There are few things you can’t book online these days – from hotels and flights to accommodation and rental cars, going on a holiday in particular is much easier to organize. But what about when you’re only going out for the night? A new Australian website, bookarestaurant.com is hoping to make it much easier to organize a night out for dinner.
Finding a restaurant is the easy part – there are over 2,500 restaurants listed. Simply choose the date, time, and suburb (or restaurant, if you already have one in mind) and how many people will be attending. You can also choose the type of cuisine you’re after, if you have a preference. The results page shows a list of available restaurants in your chosen suburb, and includes details of the type of cuisine and the average meal price. On the right-hand side is where you will see available booking times and special offers.
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To make a booking, you just select the time you prefer and fill in your contact details. There’s also an option to fill in any special requests you might have. Creating an account is optional, and is not required to make a restaurant booking, but if you are a registered user you can create a list of favourite restaurants and save time by having your contact details pre-entered.
The idea of the site is not only to make it easier to book a restaurant, but also to promote special offers and allow diners to take advantage of them quickly. General manager of bookarestaurant.com, Adam Clarke, said of the site:
With bookarestaurant.com we did not want to simply replace the telephone or answering machine at a restaurant. We will provide restaurant partners with a powerful online marketing vehicle to promote themselves and more importantly their last minute table availability
Overall, this is a great idea, and makes restaurant bookings a breeze. The issue right now is the lack of information available. A search for Brunswick in Melbourne retrieved 11 restaurants, yet only 1 of these offered online booking options, and only 3 had pricing information available. Granted, a search for Melbourne’s CBD offered more than 30 options, but I would expect a suburb close to the CBD like Brunswick would offer more than 1. Each restaurant also has a profile with opening hours, contact details and a map, but again – many of these are lacking information, making the process less than helpful.
If more restaurants come on board and offer booking services and detailed menu and pricing information, I can see this being a great way to make bookings quickly and easily. A mobile app could also be helpful for those cab rides when someone asks, “who was supposed to book the restaurant?”.
Unfortunately for now, bookarestaurant.com is not the easiest way to book a restaurant. If you just want to find a place to dine, however, give it a go.