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OpenTable: Enemy No. 1 for Restaurateurs?

Jason Kottke quotes a couple restaurateurs from New York and San Fran who are not fans of the ubiquitous reservations system. I wonder if you Dallas operators feel the same way.

22 comments on “OpenTable: Enemy No. 1 for Restaurateurs?

  1. If the restaurateurs don’t like it, then give us an option. Diners aren’t married to OpenTable, just to the concept of easy, three-click reservations without having to pick up the phone. I don’t know squat about web programming, but how hard can it be to have your computerized reservation system tied into something on your website? Take the third party out of it entirely.

  2. Wow – about an $11 fee per reservation! That’s a lot of dough. Sounds like it’s time for a competitor or at least some open source method of doing it.

    Isn’t there some restauranteurs association that could get behind this?

    I use OpenTable because it’s convenient. Don’t have any idea what the awards part of it is about though…

  3. After reading various reports like this one I have quit using open table all together and will call the restaurant directly for reservatoins any time I need one.

    It would be pretty smart thinking for say a magazine with an extensive list of restaurant reviews, etc, to cross market a reservation system at a lower price point than Open Table.

  4. I had no idea the fee was that steep. Now I feel especially bad for making Restaurant Week reservations over OpenTable (which, to be sure, is actually the only time I ever make reservations).

    I’ll stick the phone from now on.

  5. I just did a cursory search and found a number of options for web site developers. If you use WordPress for your site (as SideDish does) there are a handful of systems that allow online bookings.

    Herbert Hoover said ““Competition is not only the basis of protection to the consumer, but is the incentive to progress.”

  6. The only think Kessler and I need now is a bill to address for our consulting services to D Magazine. I could send it downtown, but I bet I can just drop it off, attn: Tim, at the Monk and it will get processed faster.

  7. I’ll give Opentable some credit. When I’m out of town, I can view restaurants in the area where I’m staying and read the reviews. I tend to make reservations when the restaurants are not open, so the online option is essential. And there are no screw ups with the reservation.

  8. @CB try Yelp (no reservations but very reliable info.). I have used for over 100 business trips this year across the US.

  9. To answer the question about why no one has come up with a more competitively priced product, they have. Just look up GuestBridge reservation system. Before I left Fogo de Chao to start my own venture, we passed on Open Table and installed GuestBridge nationwide. We rejected OT based on price and the fact that they would have control of our immense customer database which they would use to promote other restaurants and our direct competitors. GuestBridge allowed us to take reservations on our website and self-manage our customer contacts. A few months after installing the system on our website, the 800 lb. gorilla that is Open Table acquired GuestBridge and our thousands of reservations. This is why, for the time being, we are relying on the old fashioned phone for our reservations at Horne & Dekker.

  10. Eleven bucks or twenty-five cents … pretty big difference? So what gives? Where are these numbers coming from and who is right?

  11. There are many different ways OT can charge restaurants. I can ASSURE you it is a lot more than 25 cents per rez but not necessarily $11 either. Again, diff if you install their software, pay monthly, etc.

    I know many that despise it but just as many that would never run a restaurant.

    Look at the group that started OT. Pretty elite group of marketing gurus.

  12. OpenTable is darn easy to use and you can make reservations at any time — you don’t have to wait for the restaurant to be open. Just the other day I called a restaurant to make reservations for Thanksgiving. I couldn’t understand the woman that answered the phone and the conversation took several minutes between being put on hold, having the hostess try and understand their reservation system and then to find out they didn’t have any time in the spot I wanted. So, on to the next restaurant.

  13. OpenTable charges a fixed amount ($200) per restaurant per month (for which they provide the restaurant with a computer with the OpenTable software pre-loaded, as well as pretty good phone support). Reservations made on-line are $1 per cover (person) if made through OpenTable’s network (or their iPhone app) or $0.25 if made directly through the Restaurant’s Website.

  14. If the restaurant is a 1000 point per reservation restaurant….it cost $7.00 per person…it is only .25 if the customer books on open table thru the restaurants own website.