to extending that same understanding and courtesy to restaurants.
A History of Tiered Pricing
For years, if not decades now, businesses across a range of industries have normalized the practice of charging premiums for premium experiences and premium time slots.
American Airlines introduced the concept to the airline industry in 1980, by differentiating the first class and economy cabins on longer flights. Hertz brought the phenomenon to car rentals in 1991, basing pricing on type and quality of the car. In 2008, the NBA’s Boston Celtics became the first major American sports team to institute tiered or “dynamic pricing”, based not only on seat location within the arena but also the quality of the opposition – basically, you’d pay more to see LeBron James or Kobe Bryant than you would a last-placed team. More recently, ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft have carried on the tradition, most notably with “surge” pricing during periods of heavy traffic in urban centers.
All the while, however, we’ve taken for granted that any table unoccupied and unreserved during a restaurant’s hours of operation, is simply up for grabs. Sure, restaurants themselves have long differed in price based on quality, cuisine, and location. And yes, for years, even getting a table at an ultra-popular restaurant has not been guaranteed. However, if, by some stroke of luck, the best table in the house just happens to be available at the moment of your call, it’s yours!
Value Hiding in Plain Sight
On the one hand, this “first come, first served” model is a refreshing hit of egalitarianism in a world in which capitalism increasingly seems to rule with an iron fist. On the other hand, however, restaurants are, in fact, businesses. In fact, not only are restaurants a business, they’re businesses with perishable inventories that, even in the best of times, struggle with tight margins and a hypercompetitive landscape.
Against that kind of backdrop, why wouldn’t a restaurant allow customers with the means and the desire to pay an additional fee for a unique, or simply enhanced experience? This could include (but isn’t limited to) paying for tables in exclusive seating areas or with particularly great views, personalized tasting menus, chef’s table experiences, or a dedicated sommelier. In the perpetual uphill battle that is the restaurant game, any avenue toward revenue and margin growth must be explored. And these are, after all, legitimate value-adds.
Fortunately for restaurants eager to explore such avenues to increase profitability – or simply those seeking to enhance customers’ booking experiences at no extra cost – Tablz is here to help!
As the company states on its website: “Not all dining rooms are created equal. But each has valuable real estate.”
Given this, if some guests are willing to pony up for that prime real estate, a restaurant would actively be working against its own interest to deny those customers the option of paying for their preference.
Getting a Leg Up With Tablz
Founded in Ottawa, Ontario in 2020 by a team of chefs, creatives, and engineers with food and beverage industry experience, Tablz is helping restaurants catch up to other fixed-capacity businesses by leveraging the power of exclusivity and premium offerings to boost both revenue and profit margins, all while improving the experience of their highest-value customers.
Restaurants of all kinds, from owner-operated independents to large groups, can work with Tablz to optimize reservation and revenue management. Tablz’s platform, it’s worth noting, is not a separate system that requires managing. Rather, the system is designed to work seamlessly in conjunction with every existing reservation management system currently on the market.
Paying for Preference is a Matter of Taste
In the eyes of some, the idea of paying simply for the privilege of sitting at a particular table in a restaurant or ordering off of a special menu is yet another example of the world catering to the wealthy. For others, this represents not only a long-overdue evolution that promises to not only benefit restaurants but also to provide a tailored experience for guests who are willing to pay for it.
Wherever one falls on this spectrum, it’s tough to imagine a restaurant – whether eager to introduce dynamic pricing or not or simply intrigued by the possibility – will find value with Tablz.