Nick Kokonas, the founder and CEO of Tock, a restaurant experience booking engine and co-owner of the Alinea Restaurant Group that includes Alinea, Next, The Aviary, Roister and St. Clair Supper Club has reported a considerable increase in the number of restaurant cancellations over the past few days.
As the spike in coronavirus (COVID 19) cases rises around the world, anonymous data that represents restaurants, wineries, events in 30 countries and hundreds of cities around the world have shown a sharp decline of over 22 per cent.
Writing on Twitter, Kokonas said that whole there has been a slight decline that began several weeks ago, a sharp decline took place in the past week. “Overall booking inflow is down 22 per cent while cancellations have spiked.”
He said that the good news is that inflow of bookings continued to exceed cancellations for restaurant bookings. However, Tock also sells experiences, i.e. restaurants that normally release tables on certain days as pre-paid bookings. “The decline in this category is self-evident. Refund requests and cancellations have spiked. It is the first time ever since we launched Tock that overall outflow has exceeded inflow of bookings.”
In a detailed post on Medium, he has also shared the experience at the Alinea Group and how they are handling the crisis.
Among the short term measures that have been taken are
- liminated overtime hours wherever possible — goal is zero
- Reduced our business team’s and managers salaried wages by 35%
- Pressed managers into working stations / service
- Ownership has eliminated our salaries completely
- Requested rent abatement from our landlords for the duration of the crisis
- Planned to utilize and downsize existing inventory of dry goods, wine, liquor rather than ordering more and growing our cellars
Nick Kokonas said the Alinea Group has refunded over 300,000K in the past week and will contine to cancel, reschedule, refund any guest for any reason no questions asked. It is the right thing to do.