June 23, 2024

Struggling to Make a Restaurant Reservation? Try These 5 Apps and Services to Beat the Queues

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Securing a reservation at one of the top restaurants in town can be challenging, especially in busy cities. Try out these apps to help you snag a table at the most in-demand restaurants and enjoy some of the best food around.

How to Make Restaurant Reservations

The most common way to make a reservation at a restaurant is to call ahead of the intended date of dining and request a table. While this works well for most restaurants, some popular locations can have fully booked tables months in advance. While the traditional route of calling a restaurant to secure a reservation is still a great first step, it often falls short, and hungry diners are left without a seat at the table.

If you are traveling and want to get a reservation at a local hot spot without the fuss of calling ahead, try asking for a concierge service that is available to you. Access to these services is often found within hotels and associated with credit cards that may already be in your wallet.

If you are left with no assistance and calling ahead does not garner you a seat at the table, consider using your smartphone to make a reservation. Some of the most popular restaurants around the world rely on digital systems to manage bookings, and the following apps may give you an edge.

1. Resy

Resy Austin homepage

Resy is one of the largest and most popular restaurant reservation applications, hosting many of the most popular restaurants in high-traffic cities like New York. It also caters to smaller towns and most likely has a few restaurants on offer near you.

Instead of crowdsourcing user reviews to gather details about a restaurant, Resy takes a more curated approach. It provides insight into why a patron may love the restaurant, what events the space is ideal for, and a general cost range per person.

It is important to note that Resy is only available through the Apple App Store or a web browser. It is not available for Android users.

Check out Resy’s curated lists to get ideas for your next date night, where it highlights restaurants based on one of three categories:

  • Top Rated: Most loved restaurants in an area
  • Climbing: Restaurants steadily moving up the list to join the top spots
  • New on Resy: Newly added restaurants to the app

Global Dining Access with benefits list

Global Dining Access is offered by Resy in conjunction with American Express. For American Express holders, it can mean the difference between getting a last-minute reservation and missing out. By providing priority service, if a reservation at the restaurant of your choice is canceled, Global Dining Access holders will get priority in booking the spot. In addition, at some of the most popular restaurants, American Express will pre-reserve a select number of tables for its members to enjoy, thereby guaranteeing a table for members.

To further entice those who love to enjoy the best dining around, Global Dining Access also hosts exclusive events at some of the most prestigious restaurants in major cities. These unique dining experiences are only available to be booked by Global Dining Access members.

2. Open Table

Open Table with Austin list

Open Table is the next best app to check when a desired restaurant is not listed on Resy. It hosts an impressive lineup of restaurants for most major cities. It is also the best option for Android users as it is available on Google Play, the Apple App Store, and online.

Open Table also offers insights into restaurants, such as its estimated cost per person per meal. It also lists Top Tags that help recommend restaurants based on desired qualities. Tags include helpful categories like:

  • Great for Fine Wines
  • Good for Special Occasions
  • Great for Creative Cocktails
  • Good for Business Meals
  • Good for Brunch

Trying to find the best restaurants near you? Be sure to also check out SnapChat’s restaurant recommendations on the Snap map.

3. Yelp

Yelp Reservations with Rose Gose Restaurant

Yelp remains one of the most popular business-reviewing applications. With its ability for users to post pictures and reviews and write recommendations, it has become an excellent way to crowdsourced opinions and information about restaurants worldwide.

Available on Apple and Android devices (as well as through its website), Yelp has become even more of a powerhouse by adding in-app reservations and wait lists. Users can now utilize the app to make restaurant reservations alongside reading reviews. One of the most beneficial features, however, is the waitlist section.

Should you fail to secure a reservation at a desired restaurant, you can join the wait list for walk-up service. In the past, this would have to be in person, and a patron would need to wait for a table. With Yelp’s waitlist feature, you can add yourself to a restaurant’s waitlist from anywhere. This allows patrons to avoid long wait times and arrive at the restaurant once a table is ready.

4. Tock

Tock with restaurant recommendations

Available for Apple and Android devices and via its website, Tock allows users to secure reservations for traditional dine-in tables and special dining experiences. It also features reservations for tastings and experiences at wineries.

Tock lacks some of the crowdsourced reviews and information included in other applications. However, it does include estimated price ranges by restaurant.

Tock stands out from other reservation applications by allowing anyone to reserve specialty dining experiences. Unlike Global Access Dining, no membership is required to make one of these reservations, often including curated meals from premier restaurants.

Indecisive about where to eat? Try one of these restaurant picker apps to guide you to your next favorite.

5. Appointment Trader

Appointment Trader with Lyla Dallas Offerings

If all else fails and you cannot book a reservation at a restaurant you would like to enjoy, consider purchasing a reservation from a service like Appointment Trader.

Appointment Trader hosts sellers and allows them to list secured reservations of any kind for a price they choose. Luckily, this includes restaurant reservations for some of the most prestigious restaurants. When it comes to hard to get reservations in cities like New York, this may be the best option.

Unfortunately, purchasing reservations often comes with a hefty price tag. But, if it is a restaurant you have your heart set on, the price may just be worth it.