After being booked out for almost a year following its Michelin star win, Heron & Grey will start taking bookings on 1 March for the months of September, October and November with online reservation system 'tock'.
Tock was launched in 2015 by Nick Kokonas, co-owner of acclaimed Chicago restaurant Alinea, and former Google executive Brian Fitzpatrick, reports the Irish Times. The software is designed to be a desktop and mobile-friendly web-based platform, not just an app, with the goal of facilitating the relationship between restaurant and consumer without it becoming an intermediary. It was used by Rene Redzepi for his Noma Mexico and Australia pop-ups, processing $1.8 million worth of payments in 30 seconds for the latter.
Heron & Grey's restaurant space is restricted and can only seat 66 people a week, from Thursday to Saturday, with a typical dinner service lasting over a 3-hour period. Those looking to make a booking will be required to pay a €30 deposit, however not all tock bookings require payment. Other Irish restaurants using the software include Mews Restaurant in Cork and Fish Shop in Smithfield, Dublin.
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Discussing the reason for using tock over its competitors, Robert Collender of Mews Restaurant said it was due to "its forward-thinking approach to restaurant reservations," adding that customer no-shows "was 15 per cent of our total turnover in the first year ... Something had to be done."
Other popular reservation booking systems include OpenTable, which has more than 40,000 restaurants globally, and ResDiary which has nearly 6,500 restaurants. The systems are designed to help reduce the number of customer no-shows as well creating comprehensive patron profiles including tags, booking notes, guests notes, dietary restrictions, and dining history.
Restaurateur's using the software will be able to print out nightly chits; analyze demand by day of the week or table size; review real-time online sales; and schedule offerings for maximum revenue. Tock's director of marketing, Kyle Welter, said it is working on additional software features such as online rescheduling and sharing booking details with friends and on social media.
JP McMahon of Michelin-starred Aniar in Galway had previously trialled a ticketing system but said: "People never really took up on the idea, even though we were offering a discount on a pre-paid dinner. It’s a difficult sell, I don’t know why."