6.17.2014: OpenTable / wd~50 closure


Wylie Dufresne Announces wd~50 Close on Twitter

In the world of game-changing restaurants, Chef Wylie Dufresne’s wd~50 in New York City is tops. Opened 11 years ago, wd~50 and its chef pioneered the molecular gastronomy movement in the city and received plenty of praise over its lifespan. Last week, Dufresne announced, via his two-month-old Twitter account, that the restaurant will close after service on November 30.

This being 2014 and Twitter being relatively ubiquitous — at least in the New York restaurant echo chamber — the online reaction was grand and immediate (Eater has a nice roundup of memorable reactions.)

Cue thing-that-never-stops-being-awesome: learning of real news in real time directly from a primary source; in this case, the chef-owner of the restaurant in question. No PR spin, no rumor-mongering speculation, no hush-hush press embargoes or any of that annoying song and dance — just the facts, from the source, presented clearly and sincerely. With about five months to go, if you haven’t been to this spot yet, it’s time to make a reservation. (I am!)

illustration by April V. Walters


Ordering: There’s an App for That

So… in case you can’t make food decisions for yourself, a new app can decide for you. HotSauce is “aggregating and analyzing millions of restaurant reviews across the web– giving users the tools to mix up their restaurant and meal selection with minimal risk.”

Essentially, it uses an algorithm to determine popular menu items and assigns them a popularity rating. So you can eat what everyone else is eating. Or something. (To be fair, this is probably quite useful any time there’s a language barrier involved.) Huh.



Priceline Acquires OpenTable for $2.6 Billion

Earlier this week, Priceline announced it will acquire OpenTable for $2.6 billion in cash. It was a move that surprised a lot of people (this writer included). According to top execs on both sides, OpenTable will continue business as usual for now.

What does it mean when, what I’d consider one of, if not the, original restaurants+tech company sells? This remains to be seen, but I have a few guesses. It means the space is ready for innovation. Anyone following the reservations space has known this for a while; OT may have the restaurants, but the startups have the technology. It means that the general traveling public probably considers planning a dining excursion to be on a similar level to planning travel: worth research and forethought. It means the scene is ready for something new: is it Resy or Table8 or another reservations company? Something that’s going to come out of that patent Apple filed last year? Something else? (Ooh, this is exciting.)

If you’re curious, Eater has a solid report on OpenTable by the numbers, from its inception through last week’s sale.



Domino’s Channels Its Inner Siri

Online ordering is so 2013, at least for Domino’s pizza. The company just released a new version of its ordering app with functionality that allows you to speak your order into the phone and enjoy a “human-like conversation experience.” So, to be clear, it’s an app that let’s you order without having to actually talk to a person, but simulates a conversation with a person. Cool..?

Pro: Should you ever need to order your pizza while driving, this will probably help you out. Extra cheese, please!



The smarties behind Food+Tech Connect are planning a fantastic weekend hackathon, called Hack // Dining,June 27-29. In addition to the hackathon focused on reimagining the future of dining, they’re offering some smarttech and marketing classes on Saturday, June 28. View the schedule and register here; use codeFTCeduFRIENDS25 to receive 25 percent off your registration fee.



More from Skift Table