Tock started as a ticketing platform aimed to change the way restaurants offer reservations. A new consumer-facing app puts the company squarely alongside its reservations competitors.
— Kristen Hawley
Tock, the reservations service that started as a restaurant ticketing company, has released iOS and Android apps for booking reservations. This is a notable shift for the company, which previously powered both ticketing and reservations via its site, exploretock.com, and through widgets on a restaurant’s site.
“Many restaurants, pop-ups, and wineries requested a discovery site to show off their great culinary experiences. And many diners wanted a Tock app. We’d be foolish not to oblige… but we took our time to do it the right way,” Tock founder and CEO, Nick Kokonas, told Skift Table.
The app itself is simple and straightforward: users can browse experiences, search nearby or by city or restaurant, and view upcoming or past reservations. In fact, it’s a near carbon-copy of the web experience, and it features the exact same experience as the mobile website.
That’s by design, Kokonas said. “It shouldn’t matter if you are on an app or using a browser. So our engineering and design teams created a user experience that is smooth and easy regardless of whether you find Tock via Google knowledge card, Facebook, or download our App. It’s the same everywhere.”
Mobile bookings are on the rise. According to OpenTable, the largest player in online reservations, 56 percent of its reservations are made via mobile app.
A New Approach
The new app not only adds Tock to the host of reservations apps, but also helps elevate its brand, which is a different approach for the company. Last September, Kokonas said, “One of our core tenets is that we shouldn’t be, the restaurant, shouldn’t be selling Tock to the customer. It should be their brand, their marketing, and their questions and what’s relevant to their restaurant.”
Now, by positioning Tock as a reservations platform alongside the likes of OpenTable, Resy, and Reserve, its moving from powering reservations in the background to marketing itself as a search engine for restaurant decision-making. It’s also good visibility for the service to both consumers and potential restaurant partners.
Historically, Tock has attracted high-end restaurants selling big-ticket meals that book up far in advance thanks to its ticketing past. Copenhagen’s Noma uses the service, as do Michelin three-starred restaurants like The French Laundry, The Restaurant at Meadowood, Saison, Per Se, and Alinea. The company also offers so-called traditional reservations, which are free, and those requiring a deposit. Tock also works within Instagram’s new reservations feature, and can be used to sell tickets to special events and pop-up dinners.
Tock supports over 500 restaurants, bars, and wineries in over 75 cities and 16 countries and has processed more than $270 million in prepaid reservations.