Bookatable has acquired pre-order and pre-payment booking platform EasyPreOrders (EPO).
The Michelin-owned company has said the acquisition will help strengthen its offer, allowing booking, ordering and payment to be completed upfront.
Michel Cassius, Bookatable CEO, told The Caterer: "EPO is a company we know well, we've been working with these guys for more than two years and we've learnt the effect and the importance of what they provide for both restaurants and diners.
"Restaurants need some guarantee that when guests book they are going to turn up, it's clear that pre-payment is one way of doing that. We already offer a credit card guarantee but this adds extra functionality. We've also seen that when you pre-order you tend to make a booking far further in advance - up to two weeks rather than three days - it allows restaurants to better plan supplies and resources.
"For the diner they have access to the menu and they're not going to have a discussion about who pays what at the end. We've looked at it, worked with EPO and decided its something we want to add to our offering."
Cassius said that from 2017-18 use of the function grew 100%, with interest shown across both casual and fine dining.
Founder and managing director of EPO, Mark Roberts, added: "Bookatable has always shared EPO's mission of using technology to make going out to eat more streamlined for both restaurants and diners, so we are absolutely delighted to be joining forces to make that happen on a larger scale."
Cassius spoke to The Caterer about the importance of continually developing technology. He said: "When you're a tech company you need to make sure you respond to the consumer, to do this you need to reinvent yourself on a regular basis. A few years back, even five years ago, digital booking was in its infancy. We are actually not a mature market, there's a big way to go but it's a market here to grow."
The CEO identified voice activated systems and streamlining with platforms such as digital maps and social media as areas of focus. He explained: "These are inspiration models, where people will look and see exciting places to go. Before you would have made a note somewhere or liked an image to remember it, but if you start integrating with the Bookatable button then you make it simple. It's about simplification and making the point of booking as close as possible to the search or the inspiration."
Four EPO employees will transfer into Bookatable's team.Get The Caterer every week on your smartphone, tablet, or even in good old-fashioned hard copy (or all three!).