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Photo via OpenTable
Photo via OpenTable

It’s probably the most loathsome two words in service land — surge pricing — and it might become a common restaurant practice soon.

Made famous by Uber, which has even tried to patent the practice, surge pricing is now a concept that restaurant app OpenTable is testing with some hard-to-get-into restaurants in New York City.

OpenTable posted about its test plan on its blog, citing rising costs in the food-serving industry and more convenient ways to “better connect diners and restaurants” as reasons to adopt the practice.

“When research revealed that many OpenTable diners are willing to pay for last-minute, prime-time reservations at popular restaurants, we launched into exploration,” wrote Vannie Shu, who leads global product marketing for consumer platforms at OpenTable.

“We’re excited to see whether OpenTable’s Premium Reservations can help you grow revenue and delight valuable guests seamlessly,” Shu continued.

Premium Reservations will allow last-minute reservations at hot restaurants via its iPhone app, and only those that are Apple Pay enabled and in NYC searches.

After the test period, Shu writes that OpenTable will “analyze how diners respond, looking at what price points work best for them.”

If the virtual palm-greasing works, they might roll it out into other markets.

No word on what the average markups will be, but according to GeoMarketing, a premium reservation during peak times (Friday and Saturday nights) may run customers up to $50 more on top of their bill. They also report that 100 percent of the proceeds are supposed to go to the restaurants.

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