SMITH BRAIN TRUST -- Valentine’s Day dinner reservations are tough for procrastinators, because unlike airline seats or concert tickets, you can’t simply pay more to get a prime spot on a busy night. Now a handful of restaurants are experimenting with premium reservations, which allow diners to pay a fee for a table with little or no lead time. Professor Il-Horn Hann, co-director of the Center for Digital Innovation, Technology and Strategy (DIGITS) at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, spoke about the trend Feb. 11, 2015, on the Kojo Nnamdi Show at WAMU (88.5 FM).
“There are a lot of upsides for restaurants,” Hann said. Besides the additional shared revenue with table brokers such as Table8, restaurants will have a new way of connecting with business travelers.
“Business travelers are less price sensitive,” Hann said. “They are more likely to have an expense account that they can draw on. They are more likely to spend more. This opens new customers to the restaurant, which may lead to organic word-of-mouth either through social networks or personal connections.”
Other guests included Santosh Jayaram, co-founder of Table8; Tyes Zolman, director of operations at Pearl Dive and Republic restaurants; Tim Carman, food writer at The Washington Post; and Jared Barker, assistant general manager at Red Hen restaurant. Listen to the full conversation at thekojonnamdishow.org.