I just wanted to take a few minutes to follow up on my post about The French Laundry. They actually reached out to me last week, following my blog post, and I'm sorry that I've been neglectful in not posting a follow-up sooner.
Based on my conversations with them, it sounds like they were planning the transition for two years and that the transition project was complex. In addition to switching systems, they needed to load existing reservations into the system. It sounds like a big pain point was having people calling in constantly, being put on hold, and some other issues along those lines.
Another issue which they didn't explicitly say, but I imagine may have been an issue for them; if they pre-announced their switch to the TockTix system, Open Table may have reacted by dropping their existing service, leaving The French Laundry in a big reservation mess. While we like to imagine business relationships behaving professionally, the reality is that, even in business, these kinds of breaks aren't as clean and unemotional as we'd hope.
It goes without saying that switching a core business system like this is not a decision that the business makes lightly, but the team at The French Laundry clearly hopes that this will help streamline the reservation process and make the restaurant more accessible than it has been in the past.
A special thanks and a hat-tip to the team at The French Laundry for
reaching out to us and responding. I do think that businesses that reach
out to customers (or potential customers) like that deserve kudos.
On a personal note, we won't be going to The French Laundry for my wife's birthday. While we imagine the experience would would make for a very magical milestone, the memory of a lifetime; in the flurry of all of this, we opted to go to Hawaii. That being said, I'm confident that the guy behind us in line will be positively thrilled with the experience.