Jump to content
Pool Boy

OpenTable.Com

Recommended Posts

Reservations are only accepted for parties of 7 or more. Obviously then, no Open Table.

Even if they did take reservations remember that OT is very expensive and costs the restaurant $1 a person even if you don't show.

Dang. I hate waiting for a table. I much, much, much prefer having a reservation. And I *love* Open Table. Too bad it is so expensive for the restaurants....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't know it costs the restaurants to maintain it... I guess that explains why some of them don't participate.

But it is SO incredibly convenient to be able to see what's available on a given night, without calling every single restaurant and going through, "Well, what about 7? 7:30? What do you have?"

Jael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But it is SO incredibly convenient to be able to see what's available on a given night, without calling every single restaurant and going through, "Well, what about 7? 7:30? What do you have?"

And I'd bet that the restaurants appreciate not having to have those conversations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dang. I hate waiting for a table. I much, much, much prefer having a reservation.  And I *love* Open Table. Too bad it is so expensive for the restaurants....

Do you think $1 is expensive? I know margins are low in the food service industry but $1 customer aquisition cost seems very reasonable. Compare that to the telecom industry where aquisition costs are $500+ for a new broadband customer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dang. I hate waiting for a table. I much, much, much prefer having a reservation.  And I *love* Open Table. Too bad it is so expensive for the restaurants....

I love OpenTable.com. Once I made a reservation using it and at 4pm realized that I had made the reservation for the wrong (following) night. I went to the site, canceled my reservation and make one for 7:30 that night. When I got to the restaurant I found out it was Prom Night and they were telling folks that there was a hour and a half wait. We went to the desk, gave our name and were told, Yes we have your reservation, follow me. We were shown to our table right then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Do you think $1 is expensive?  I know margins are low in the food service industry but $1 customer aquisition cost seems very reasonable.  Compare that to the telecom industry where aquisition costs are $500+ for a new broadband customer.

I believe that the service costs the restaurant $1 a reservation, not $1 each customer. I'll double check today. By far the most attractive thing about OpenTable is the computerized reservation book. It keeps detailed customer histories, such as number of reservations, favorite table, favorite server, favorite wine, etc., and has a special field to notate customer comments, such as "allergic to nuts", or, "PITA" :P . Except for spelling errors, it is practically idiot proof. Gone are the days when a surprise party of 20 shows up on Saturday night saying they were promised a round table at 7:30.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love OpenTable. Pros are being able to plan the night, particularly for large tables (see RW discussion about spontaneously expanding parties.) barrel-organ.gifbarrel-organ.gif

It is also a nifty database you can use to enter your comments on patrons. See a very helpful comment from Stretch on notorious nymphos. Any special instructions also go in this field.

One should say that the comment-making capability is available at both ends. This, my friends, is how we can cutesy little letters from customers along the lines of:

"Hi! Looking forward to trying your restaurant during Restaurant Week. It's my wife's birthday and our anniversary and we would appreciate having a nice quiet table by the window." wall.gifwall.gif

This is when you wish there was a way to PM the wife and say, "Dump this jackass and go marry someone who is not a cheapskate and doesn't wait for RW to take you out."

Also, please note that any database is as good as the people who maintain it. This is to say, it is completely up to the restaurant to manage the number of open spots. For instance, it's common practice to block all available spots on a busy spot so that no one can get in using OpenTable, and we have in fact done that for RW routinely. Some people I know deliberately do that to leave room for walk-ins.

So I would say from my perspective, you always get better, more up-to-date information from a live person on the phone mamafia.gif , even if OpenTable says "no room."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I believe that the service costs the restaurant $1 a reservation, not $1 each customer.
It is $1 each customer, and that's on top of a monthly fee. For some restaurants, it's just not worth the added expense which they could be using elsewhere on a splurg item. That said, our restaurants recently added OpenTable and love it! Definitely makes things more efficient on the restaurant's side as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From the official OpenTable sales kit:

One-Time fees: Set-up and Activation is $1295 per restaurant which includes the computer console, configuration, installation and training.

Monthly fees: $199 for technical support & marketing

Cover fees: It's $1 per seated cover if they go through the OpenTable site...the party must cancel through the system or call the restaurant to cancel them out or else they are considered no shows. The restaurants are not charged cover fees if the reservation cancels prior to the reservation.

If the reservation is made through a link on the restaurant's site, they are charged a $.25 per seated cover. Phone reservations made manually are not charged.

There are tons of other fees associated with the system depending on what you want/need...desktop software for the back office, remote access, card printers, the 1000 pt. club, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love opentable. I certainly know from my experience that I tend to go to restaurants much more frequently if they use opentable. This is particularly true for business lunches. I just don't have time to call every restaurant that I know to ask them if they have an availability at an exact time whenever these lunches come up. And, unless there is a particular need for a certain restaraunt - ex., Le Paradou for lunch during restaurant week for impromptu business lunches because everyone else was booked far in advance - it doesn't make sense to have my secretary call because it is hard enough for me to keep up with which restaurants I like at a certain time, nonetheless to ask someone else to figure it out.

