Scoring a premium table in a vaunted restaurant in Chicago’s dining scene – one of the most vibrant in the United States – can be a daunting task. One usually needs to score a reservation, often months in advance, for any chance at a leading restaurant.
But a new premium dining concierge service, Table Host, has just launched in the Chicago scene to help foodies get round problems with last-minute, spur-of-the-moment reservations at top dining establishments. The exclusive table reservation service’s live “hosts” essentially helps you get a booking at partner restaurants for a nominal fee, as well as coordinate any special requests.
“We want our dining members to have a seamless experience to enjoy the best seat in the house without having to make the restaurant reservation weeks or months in advance to simply celebrate a special occasion,” says co-founder Ryan Anthony. “We also want it to be a positive experience for those fine-dining restaurants because our personalized service protects against people making reservations and not showing up.”
How does it work? After signing up, members can make reservations at coveted fine-dining restaurants in a few steps. First, the diner selects a reservation online or contacts his or her host directly. The diner then pays Table Host to hold the reservation. Table Host ensures that a premier table has been reserved, and the diner simply arrives at the restaurant to use their scheduled reservation. The partner restaurant in turn receives confirmation that the reservation will be honored, as well as gains access to Table Host’s elite members.
“Table Host diners receive reservations at prime tables, which can be nearly impossible to reserve at the last minute,” Kitzmiller says. “Other concierge companies that offer such a service cater only to the ultra-wealthy, a very small subset of the premium dining community, and they don’t have the convenience of an online reservation component. Table Host opens up those opportunities to the independent business consultant who needs to impress an important client or the husband who wants to surprise his wife for their anniversary.”
The idea came about because co-founder and crazy foodie Kristy Kitzmiller found it practically impossible to get into the restaurant she craved at the time she desired. “We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone could have their own personal dining concierge or an in with the maitre’d like this?’” Kitzmiller recalls. “We realized no current online reservation systems filled this specialty niche. Table Host is the perfect opportunity to connect guests like us with high-end restaurants.”
This way, the concierge service also aims to help benefit its restaurant partners by elevating profits, increasing revenue, and developing relationships with their desired clientele. “Table Host saves restaurants time and money by utilizing space that is already allocated for important walk-in clientele,” adds Anthony.
The start-up plans to expand nationwide in 2013 by adding service in New York City and Los Angeles.