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American Express Acquires Tock for $400 Million

American Express Acquires Tock for $400 Million

American Express is doubling down on dinner reservations.

The credit-card company already owns the reservation platform Resy. Now it’s getting into the high-end restaurant game by acquiring Tock, a similar platform, for $400 million, Bloomberg reported on Friday.

Tock was created by the Alinea co-founder Nick Kokonas back in 2014, as a way for fine-dining restaurants to manage reservations and decrease the number of no-show diners. It was eventually bought by Squarespace, and now it’s used by some 7,000 dining establishments and entertainment outlets.

“It gives restaurants and merchants more unique tools in one place to help them run their business and connect with more premium diners,” Howard Grosfield, the president of U.S. consumer services for American Express, told Bloomberg about the acquisition.

Along with Tock, AmEx bought the company Rooam, which was founded in 2015. The platform carries out multiple functions for restaurants and other venues, including running mobile payments and marketing and loyalty systems, Bloomberg noted. The specifics of that deal were not shared publicly.

The push into restaurant companies proves just how important the culinary world is to AmEx and its customers. Those with an American Express card spent more than $100 billion on restaurants last year, Grosfield said in a statement. By adding Tock to its stable—along with Resy, which it purchased in 2019—AmEx will have the chance to give its wealthiest customers even more experiences and perks. Just in New York City, for example, Tock is used by the Michelin three-starred restaurant Per Se and the two-starred Jean-Georges, among others.

At the same time, restaurants are important partners for AmEx, Bloomberg noted. With the addition of Tock, the company will be able to push more customers in that direction. That’ll be valuable for American Express and for diners—especially at a time when securing a reservation at some of the most popular restaurants is harder to do than ever before.

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AmEx has been making moves to appeal to more high-net-worth individuals in recent years. The acquisition of Tock is a step further in that direction. Whether it will work remains to be seen, but if having an American Express card means you’ll get first rights to a table at Per Se, we wouldn’t bet against it.

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