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First table, best deal

First Table founder Mat Weir. PHOTO/SUPPLIED


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Securing the first table while dining in Wairarapa is about to get more appetising than ever.

Business First Table, which offers 50 per cent off meals if you book a restaurant’s first table of the night, has set it eyes on Wairarapa.

Farriers, La Pancetta, The Pukemanu, Greytown Hotel, the Tin Hut, Cafe Iberia, Masterton Motor Lodge and the Gladstone Inn have all already signed up to the deal.

The business will launch in Wairarapa today.

First Table bookings are made online and can only be used for bookings of two to four people.

A booking fee of $10 is paid to First Table, and 50 per cent of the food bill is deducted at the end of the meal.

Business development executive Cameron Steele said First Table was founded by Mat Weir after he noticed early-bird deals popping up in Queenstown.

Mr Steele said the theory was that if you get somebody seated in those visible tables at the start of the night people walking by would look in, think they were obviously doing something right, and naturally gravitate towards it.

“Nobody wants to be the first person to go into an empty restaurant.”

Since then the idea has spread like wildfire and with about 530 restaurants participating in the offer, the company now has a projected turnover of $1 million a year.

Mr Steele said the deals worked out well for both the restaurant and the punter.

“It’s a real win, win.”

But its popularity has made the booking process competitive.

“Obviously, restaurants aren’t going to give a deal of that size out indiscriminately,” he said.

Some restaurants might only choose to run the offer on certain nights.

“It’s first in, best dressed – especially once the concept really catches on,” he said.

“So down in Queenstown where it all began, we have got about 15,000 people who are registered as diners.”

When the availability turns over at midnight, every night there would be about 100 bookings roll in.

Moving forwards, the company is focused on the international market.

“We are admittedly starting to concentrate more on the overseas market, we are opening up in London as we speak.

“We are going to be spending a lot more time growing our Australian market in 2018.”


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