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News & Press: Insider Tips & Best Practices

Moving Beyond the Reservation to Restaurant Ticketing

Tuesday, August 05, 2014  
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Blame it on technology or the economy.  No matter the reason ticketing is making its way into the restaurant playbook due to customer demand.  Over the past couple weeks, restaurant ticketing has been making the headlines of the Wall Street Journal and proprietary systems are being developed for commercial use. Now that we can book everything on line or on our phone, guests expect the ability to go beyond just making a reservation.  With the menu and bookings capability in hand 24/7, it is a small step to plan the entire food/drinks at a fixed price to provide spending visibility.

Priceline Buys Opentable
Why did PriceLine pay $2.6 billion for Open Table?  Time will tell, but chances are the vision includes a new ticketing model for the restaurant industry.  Priceline will likely extend its pricing model into a this new vertical.  It is a natural product line extension from airlines, hotels and car rentals.  The entire travel and entertainment spend is in play for on-demand services.

Many restaurants have already moved in the direction of ticketing by offering a price fixe menu for brunch specials--limited entree selection plus drinks at a fixed price.  In essence a brunch ticket.  Also, private room or large group events have also been negotiated and agreed to in advance.  The prolonged economic difficulties has generated an increased price sensitivity within the customer base. The 99% have to watch their spend, but want the same customer experience. Thus, package offers or tickets remove the spending angst of the unknown bill.  it's similar in concept to new technologies addressing bill paying also allow each person in a group to pay only their share.

The Benefits of Ticketing:
1) Revenue Visibility--the value of each seat in the room has been pre-established and/or contracted.
2) Decline in No-shows--customers who have paid in advance rarely do not attend.  each is an opportunity for an upsale.
3) Dynamic Pricing-- lower prices for early bird and late night specials can easily be added to the marketing strategy as well as premium priced menus for special events.

Ticketing is another tool in the marketing tool box to be used for discounting, premium pricing.  Either way when deployed it provides a simple message to customers and increases revenue visibility.  Dynamic pricing has come to most industries and will likely be more prominent in the restaurant world as well.

This article was submitted as part of our Industry Insider program. Learn more >>

By Brock Ganeles, CEO of NiteTables Inc.

NiteTables is an online reservation system for nightlife experience packages based in New York City. Our mission is deliver value, simplicity and transparency to the process of planning and reserving your night out. The platform is available in four major regions currently: New York Metro area, Boston, Philadelphia/Atlantic City and Washington DC with expansion plans underway. NiteTables is now in its third year of helping customers to plan and book celebratory nights out be it birthday, bachelorette, bachelor, date nite or any other important occasion even if it is just to have some fun. We have featured over 1,000 unique package offers on the site with more being added every day. The system is free to consumers only requiring a 10% deposit to secure the package pricing and certainty that you and your group will treated properly. NiteTables is committed to upgrading your nightlife experience.

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