Soon Spoon To Help Diners Score Impossible Reservations
Have you ever wanted to eat at that cool new restaurant that only seats 30 guests? Reservations are undoubtedly at a premium and you’re often forced to make a reservation two weeks out. And that’s if you’re searching for a two-top. What about those times when friends or family are in town and your party is bigger than four people? Forget it.
That conundrum of quality, spontaneous dining is at the heart of Soon Spoon, a new restaurant reservation service that launches on March 19. Cofounders Travis Lowry and Conor Clary are working in conjunction with some of Boston’s hippest, most compact restaurants to provide last-minute dining options at places such as Clio, Uni, Farmstead Table, and Puritan & Co.
“I don’t know if you’ve ever tried calling these types of places on a 4:30 on a Friday, but it can be very difficult,” says Lowry. “Some places are good about it. Menton always picks up the phone, but for most small restaurants it’s just very hard because they might only have one or two people answering phones. So what ends up happening is you end up going to the place where … you can walk in—that’s not of the same quality—but hey, you know, [you] can get a table.”
Soon Spoon currently has 17 restaurants that they’re working with, but they hope to build that number up to 50 ideal spots by the end of the year. Lowry describes their approach with potential restaurant partners as “price agnostic,” instead focusing on “special, unique kind of places.”
“We don’t approach restaurants because they’re the most expensive,” says Lowry. “There’s a lot of restaurants that are very expensive that we’re not a good fit for. We work best in a place like East By Northeast that seats 29 or Bogie’s Place that seats 15 in the back of jm Curley. We want to create this club of diners that love these restaurants and are open to eating at the last minute.”
Unlike OpenTable, Groupon, and Beeline—which stop updating reservation availability after service begins—Soon Spoon will provide to-the-minute data via text messages, email, and the website. Soon Spoon’s reward system might not have typical perks such as coupons or appetizer discounts, but they will have a point system to provide personal touches like artisanal chocolates, pastries, and a seat at monthly pop-up dinners in private residences around Boston.
Soon Spoon’s point system works the other way as well, detracting points for cancellations and no-shows. An impetus for creating the concept was Lowry’s own last-minute cancellation at Strip T’s in Watertown. “I saw an opportunity to help both restaurants and diners,” says Lowry. “I felt terrible about canceling a reservation for six at Strip T’s. But those things happen all the time at restaurants. It’s not impossible to dine spontaneously. We help facilitate that fun, serendipitous experience.”