How much of the Chicago startup community is working on some form of making money off restaurant reservations? Quite a lot, it appears, since here comes another app, a member at the hot startup incubator 1871, which aims to make money off making it easier for diners and restaurants to hook up. TableSAVVY basically gives restaurants a way to market their last-minute reservations; they offer them to diners via TableSAVVY and diners who book one of the offered reservations get a 30% discount off the food portion of the bill. (There’s also a $5 booking fee, but it’s apparently assumed that that will be more than covered by the discount.) Diners in turn have the ability to receive offers only from restaurants they choose to be notified by. But perhaps the most useful aspect of the app is its partnership and integration with Chicago magazine, which will apparently allow readers of its dining guide (and possibly other content in the future) to book directly from the online presence of the magazine.
At one time this might have been considered too close a form of integration between reviewer content and revenue, but with most online food sections already engaged in promotional activities with restaurants, it’s the sort of thing that we’ve all gotten used to and have to trust will not affect Chicago’s editorial independence. Restaurant groups that have already signed up to work with TableSAVVY include Rockit Ranch (Sunda, Ay Chiwowa, etc.), LM Group (LM, Brasserie 54) and Element Collective Group (Nellcôte, Old Town Social), as well as Prasino, Bar Toma and Cafe Spiaggia, Saigon Sisters, and Cru Kitchen & Bar, among others.