One of my biggest hobbies, aside from loving tech, is food. Eating out at a good restaurant is the best way to put a smile on my face. One of the issues I face living in the NYC area is that every new and popular restaurant is reserved weeks, if not months, in advance. In order to combat this, I have been leveraging three apps to make sure I get prompt reservations but also to earn a little cash back and perks along the way. In this article I want to share the three best food reservation apps and how I use them to not only make reservations, but also earn some perks just by using them!
Before we begin, I did want to mention that these are in no particular order. Also, feel free to use all three of them or just one. They will help you get reservations and also make it a little easier on the wallet when dining at these restaurants. Let’s begin!
Seated is my most used app out of the three that I am going to mention. What I love about this is the amount of value they provide the user, and it’s absolutely free. Nothing to pay for, and no need to input a credit card anywhere, it’s just a magical cash-back reservation app. It works just like any other reservation app – you input your location, see participating restaurants, pick your time, and book it. But what sets this apart is that each of these locations will give you cash back just for deciding to dine there.
How it works:
- Input location
- Choose participating restaurant
- Book your time slot
- After dining either take a picture of the receipt or screenshot the credit card transaction
- Within 24 hours, Seated will deposit the cash back in your Seated account
- Redeem those points for gift cards and cash
You can see from the image above that I would end up getting over $20 to $30 at some restaurants, which can go a long way. I have seen cashback percentages that range from 5% all the way to 30%. So if you go to a nice dinner and spend $100, you will get $30 back in some cases; even better is when you go with a group and you decide to put it all on your card and they Venmo you after. You could have a $500 bill and earn $150 back! There is no limit to the amount of cashback you can earn.
The app is user-friendly; the UI is simple and intuitive. The app has also helped me discover some local restaurants that I otherwise would have never gone to. There is a big caveat with this app, though. It currently is only usable in a few major cities in the US.
- NYC area (includes portions of north NJ and other NY boroughs)
There are cities that are added on a monthly basis, but unfortunately, if you are not in these areas, the app is not very usable. But, if you are in any of the above locations, I highly recommend giving this app a try!
OpenTable might be the food reservation app that is most familiar to you. It has been around since the Yelp days. What sets OpenTable apart from the rest of the competition is purely longevity in the market; they have one of the largest libraries of participating restaurants. The first thing restaurant owners do when the open a new location is make sure they are searchable on OpenTable. The app is also very easy to use; the idea is similar to Seated. Input your location, see what is around, pick a time, and then go and enjoy your meal.
They also have a reward system, although not as rewarding as the Seated system I mentioned above. Their reward system is based on milestones and amount of times you use the app itself. You get rewarded for making reservations as well as arriving at your reservation on time. The point redemption opportunities are a bit less appealing and they take longer to achieve, but you can still redeem them for Kayak coupons, as well as Amazon gift cards.
There is really nothing negative to say about this app. It has a huge selection of restaurants, it is a reputable brand, doesn’t cost anything to use, and it has a way of rewarding its users with its point system.
Resy’s value to its users is that it caters to a higher-end audience, both from a user perspective as well as a dining perspective. They also consider themselves a technology company first, which just so happens to be in the food reservation space – this combination of exclusivity, as well as a technology-focused mission, yields an amazing app experience.
Resy has no cash back or point system and does not really incentivize its users to stick around, but what keeps bringing people back is the selection of dining establishments and the usability of the app. If anything, one of Resy’s features is that in order to reserve a table, you need to have a credit card in the system because if you skip the reservation, they have the right to charge you a fee.
Resy also has a great feature called Notify, which notifies you whenever an open reservation becomes available. So if you are dying to go to the latest dinner spot but there are no reservations available, add it to your Notify list and Resy will make sure you are aware when it opens up. Overall the app is great, their portfolio of restaurants alone makes it worth owning. What is nice, just like the others, is that it is 100% free to use, so it’s an easy addition to the food reservation app repertoire.
At the end of the day, you will use the app that you are most familiar with and the one that gives you the most options in your area. If you live in any of the areas that Seated is supported, I highly recommend giving it a chance. The amount of value you get in exchange for essentially nothing is unheard of. The cashback I get from Seated is my budget for my Starbucks addiction!
What is your go-to food reservation app? Have you heard of the ones I mentioned? Do you even use food reservation apps? Let’s discuss this in the comments below! Also, leave a comment on the next “Top 3” list I should write about!
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