Reed Kavner / Rezhound
As of March 2022, Rezhound is no longer active.
I built Rezhound in 2012 as a way for me and my friends to score elusive reservations at San Francisco's State Bird Provisions, which had become the toughest table in town after Bon Appétit named it "the best new restaurant in America." I was just starting to teach myself to code and, to my complete surprise, this thing I built was working. Not only was the code working, but I was actually getting reservations.
I spent the next few months sprucing it up so I could release it publicly and allow anyone to use it for any restaurant on OpenTable. It was simple: Pick a restaurant and a date and time, and Rezhound would send you an email (I later added texting) if a reservation became available. It launched on January 14, 2013 to minimal fanfare, but just a few days later, thanks to stories in Gizmodo, Thrillist, Eater, and elsewhere, word was out.
In its lifetime, Rezhound fielded over 200,000 reservation requests for over 10,000 restaurants. Requests came from ordinary diners, hotel concierges, executive assistants, and even a few OpenTable employees. 235 users submitted more than 100 requests. Six submitted more than 1,000.
I discontinued Rezhound for two reasons. First, it broke constantly. (Of course it did. It was built by a guy who was just learning to code and it relied on data that it wasn't supposed to have access to.) But the bigger reason is that it had become less necessary. OpenTable now has their own alerts feature, all of the new reservation apps offer alerts, and someone even built a Rezhound-like app specifically for restaurants at Disneyland.
It was a thrill to see so many people use Rezhound over the years and to receive emails and tweets from users telling me about the meals and good times it gave them access to.
Rezhound was always free. If it was ever helpful to you, please consider making a donation to No Kid Hungry to support their efforts to end childhood hunger in America.