Website builder Squarespace buys Tock, the reservation platform that pivoted to help restaurants during the pandemic, for over $400 million

  • Tock is a restaurant reservation system known for processing prepaid premium dining experiences. 
  • Squarespace said e-commerce within the hospitality industry is a large and growing opportunity. 
  • Tock’s founder Nick Kokonas created the platform as an antidote to OpenTable. 
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Tock, a restaurant reservation system known for booking prepaid premium dining experiences, has been purchased by Squarespace for more than $400 million, the website builder announced late Wednesday.

“E-commerce within the restaurant and hospitality industries is a large and growing market opportunity,” Anthony Casalena, Squarespace founder and CEO, said in a statement. “I’ve long admired Tock’s vision to reimagine how reservation-based businesses connect with their customers.”

Tock was founded by Nick Kokonas, co-owner of The Alinea Group, which operates fine dining restaurants in Chicago including the Michelin-starred Alinea. 

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Kokonas, a well-known critic of third-party reservation systems like OpenTable, created an early iteration of Tock a decade ago to reduce losses tied to last-minute no-shows.  In 2019, he told trade publication Restaurant Hospitality that he was losing $800,000 a year from cancellations and no-shows. 

Tock required prepaid reservations. In 2014, he opened Tock’s prepaid reservation system to other restaurants. Eventually, Tock expanded its platform to more directly compete with Resy and OpenTable by adding standard no-fee reservations and table management for restaurants. 

During the pandemic, Tock launched Tock to Go, which allows restaurants to handle takeout orders without relying on third-party delivery platforms.

“We realized that the only option for any type of restaurant, even the fine-dining ones, was carry-out operations,” Kokonas told Insider in a previous interview. 

Tock added carry-out and delivery options, take-home experiences, vouchers for future reservations, and groceries.

Read More: The pandemic caused the restaurant industry to radically reinvent itself in less than a year. Experts say these 4 trends will remain even after COVID-19 recedes

Today, Tock works with more than 7,000 restaurants, wineries, galleries, farms, boutiques, and even car dealerships.  To date, Tock has processed over $1 billion in prepaid experiences. 

In a statement, Kokonas said Squarespace and Tock share the same mission of delivering “a best-in-class solution to millions of entrepreneurs and small businesses around the world.”

Earlier this month, Squarespace raised about $300 million in its latest funding round, valuing the website building and hosting company at $10 billion. The raise comes less than two months after the company confidentially filed paperwork for a US stock market listing, according to Reuters. 

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