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2 hours ago, dcs said:

OpenTable Began a Revolution. Now It’s a Power Under Siege, by Stephanie Strom, August 29, 2017, on nytimes.com.

I enjoy reading and learning about the business side of things.  As a user there are many situations wherein I find OT to be the most effective dining app around.  Specifically and at its highest use is when I'm working on reservations with others for a future date.  Assuming its not a huge number, its the most functional app for agreeing on a location/ a type  of cuisine/ and getting a reservation.  Its especially useful in the DC region and others where its penetration is so enormous.  (never complete penetration of the market but large).

I try and not use OT to make the actual reservations.  Despite the rewards it is a $1.00/head  or if I'm being extra careful I see $0.25/head if you make the res on the restaurant's web site.  Expensive for the restaurateur.  If price points for the meal are $30/person...that is 3%/  a significant cost.   At $70/person and higher a far less impactful hit, but a cost none the less.

The story is revealing.  The restaurateur that takes reservations from repeat customers using OT...pays a freaking high price for a freaking service that has gotten between his regular customers and himself.  As a business that stinks.  Who needs it?

Was interacting with a restaurateur who ditched OT in the last year.  Sales are great.  Reservations are abundant.  They chose a different less expensive alternative to OT and it hasn't cost them in volume but have saved on the per head cost, probably in the $,000's per month, not unlike one of the examples in the story.   Good for them. 

Circumstances change.  What works for some doesn't work for all.

 

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I generally use OpenTable because it is easy and I have been using it for many, many years. That said, if I am forced to use a competing system or technology, I do. And there is always the phone. But the ease of click, click, clicking your way to a reservation is extremely appealing to me. It is not that I do not want to talk to someone at the restaurant, it is that clicking around is so much faster, easier and convenient.

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It's a funny twist on competition vs monopoly/simplicity. For customers, it would be lovely to have a site that showed ALL restaurants taking online reservations in the area, so you could scroll through and see what your options are. OpenTable seemed to be that for a while. It is not that, any longer. This is a loss for customers, in an oversimplified sense, to have competition - because we weren't the ones who were DIRECTLY paying for the service. (Instead it was the restaurants who were paying.)

Someone will maybe figure out how to make a website that will aggregate OpenTable + Resy + Yelp availability, so that the customer can again scroll through all options in one site - maybe making $ through ads or whatever.

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10 hours ago, sheldman said:

Someone will maybe figure out how to make a website that will aggregate OpenTable + Resy + Yelp availability, so that the customer can again scroll through all options in one site - maybe making $ through ads or whatever.

That would be awesome. 

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8 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

That would be awesome. 

This would be the Trivalgo (or, depending on how far you want to go back, the Matt Drudge, or the Rotten Tomatoes) of restaurant reservations - an aggregator. The problem with this model is that it has been done for many other industries, and there's no barrier to market entry - it might be profitable for a few months, possibly a few years, but they won't be able to fend off competition.

On the other hand, if you can build a name for yourself (like Drudge has), the lack of barriers might not matter. What's remarkable about Rotten Tomatoes is that, despite the obsolescence of so many links, the website remains popular.

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5 hours ago, DonRocks said:

This would be the Trivalgo (or, depending on how far you want to go back, the Matt Drudge, or the Rotten Tomatoes) of restaurant reservations - an aggregator. The problem with this model is that it has been done for many other industries, and there's no barrier to market entry - it might be profitable for a few months, possibly a few years, but they won't be able to fend off competition.

On the other hand, if you can build a name for yourself (like Drudge has), the lack of barriers might not matter. What's remarkable about Rotten Tomatoes is that, despite the obsolescence of so many links, the website remains popular.

If a third party website scraped all this data from the OT's and other reservation services to show ALL online reservations it would cause a big commercial stink and probably lead to law suits.  OT's and the other reservation services have these relationships/contracts upon which they earn revenues.  They would explode and sue.

OTOH:  there is a type of this occurring now in the restaurant world.  Its with delivery services:  

When you search on Google for a restaurant by name, they have this large piece of google info.  Its technically called the Google Knowledge Panel (or box).  Its Google's info.  They insert ALL KINDS of info abt the restaurant.  One can go there and never hit the website.  It includes name, address, hours, a map, access to a reservation source, the menu and a link to click on takeout.  If you hit the takeout button you will find ALL the takeout services.  The takeout services have each built a menu page for that restaurant.

