In fact wine sites are what many restaurateurs, especially those who run small establishments and can't afford to give tastings to the staff, find truly handy. Sunfish Grill chef-proprietor Tony Sindaco uses them “to educate waiters,” he admits. “I make a printout of the properties of a particular wine, then they can go to the table and sell it.” He also keeps up with what the vineyards are releasing so he knows what to order.
All said and done, the most frequently used Web-related service by professionals is the same one consumers are taking advantage of: the online reservation game. OpenTable.com, an especially well-funded national site, seems to be the most popular in Miami right now. Astor Place, for instance, got in almost immediately. “It's a computerized way of booking reservations, tracking customers, and seating the restaurant,” executive chef Johnny Vinczencz enthuses. “It's an actual computer that sits on the hostess stand and is kinda cool.” It's also kinda profitable, given that the computer stores info about customers that owner Karim Masri can access in an instant. And no matter how addicting wild goose chases through linked Websites may prove, in the end revenue will determine just what the Internet will mean to any given professional.