Tock, restaurateur Nick Kokonas' highly anticipated ticketing system, has officially launched in beta. In a blog post, Kokonas writes that his Chicago restaurant Next — which offers a different themed menu every few months — is booking tables through Tock as of today. Kokonas' other Chicago restaurants, Alinea and The Aviary, will adopt the system in the next few weeks. After that, the company plans to transfer the 21 restaurants in its pilot program to Tock. Starting in July, Tock will open up its system to new restaurants. Kokonas notes that the full system is "still a work in progress."
Kokonas tells Eater that Tock is unlike any other reservation site: "This whole thing is brand new...Tock is completely rebuilt from the ground up." However, Kokonas explained to Eater in November, "It can do everything OpenTable can do, and then some." Tock is organized "by experiences not reservations," he explains in the blog post. This means that with the system restaurants will be able to create various types of reservations based on time, locations, chef's tastings, and even special events that "co-exist seamlessly" in the system. Kokonas adds that any restaurant will be able to set up the system in under 30 minutes and start accepting paid bookings as soon as 24 hours later.
Tock's interface is minimal and clean, and Kokonas believes it is easy to navigate. Customers simply go to the website to choose their desired experience, an optimal date, and the number of people in their party. After that, the "full inventory" or every reservation time and price, including those that are sold out, is shown. Kokonas notes: "Transparency is key. Knowing both what is available and what is sold gives consumers confidence that they are being dealt with clearly and fairly."
A number of noteworthy restaurants are adopters of early iterations of Tock. In December, chef Thomas Keller announced that both of his three Michelin-starred restaurants (Per Se, The French Laundry) will switch from OpenTable to Tock in the spring. London's The Clove Club — which announced its switch to Tock in March — is the first restaurant in the UK to switch to a tickets system. San Francisco's Coi and Austin's Qui have also adopted versions of Kokonas' system.