Best Practices for introducing our guests to our new booking service Tock



Every restaurant has their own set of reasons for deciding to use Tock. You might be a brand new 12-seat restaurant splashing onto the scene or an industry stalwart seeking to streamline operations – no matter what kind of restaurant you’re operating, your customers are your lifeblood. You should set expectations from the beginning and help them understand why Tock benefits both of you.

What your guests will love about Tock

Tock’s benefits to you, as the restaurant, are vast. Most of these advantages do great things for your team’s administrative needs, operations, and financial health, but are also designed to enhance the guest experience. Tock, above all, is centered on hospitality. Here’s a list of attributes to share with your guests when introducing the system:

Transparency: Other reservation platforms charge per-reservation charge. For this reason, restaurants/wineries often don’t publish reservations at peak times, because they know that they’ll be able to fill them without having to pay the $1/diner fee. With Tock, we offer an unlimited plan that doesn’t incentivize restaurants to hold back inventory, which provides a transparent view into all available reservations without having to call.

Customers would rather swipe than dial: For reservation confirmations, we remove the need for a phone call. Our research has shown that an unsolicited call from an unknown number is a bad user experience, which is why we’ve automated the whole reservation confirmation process. This saves time & effort for both parties.

Discoverability: By offering special experiences & events alongside standard reservations, guests are able to discover all of the different experiences that are available to them. For example, The Restaurant at Meadowood surfaces their “Young Winemakers’ Dinner” series alongside standard reservations.

Curate an experience: When reserving an experience, we give diners the chance to add add-ons to their reservation. This could be a bottle of their favorite champagne (so when they arrive, two glasses are already waiting), a wine pairing for the whole menu, or even a signed copy of Chef Kostow’s cookbook. For very creative restaurants like Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck, they use the “survey” product within Tock that allows them to customize an experience specific to an individual diner. For all of the above reasons, this is why we say “book your experience” more often than “make a reservation.”

The final course doesn’t have to be a check: If a diner prepays for an experience, the final course doesn’t have to be dampened with a check. The waiter can thank the guest for joining, then they are free to walk out. If you have experienced this, it’s a magical moment.

How to share this information

Now that you’ve got the message, let’s spread the news. There are many conduits to reach your guest, but the most direct is email. Your email list is a strong channel to your owned audience (and costs close to nothing if using a platform like MailChimp). We see that sharing this information in advance, specifically to your email list pays off big when rolling out Tock. Not only does it make for a seamless transition, but it addresses your guests on a personal and thoughtful level.

Below are a set of examples for you to reference as you consider how you want to communicate with your guests…

Cacao shared the news with a community-run publication
The chef, Jefferson Alvarez, announced that he was moving to Tock and shared his story on how he got tired of no-shows on days that were fully booked. “After month after month of no-shows, including during peak times like Valentine’s Day or Dine Out Vancouver, Alvarez says he’d had enough.” Read the full article here.

Norse wrote a blog post
They didn’t mince words. They told their story in very simple terms and framed it in a way their guests would understand. Read the full article here. They also did a good job of pushing the conversation into the public sphere by involving media outlets like The Caterer.

Meadowood sent an email
They outline the reason

Staplehouse includes this information in their newsletter
They share this information at the bottom of the newsletter

So did Frasca/Tavernetta/Pizzeria Locale

Smyth shared it on Social Media
They made sure to share information regarding the transition to Tock with their followers well in advance. This helped not only their loyal guests, but also prospective.

To make sure that new guests also know where to go, both Smyth + The Loyalist direct traffic to the site every time they launch reservations.

When Eleven Madison Park joined the family, they made sure to share how excited they were to connect guests to their experiences on Tock.

Aside from announcing your transition, make sure that you continue to use email and social media to share more information about your concept, reservation releases, and of course any news about your restaurant. Let us know when you are going to announce the launch, we’ll happily welcome you across our social channels

Saison kept it short and sweet


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Preparing for the move to Tock