First Table Reaches 200 Restaurant Milestone

Written by: Matthias McGregor on

New Zealand startup First Table celebrated an important milestone today as they signed up their 200th restaurant. The innovative platform empowers restauranteurs to fill those difficult early reservations by offering half-priced meals to web-savvy foodies.

“We’re incredibly proud to hit 200 restaurants” said First Table founder Mat Weir, who launched the startup in September 2014 with eateries in his hometown of Queenstown.

Eighteen months of nonstop growth

From humble beginnings First Table has spread rapidly to 15 cities in New Zealand and Australia. Hawke’s Bay became the latest First Table city to launch today with 12 restaurants already on board in the region and taking bookings.

Restaurants are excited to sign up to First Table as a way to reach new patrons in the typically quieter early hours of evening. They offer a 50% off early bird special to attract First Table users, who can sign up for free and make bookings at www.firsttable.co.nz.

“We started out by signing up our favourite restaurants personally,” said Weir, “but now word has spread and they’ve started approaching us to get on board. Restaurant owners tell me it’s a great way to market themselves to new clients and create a good atmosphere at the start of the evening. Meanwhile for our users, First Table is all about being rewarded for being an early bird.”

The early bird catches the worm

Weir launched First Table after noticing a rise in restaurants offering early bird deals.

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“Happy hours have been around since before prohibition and they’ve long been recognised as a great way to get people in the door. What we find is that diners will try out new places thanks to First Table, then happily return and pay full price on their next visit.”

For restauranteurs, First Table represents a way to offer a special on their own terms.

David Robinson, owner of popular restaurant Vikki Lane Bar & Kitchen in Auckland City tells us:

“Traditional coupon operators and discounters didn’t work for us and often created more problems than they solved. We found that if the conditions were too stringent it annoyed the customers, but if the discount was too broad we risked being inundated at times that were already busy with full paying guests.”

Smart marketing

With First Table, restaurants have all the control, and can choose how many early tables to offer each day and what time they would like those reservations. Behind the scenes, the First Table website automatically generates Facebook adverts naming the restaurants with early reservations available on a given day.

First Table’s vision is to become a global platform for restaurants all over the world to use as a marketing tool to potential customers.

“Moving to a new city and discovering a new favourite place to eat is an incredibly satisfying experience,” says Weir. “But it can be a daunting experience too, so our goal is to make it an easy and enjoyable one. We’re also very excited about showing off the best of New Zealand cuisine to foreigners moving here, as we grow our user base overseas.”

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