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Dynamic pricing has taken over our lives.
Want a better seat with more legroom on an airplane? You’re going to pay more.
Using Ticketmaster or StubHub for better seats? Prove it with your wallet.
“Upgrade! Get your upgrade here!” is now screamed into our faces everywhere we turn.
And now we may soon be paying more when we go out to eat.
The “Tablz” service and app is beginning to make inroads across the country as more cities and restaurants are using it to change their business model.
Restaurants can choose to use the app in order to have customers select (and pay more of course) to not only guarantee their seat, but also the seat LOCATION.
Do you want to sit near the bar to make sure you can watch the game on TV? Or maybe you want to have a window table to look out on the water during a date night. Oh, it’s cold outside and you want to sit near a fireplace? Those options are all available for a price as the restaurant looks to make money any possible way they can.
PAYING FOR RESTARAUNT SEATS? REALLY?
Although the Tablz app is still in it’s early stages as far as rollout, more eateries are definitely hopping on board. The app has restaurants in cities like Omaha, Houston and most recently Chicago, who introduced it towards the end of last year.
Restaurants are able to sign up for the Tablz service which then sets up a 3D aerial view of the location. Customers will then be able to select where they want to seat.
Prices range from day of the week, reservation time, as well as where to sit. Sometimes seats may be free, other times you could pay $40, $50, $100 – whatever the restaurant sets the price to be. Tablz takes a 30% cut from each reservation.
Whether it’s Tablz or a restaurant doing this on their own, you can be sure that if the overall concept works, it’s going to come to a city near you. Just look at the Seamless, UberEats model – in the beginning only some used it, now it’s everywhere. The same thing could apply here if it’s successful.
Personally I hate the idea. Just because we have it elsewhere – hotels, airplanes, etc. doesn’t mean it HAS to be everywhere.
Imagine paying ;extra money and then the service still being terrible? Not ideal.
MORE INDUSTRIES ARE USING DYNAMIC PRICING
Last month AMC Theaters announced that they were introducing dynamic pricing that would charge more for “the better seats,” when you go to the movies.
It did not go over well.
Seats in the middle of the theater would be priced higher than those on the side. The cheapest ones? You guessed it – front row where it’s not enough that you’re going to be blind and your neck is going to be shot for days from the awkward staring, but it’s also going to prove to everyone else that you’re cheap.
From a sheer financial and revenue perspective, I understand why restaurants would want to introduce charging for reservations. They have the right to do as they please. Plus, some restaurants are still financially recovering after government-imposed Covid mandates cost them customers and income. They want to try and recover and make as much money as they can.
In an interview with FastCompany, Tablz Founder Frazer Nagy said that higher-end restaurants could make hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional revenue simply from making reservations. The margins are ridiculous for not really doing anything more than they already do.
My counterargument is that it’s one thing to pay for a table on New Years Eve (as long as they include a champagne toast with it!) But it’s a hell of a lot more to make me pay even more money – perhaps more than the damn entrée itself, just to be able to pick where I want to sit.
Have you gone out to eat lately? Everything is more expensive. Some of it is inevitable – inflation, supply-chain constraints, but other places and industries have used those same reasons as EXCUSES on why they can charge more.
I remember when Covid first hit New York City, Uber started charging a ridiculous amount in surcharges because of lesser available drivers, driver safety and more. Guess what? It’s now three years later and the prices are STILL outrageous. Once you start going that direction and there’s financial incentive involved, very few companies will pull back on it.
Speaking of Covid – remember when restaurants began adding fees galore? There were safety fees, in-house fees, hell – now if I go to pick up food many places automatically add a few dollar surcharge to it. Even though they literally didn’t do anything besides what they’re supposed to do – be a place that one can get food at, suddenly there’s suddenly all these random-ass charges. You can’t tell me that you haven’t ever cancelled or chose a different place to order food at because of the absurd amount of fees. We all have done it.
WHAT SAY YOU?
If people and families are already paying more money everywhere, do we really now need to also pay more just to get a reservation? What happens if it’s a packed house and the only available seats are near the bathroom? It’d be unfortunate to sit there regardless, but to think that you actually had to PAY to sit near the crapper just to get into the place? Talk about your life going to the dumps.
Also, it’s unclear how each restaurant will actually handle the revenue from the reservation. Will it go to the servers, or will they pocket it themselves as part of ‘overhead expenses?’
What happens if customers already had to reserve a table for $100-200 and then skimp the server on a larger tip “because they already paid to get the table.” Restaurants may soon anger their own employees that way. It’s a slippery slope that we’ve seen in the other industries that have introduced dynamic pricing.
So the question I have for all of you is… do you want to have to pay more just to get a seat or just to be able to try out the new restaurant in town?
Let us know – respond below and drop us a tweet: @TheGunzShow and @OutKick
One CommentLeave a Reply
This will succeed, our society already sees people waiting 45min just to get seated at a place to order a $14 plate of avocado toast. Additional fees for the best table with the best views for your followers, yes please, and the more I pay, the fuller my life feels.