50 percent off: First Table may just be one of the sweetest restaurant booking deals to hit Bali, but a ton of conditions apply

Copper Kitchen at Bisma Eight, one of the participating restaurants in Bali. Photo: Bisma Eight
Copper Kitchen at Bisma Eight, one of the participating restaurants in Bali. Photo: Bisma Eight

A new restaurant booking platform called First Table has launched in Bali and it offers a discount of 50 percent off your entire bill, but read the terms and conditions carefully, because there are a lot of them.

It’s not like you thought a 50 percent discount would come easy, now did you?

First off, you’ve got to pay a booking fee of IDR100k (US$6.59), which does not get put back as credit on to your bill. There is no spending minimum or cap, but — we did the math, crunched some numbers on our smartphone screens — and it looks like if you want to get full value out of this deal, you’d need to spend more than IDR200k (US$13.18).

And no, you can’t just stack a table full of people to rack up the cost the bill, because the conditions require that the table booking has to be for parties of two to four people. At least children are included in the head count.

“Over ordering” is not allowed i.e., ordering food for takeaway — the rules of the deal require dinners to stick to “dining in only.”

The worst part: You can’t use the 50 percent discount towards alcohol orders. (Well, at least that’s what we think is the worst).

Some restaurants also exclude some menu items (probably the really, really good stuff) — these exclusions are listed under “special conditions” when you make your booking.

We’re actually quite impressed with the caliber of participating restaurants they’ve managed to rack up in Bali, which are listed as Kembali Bumbuk, Golden Monkey, Nusantara by Locavore, Copper Kitchen, Padi Fine Dining, Settimo Cielo, and Saigon Street, among others (there are 28 as of writing time).

Launching in Bali as its first Indonesian location on Monday, First Table currently operates in 50 cities across New Zealand, Australia, the UK, and Ireland.

The whole goal of the platform is for the restaurant to guarantee it’s going to have one table booked for a night. Going off the whole domino effect concept, the platform plays off the idea that no one wants to eat in an empty restaurant, so by booking out the “first table” in advance through the platform, restaurants get the ball rolling and reward early bookers, whose presence can attract more customers. 

So, that means only one “First Table” can be booked per restaurant per night, so it’s not something you can wait ’til the last minute to commit to — unless you’re choosing an unpopular restaurant, lolz. Restaurant availability is listed on the First Table website after midnight each night.

Another caveat: You don’t get to choose the time you want to dine. Time slots for each date and place are listed on the website and when we checked, all were for either 6pm or 6:30pm, since you’re meant to be the first party at the restaurant for dinner.

“There’s only one table available per restaurant each night so it’s first in, best fed,” the booking platform’s founder, Mat Weir said in a statement shared with Coconuts Bali.

First Table orders can be cancelled, but don’t do it, because you’ll lose your IDR100k booking fee.

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