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Restaurants embrace premium reservations to target big spenders


The OpenTable website on a mobile phone arranged in Dobbs Ferry, New York, May 1, 2021.Tiffany Hagler-Geard | Bloomberg | Getty ImagesUnder pressure from rising costs and still feeling the hangover from pandemic losses, restaurants are embracing reservations that target higher-income diners as more consumers book their tables ahead of time.The pandemic changed how many people ate out, driving food delivery sales higher and hobbling buffet-style eateries, a segment that was already struggling. But one of the lasting changes to dining behavior has been the increasing popularity of reservations, particularly those made online.When cities and states rolled back lockdown rules, many implemented new orders for restaurants to help with contact tracing, such as requiring customers to book tables in advance. Even after vaccination requirements disappeared, higher demand for reservations has stuck around. Booking Holdings’ OpenTable reservation service said …

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