Google has other information that enables a searcher to find answers without ever visiting the website.  They have their own reviews, post reviews from other sources (currently not yelp or tripadvisor), ask questions abt the restaurants and provide answers from consumers.  They probably have more photos of the place than any other source aggregating photos from the restaurant itself plus taking pictures from other sources and presenting it themselves.  They provide something called "sentiment analysis" that attempts to summarize review comments and present it to visitors.

Back to take out:

So Google is aggregating ALL the takeout sources.  I assumed they were taking a piece of those fees.  I recently heard via sources that they are currently NOT taking fees, or weren't when it was set up.  Maybe they are now, maybe not.  I wouldn't know.   In any case Google has a position that is treated separately from all other websites.  They can get away with things that 3rd party sites end up being sued for doing or attempting.  But it wouldn't surprise me if they did step into this situation and arranged/negotiated a way to both aggregate all these reservation services for consumers as a one stop shop...regardless of constraints on any other operator.

I suspect that in the current environment if anyone could successfully aggregate all reservation options from all websources/reservation sites/ it would be google.  At this point any other source would be open to enormous law suits.

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On 8/30/2017 at 9:13 PM, Pool Boy said:

I generally use OpenTable because it is easy and I have been using it for many, many years. That said, if I am forced to use a competing system or technology, I do. And there is always the phone. But the ease of click, click, clicking your way to a reservation is extremely appealing to me. It is not that I do not want to talk to someone at the restaurant, it is that clicking around is so much faster, easier and convenient.

Generally if it isn't on Open Table, I'm not booking it.  I'm not picking up the phone to call.  I hate the phone...

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On 9/3/2017 at 4:48 PM, bookluvingbabe said:

Generally if it isn't on Open Table, I'm not booking it.  I'm not picking up the phone to call.  I hate the phone...

Same, although I'll use OpenTable or whatever other online system the restaurant uses. I have to really, really, really want to eat at a place to pick up the phone to make a reservation (or my party's too big to book online). I generally hate the phone, and the fact that I don't want to be the jerk who calls for a reservation at the height of the dinner rush makes calling for a reservation even more annoying and complicated -- I have to remember to call when someone's at the restaurant but they're presumably not very busy.

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I have found, often, that if you try to book online, and cannot (or the time you want is not there), if you pick up the phone and ask, a lot of the time, there may be availability (especially so if you are a regular).

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btw, if you redeem your open table points here, 2,000 points is still good for $20 (most other places are only good for $10).

The above comment by @Ericandblueboy about Texas Jacks reminded me about a recent change in google search that both makes an OT reservation more visible and "easier" but DOES NOT provide for OT points.   User beware:   A visual presentation below:

 

5ad4d584ae268_OpenTablePointsdependingonwhereyouclick.jpg.8f6fd12af6e945729fe3195e764be314.jpg

 

You can find the big blue button on both mobile and desk top searches in Google.  Its new, having begun showing up around the end of March or beginning of April.  As of March 31 OT terms of service specifically reference that you can't get OT points off of that blue button.   (I suspect the large blue button is a way for Google to get a "piece of the  $$ pie" via OT.

 

In any case, if you book an OT reservation off of the OT website it costs the restaurant an additional $1/head and you are eligible for points.  If you book the OT res off the restaurant page it costs the restaurant $0.25/head and you are NOT eligible for OT points.   Use the big BLUE button off of google search: -> NO POINTS.  (probably costs the restaurant $1/head.    Use the OT Link below the Big Blue Restaurant:  -> OT points and it costs the restaurant $1/head.

 

 

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On 8/30/2017 at 9:31 PM, sheldman said:

Someone will maybe figure out how to make a website that will aggregate OpenTable + Resy + Yelp availability, so that the customer can again scroll through all options in one site - maybe making $ through ads or whatever.

I have really wanted to do this for food delivery, although I lack any technical skill.

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On 4/16/2018 at 1:04 PM, ktmoomau said:

I have really wanted to do this for food delivery, although I lack any technical skill.

Merge in DR threads for reviews FTW

 

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If a restaurant says you can book x days in advance, does that mean you can start booking right after midnight or is there some other time?

ETA:  Got a response from OT - it becomes available past midnight local time for the restaurant.

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Is that a global setting on Opentable? It would explain why so many restaurants don't (can't) align the start of online and phone booking.

On Resy it's either configurable or locked to a different default; I know Dabney in DC starts both online and phone booking at noon.

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1 hour ago, guanabana said:

Is that a global setting on Opentable? It would explain why so many restaurants don't (can't) align the start of online and phone booking.

On Resy it's either configurable or locked to a different default; I know Dabney in DC starts both online and phone booking at noon.

I dunno.  OT gave me a short answer and I didn’t ask about any specific restaurant.

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