Good Food Blog
Online reservationsPosted at 12:16PM, 21 April 2008 by Holly Jones - Former researcher, bbcgoodfood.com
Imagine a world where you can only book a table online. Where phones are obsolete and the only thing you need to get a table on a Friday night is a minimal knowledge of the world wide web and a finger ready to click. Surely it will never happen, just like flying cars will never take off. Right?
Mmmm, it's happening already (just like flying cars). And where has it started? Good ol' New York City of course.
Picture this. It's 10am on a Monday and want to secure a table at New York's hippest new restaurant - Momofuku Ko. Simple. But remove the phone aspect of booking, and add to that the fact that seats can only be booked a week in advance, and are snapped up within seconds of being released, and you have something that could one day become an Olympic sport.
There's no slipping 50 quid to the maître de here... this is a first-come first-served kinda place. But will it take off here?
In the trendy East Village, this 14-seater noodle bar has sent pulses racing and adrenalin flowing. Set up by renowned chef David Chang, Momofuku Ko doesn't care who you are, or where you come from, the only way in is via your computer. There will be no slipping 50 quid to the maître de here, no special seats for the food critic, this is a first-come first-served kinda place. But would the same system take off here?
I know people from all age brackets that will happily book online. But, after doing so they will call to confirm the reservation! But why? The same happens with ordering groceries, books or clothes online. Some people don't believe it has actually worked and they need what consider tangible confirmation, a real voice telling them that everything will be okay.
So surely no one can expect people to reply on the oh-so-expensive, hard-to-get-hold-of internet? How will anything get done? Well wake up people. Things are changing.
Online booking for travel has exploded in the last few years - do many people visit travel agents anymore to book flights? Seeing an Ocado or Sainsbury's delivery van in your street is now nothing out of the ordinary either.
I know as webbies/foodies you can find your way around the net, but in case you are reading this at 9.55am and popping to New York in the next week, here's the reservations page for Momofuku Ko. I'll keep everything crossed for you, just let me know what it's like.
But if New York's not on the agenda, it's only a matter of time before this trend crosses the pond; and the best bit - you web savvy people will be front of the cyber queue ready and waiting. But will you bother? Or are you quite happy to eat somewhere you can book in advance?