Tock, the Dining Reservation System, Now in Use by Local Galleries for Private Appointments
By GINNY VAN ALYEA
Many of us have come to rely on easy online reservation systems for making dinner reservations and personal service appointments without having to (gasp!) make an actual phone call. Now, amidst the COVID-19 sea change that has hammered businesses at every level, Tock, headed by CEO Nick Kokonas, of Alinea and Next fame, has started to offer its booking service to area galleries. Currently there are six – primarily West Town – spaces online under 'arts': The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Western Exhibitions, DOCUMENT, Volume, Rhona Hoffman, Andrew Rafacz and PATRON. These art spaces also appear among the general list of restaurants offering in-person dining as well as carry-out.
Users who visit Tock can enter the number of people in their party, the date and time they would like to visit. Available results will appear, you can select your time frame and make your reservation. On the back end, galleries can provide their own availability and any individual restrictions.
According to a spring 2020 article in Forbes, Kokonas galvanized his team to build a delivery and takeout platform that would enable easy setup for restaurants who were becoming reliant on to-go ordering, once diners were no longer coming in to restaurants. More associated with reservations for fine dining establishments like Alinea, Tock saw the need to pivot to support restaurants' changing needs and offerings.
Kokonas told Forbes, “We built this all in a week, utilizing Tock's existing data structures and back end. But we really had a team going 24/7 because we anticipated this shut down,” explained Kokonas. “It wasn't difficult to watch what was happening in Italy and realize it was likely to happen here as well.”
Now businesses beyond restaurants (galleries and museums) are able to use the platform as a means of streamlining the process of private appointments that are now so necessary in order to visit spaces that were closed for so many months and that are also unlikely to have the staff to handle complex scheduling.
As galleries in the Chicago area begin to re-open one by one and host exhibitions in their physical spaces again, we encourage you to pay them a visit to engage with art. Tock offers a new way to make your visit to several of them even easier.