For the love of food and apps
You remember the olden days of eating out? Thumbing through a worn Zagat followed by a frenzy of phone calls trying to get a reservation?
Getting a same-night reservation to your favorite hopping place in The City on a weekend night was a coup; an anecdote totally worthy of repetition con los amigos even years later.
Fast forward to our futuristic present-day, where you can make a reservation online and often luck out by getting same-night seats at flour + water. (A table for two at 10:45 p.m. was available as this is written.)
Open Table has been the big enchilada in online reservations for well over a decade. Ah, but a decade in tech is a lifetime, as we’ve come to learn. Open Table’s system is cumbersome for restaurants, requiring a bulky monitor on-site. Cost is on the steep side too — about $5,000, says 7×7 — with initiation and licensing fees plus a buck a piece for each reservation.
It might not be ciao time for the reigning kings yet, but Seat Me is the new tool in town looking to disrupt and make better. Founders Alexander Kvamme, 23, and Jordan Mendelson, 32, saw Open Table’s unchallenged stagnancy as opportunity.
Seat Me, a venture-backed company based downtown, is set to launch this month. With a 13-member crew and tons of energy, the company is looking to win by charging a reasonable flat fee for a more efficient and accessible product.
With lower costs and a product that’s easier to use, restaurants previously unable to offer the service are in luck. SF spots already on board with Seat Me are Txoko, Chef’s Counter at Saison, and Nojo.