Guest post: Seated app review

Today's post is another guest contribution from Robert Dwyer about his experience with a new restaurant reservation and rewards app called Seated. You can follow all Robert's culinary and viticultural adventures on Twitter @RobertDwyer.

We wanted to check out a new spot for brunch this past Sunday. I recalled seeing some of the better/up and coming restaurants in the Boston area in the Seated app so I gave it a try.

Their program works by giving you gift cards (Starbucks, Uber, Amazon) when you make a reservation and dine at participating restaurants.

I like deals where I get rewarded for doing something I wanted to do anyway.

How it works (from their site)

  1. Download the Seated app (available on iOS and Android) 
  2. Search from the best restaurants in your city, and pick when you'd like to eat 
  3. Choose your $15-$40 reward credit (Uber, Starbucks, or Amazon) 
  4. Book dinner, eat, and repeat! 

My experience using Seated

Making a reservation via the app is pretty straightforward. You select your city then can sort by cuisine/neighborhood/price. Strangely they don’t seem to allow search by restaurant name, perhaps to encourage discovery? Not sure, but with enough scrolling I was able to find the restaurant wanted.

From there, you have to make a reservation through the app. The reward you get depends on the number of people in your party and the time of the reservation.

For our Sunday brunch for 3 people we needed to spend $72 before tax and tip to get a $17 reward. For the same restaurant for dinner tonight 3 people would need to spend $90 to get a $15 reward.

This is smart on their part because they can tune the reward to encourage you to spend more than you otherwise would. And it allows them to dial back rewards when demand is high.

It turns out, prices are quite modest at the restaurant we selected and we would have had to order things we didn’t really want to get to $72 for the 3 of us. It’s kind of like they dialed it in that way.

It’s unclear to me whether money spent on alcohol counts towards the spend target required for the reward. Some states have laws that are jumpy about these sorts of things, and MA is surely one of the worst in that regard. If alcohol were included, it could make hitting the target a lot easier. Let’s hope for the best in this regard and keep it on the down low if it works.

If we would have spent $72 we would have gotten paid out either by submitting an image of a receipt -or- by linking bank account credentials for them to monitor. Your choice. You don’t have to tell your server you’re dining with Seated or anything like that.

Bottom line

We would have gone to the restaurant anyway, and it was quite good so I don’t regret tinkering with the Seated app. But since I didn’t end up being rewarded for the dine it wasn’t a fruitful first experience.

That said, I’d happily try again in the future. Their list of participating restaurants in the area is terrific and it doesn’t take much cognitive bandwidth to use the service.

Sounds like too much work? Check out these three dining programs that earn rewards passively.