With the weather finally warming up, we are all anxious to celebrate the sun and try out those restaurants we’ve been reading about. However, the weather is ever-changing, and in a city like Chicago, it’s rare that the sun shines every day of Spring- so how do you make sure the reservations you want to make go hand in hand with the weather you’re looking to enjoy when it can be so last minute? That’s where Top-Top comes into play- find out more below in our interview with Todd Reed, Founder of Top-Top.
How does Top-Top differ from other reservation sites?
There are a lot of them out there! We differ in several ways. First, we don’t ask you to pay for a reservation with your time. We only offer prime time, ‘week-of’ reservations. This lets users gain a consensus on where they feel like going before making a commitment. We also give restaurants the ability to market their best tables & unique experiences. When guests come to our site, they’re greeted by a list of good reservations rather than a list of what is left over. Finally, we are not a discount site or a ‘concierge’ service. All of the reservations on our list are actually available, so there is no back & forth. We don’t require you to use a mobile payment system when you book with us, nor do we use your consumer data to leverage your ability to gain access. In short, we provide more & cost less than any other service in the market.
What was the inspiration behind Top-Top?
My business partner & I both moved to Chicago in 2004. In the last ten years we’ve seen the number of restaurants in Chicago explode and the quality levels reach staggering new heights. Restaurants are now stimulating demand to the point that good reservations are nearly impossible to get. Right now, the most challenging part of dining out is just getting a reservation. We studied the reasons for the problem and are confident it is one that we can fix!
The site is so great, I would bet it’s very useful for out of town guests and Chicagoans alike. Do you think Top-Top helps (or can help) people from out of town to find the best of Chicago if they are not familiar with local restaurants?
We hope so! While we don’t aspire to be a review site, we’ve built our marketing campaigns to raise awareness for the things that make each restaurant different & great. In our influencer program, called the ‘Top-Top Treatment’ campaign, we sponsor a dinner series with five food bloggers to visit new restaurants each month & create a unique tasting menu. Our Twitter hashtags, #toptoptopdo & #toptopfeeling, focus on what’s happening in the city each week & let’s readers know what we feel like eating at any point in time! Our Instagram campaign lets users submit photos that capture the ethos of a restaurant, which we then geo tag & publish. These are the tools that we see modern travelers using, & we hope they find our contributions helpful.
What was the inspiration behind the name ‘Top-Top?’
It’s less of an inspiration, & more of a story really. We originally trademarked a different name for the site & where approached by a competitor that wanted to purchase it. They were good guys & the money made sense, so we spent a few weeks focussing on what we wanted to stand for & what sets us apart. That’s when we came up with the idea to give consumers the option to select an individual table, or the restaurants ‘Top-Tops’.
How does Top-Top help take the stress out of making dinner reservations?
The benefit to using the service is convenience & the ability to select where you sit. The way that restaurants handle reservations is frankly inhospitable. Their best guests, the ones that have busy lives and pay for convenience, are asked to book weeks in advance, choose from a list of what is left over, call several restaurants until they find something, or walk in & risk long wait times. What we’ve created gives restaurants an opportunity to turn this around by improving their offering & receiving security. That removes stress for both parties.