I am curious about how much additional business restaurants get from using opentable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sometimes my wife and I just decide to go out either as a spur of the moment that day, or plan on it just a day prior. The service is brilliant because you can very quickly see who has what without calling around as already stated. You can keep making changes, too, and the confirmation is basically instant.

I know we go much more to OT.com-using restaurants than those that do not for the very reason that it is so much easier to do so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps the good folks in the business can tell us what proportion of their covers are reservations, and what proportion of reservations come from Opentable.

What's it like at Bis, Corduory, Eve, and Notti Bianche, as well as other establishments represented here?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Perhaps the good folks in the business can tell us what proportion of their covers are reservations, and what proportion of reservations come from Opentable. 

What's it like at Bis, Corduory, Eve, and Notti Bianche, as well as other establishments represented here?

I was told when calling Corduroy recently that they do not hold any tables back from the Opentable system.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Perhaps the good folks in the business can tell us what proportion of their covers are reservations, and what proportion of reservations come from Opentable. 

What's it like at Bis, Corduory, Eve, and Notti Bianche, as well as other establishments represented here?

We pay about $200 for the service, plus around $500 to $600 a month for covers, plus additional for the "covers through the website" fee.

The trade off of the expense is the easily maintained database with which to send out news, propaganda and the like.

Edited by Johnny Rooks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We pay about $200 for the service, plus around $500 to $600 a month for covers, plus additional for the "covers through the website" fee.

The trade off of the expense is the easily maintained database with which to send out news, propaganda and the like.

John: that works about to an average of about 20 tables a night you are booking through OT, at a cost of about $20. I would say that OT works pretty well for your restaurant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love OT, too -- I particularly love being able to make reservations at, say, 2 a.m., which is when I'm up and able to be doing stuff like that online. Plus, it's great for finding restaurants in other locations -- for example, Wheaton, Illinois -- where not much foodie attention is necessarily spent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I love OT, too -- I particularly love being able to make reservations at, say, 2 a.m., which is when I'm up and able to be doing stuff like that online. Plus, it's great for finding restaurants in other locations -- for example, Wheaton, Illinois -- where not much foodie attention is necessarily spent.

I wholeheartedly agree. For non-OT restaurants, it is annoying to only be able to call them in the afternoon or evening (often when they are busy) and try to make a reservation, when I'd rather make the reservation at 10am and not worry about it all day. OT is great and I will repeat the sentiments of others - I definitely go to more restaurants on OT than those not on the list. (I also do it to rack up the free points for dining dollars :P )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another thing I love about opentable.com, I travel a good deal and I can book reservations in SF, Chicago, NY, etc. from my computer at home before I leave and know I have one confirmed. It is much easier than trying to make a reservation when I get to wherever I'm traveling.

I don't know how many times I've booked a table at a restaurant in SF that the others in my group would love to go to but couldn't get in because they called the night before or of when they wanted to go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OpenTable was a Godsend recently. I made a reservation at Deep Blue in Wilmington, DE and in the comment section I mentioned that my friend is extremely allergic to certain nuts and to chocolate. Normally this gets mentioned again when ordering, but this time it slipped by. Sure enough the waiter came racing out a few minutes after he took our orders (before the food arrived) to inform us that the comment had been relayed to the kitchen and that the spring rolls had ground walnuts in them. :P

Edited by crackers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another thing about OpenTable. I'm set up as an "Administrative Professional" which means I can make reservations for others, and I get the points. The folks here at work often come and ask me to make them reservations and when we have out of towners here for conferences, training, etc. I can make reservations for them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
OpenTable was a Godsend recently.  I made a reservation at Deep Blue in Wilmington, DE and in the comment section I mentioned that one person in the party is  extremely allergic to certain nuts and to chocolate. 

It totally sucks to be him.

But I digress. 

Normally this gets mentioned again when ordering, but this time it slipped by.  Sure enough the waiter came racing out a few minutes after he took our orders (before the food arrived) to inform us that the comment had been relayed to the kitchen and that the spring rolls had ground walnuts in them.  :P

Talk about a reliable form of evidence to use at trial when you put an allergy in the notes section of an OT reservation and they ignore it to the harm of the patron. It totally eliminates the need for the "but I told the waiter" testimony.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's the net effect upon an Open Table restaurant when they receive an Open Table coupon from when people cash in their points? Is it just as good as cash from the restaurant perspective? Credit towards their Open Table fees?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What's the net effect upon an Open Table restaurant when they receive an Open Table coupon from when people cash in their points?  Is it just as good as cash from the restaurant perspective?  Credit towards their Open Table fees?

ot coupons are essentially the same thing as travelers cheques.

with regard to the earlier question of percentages of reservations made through ot and those made through restaurant websites etc, i am in the process of preparing an ot presentation for my boss. as soon as i have crunched the numbers i will share all of the appropriate ones here.

edited to add: one more bonus of ot...using the manager configuration, one can surf the web (read, keep up with dr.com) during mini-lulls in service.

Edited by starfish

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×