Reserve’s Loyalty Program
You get special status for airline loyalty, brand loyalty, coffee shop loyalty — why not restaurant loyalty? Reserve just launched a loyalty program with three tiers: Gold, Platinum, and Black, which will unlock “special experiences or rewards.” Loyalty rankings are based on the amount of reservations you make and use, with consideration to late arrivals and no-show reservations.
At this stage, Black status is the only status that seems to get you perks, and there’s not a published number of reservations that gets you there (though the example image displays “18 reservations, 0 no-shows.”) Also worth noting that OpenTable has had a points system for ages, with points redeemable for restaurant credit or, more recently, super-useful Amazon credit.
This is a smart move, though — rewarding customers who are super-loyal to the app, encouraging repeat use, and adding a little bit of competitiveness (this gets me every time.)
New Infatuation + Awesome Features
I love a good redesign, and the nice people behind The Infatuation launched a good one last week. The new vibe doesn’t stop with a new, map-enabled site — it includes what is probably the most creative use of food Instagram — if not all of Instagram — I’ve seen. Using Instagram for a standalone restaurant guide is an ambitious proposal, and they totally nail it with their @infatuation_nyc account. (I’ll explain it, but you really should check it out — in the browser or in the Instagram app.) The main account is a map of Manhattan spotlighting different neighborhoods. Click green dots on the map to see tags to other Instagram accounts tied to specific neighborhoods (@Infatuation_les, for example). Then browse these accounts for the best listings for lunch, dinner, drinks, dates, groups, and more. Such a fun idea, such great execution, and such a great (and totally different) use of social. Love.
Amazon Echo Can Now Order Pizza
Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa, who runs from the Amazon Echo device, is already a big player in food tech; she’s great at recipes and shopping. Now, you can use the Echo to order Domino’s. Sidenote: funny how pizza ordering seems to be the first food-related task for any new technology. Restaurant-specific apps? Pizza ordering! Texting to order? Pizza ordering! Sending emojis? Pizza ordering! Ordering a pizza as the trailblazer of digital technology.
TechCrunch has the details of how it works, but similar to other digital ordering options from Domino’s, you’ll need to create a profile before you can quickly order your favorite pie. (Maybe soon pizza ordering technology will be able to read your mind.
What’s Next for UberEats
Late last year, Uber released a standalone UberEats app for customers in Toronto, and now it looks like that — plus more — is on deck for the rest of us. FWx details what we can expect from UberEats as it grows — including more availability and much larger menus. (Right now, service is limited in initial launch cities.) Also mentioned: a claim that UberEats plans to collect 30 percent of the bill for each order it delivers, which would be the highest in the space.
The piece also raises what I’d consider to be the most relevant issue: delivery services like UberEats are third-partyoperations; the restaurant has no control over its dish once it leaves the restaurant. “Who do you trust more handling your food,” the piece asks, “a full-time delivery guy or some dude who is trying to earn some cash to cover the monthly payment on his new Hyundai?