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The NY times has an article about how OpenTable, (which is almost 20 years old), is losing its share to other up and coming online reservation apps, since Priceline took over, and drastically cut costs, and reduced its investment in any new technology. Apps like Resy are poaching the higher end restaurants (like Le Bernardin, Augustine, & Union Square Cafe) away from OpenTable. Yelp has also poached a bunch of restaurants that used to use OpenTable. I use OpenTable all the time for the convenience, and noticed recently a few of my regular 'OpenTable restaurants' have moved over to Yelp reservations. Apparently Yelp charges a flat monthly fee of $249.00, as opposed to $295.00 a month plus $1.00 per reservation that OpenTable charges. Resy also has an option to be put on a waiting list, which OpenTable doesn't have. That helps to cover all of the last minute no shows (which have been reduced to 4% from an average of 15%).

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/29/dining/opentable-restaurant-reservations.html?src=me&_r=0

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It's funny how OpenTable's big competitor in 2010, UrbanSpoon, is out of business (taken over by Zomato).

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There's an article in today's Times about the return of Big Data to restaurants, and how it can impact profits. FWIW, I think that's a day late and a dollar shore.

 

The example they give is your 7.30pm reservation is pushed back, and as you wait, you see the last duck order (which you wanted) go by. Once seated, you don't get your second bottle of wine because you can't get your server.

 

Their solution is Big Data flags you as a big shot, and holds a duck order for your table. And Big Data alerts your waiter you like to drink, so go to the table, already.

 

That's so 1940s. Why not a text, letting you know they're late, and offer you a complimentary drink at the bar? You should be able to log into the restaurant reservation on the way to the place, and it tells you they're running a little late. Have a drink (maybe on us), and here are tonight's specials. If you want a special, reserve it now, Ms Big Shot.

 

Even Chili's restaurant has an at the table device for refreshing drink and wine orders. And letting your kid play free video games if you're a VIP level customer. How difficult could it be to put a wireless ordering device on the table to order a refill? Chili's experience suggests they bump the drink reorder count with fewer servers.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/25/dining/restaurant-software-analytics-data-mining.html?ref=dining&_r=0

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That again sounds like an old story. Didn't someone interview the EMP general manager about using online data to identify VIPs and their preferences?

 

As for Open Table, the only alternative I used with any regularity is Resy. Killerrezzy is still around (New York only). Anyone ever use Reserve.com, which is three years old? The list of competitors which have come and gone (or maybe are still around, but who uses them?) is long.

 

If it was easy to take down Open Table, why so many failures?

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One of my favorite things is when Lex pops up as OpenTable's pr guy.

Keep that up and I'll go back and see what you said on the last 2 threads.

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That again sounds like an old story. Didn't someone interview the EMP general manager about using online data to identify VIPs and their preferences?

 

As for Open Table, the only alternative I used with any regularity is Resy. Killerrezzy is still around (New York only). Anyone ever use Reserve.com, which is three years old? The list of competitors which have come and gone (or maybe are still around, but who uses them?) is long.

 

If it was easy to take down Open Table, why so many failures?

 

Resy makes it easier for restaurant to automatically grab information about diners, or so I'm told.

 

I've used Reserve a couple of times, and Dinr and Booeknda in Montreal, and SeatMe/Yelp here occasionally, and El Tenedor / Fork in Europe, and about 25 different systems in Japan, which seems to come up with a new one every other day.

 

I don't know why OT has been so persistent in the US (and nowhere else) - I think some of it has to do with the size of restaurants and integration with POS, ticketing, etc. and not specifically with reservations, but I also know they've added some table optimization features ("flex") ahead of the competition. This allows a restaurant that has flexibility in joining to separating tables to automatically move reservations around as new ones come in.

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I've used Reserve (and, for that matter, Dinner and Bookenda in Montreal). What was good about Reserve when it started is that it got you reservations you couldn't otherwise get, either because some places didn't otherwise offer them or because there were tables set aside for Reserve. I don't know if either of those is true anymore.

 

What do you guys think about Resy's waiting list? In theory, it's great. In practice, I find it kind of annoying to get these pings at various random times that in any event usually get taken before you even if you respond immediately.

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One of my favorite things is when Lex pops up as OpenTable's pr guy.

Keep that up and I'll go back and see what you said on the last 2 threads.

 

I went and looked! nothing too embarassing

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I looked too and was very disappointed.

 

OTOH Chambo was so badly wrong (and condescending at the same time) he had to leave the site.

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That again sounds like an old story. Didn't someone interview the EMP general manager about using online data to identify VIPs and their preferences?

(snip)

 

The article mentions several older examples, including the google of each incoming reservation at Manresa, so they can curate your experience properly.

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It's still creepy.

 

Yes. The idea they would send a sports knowledgeable waitstaff member to serve somebody who has a lot of sports cred is silly.

 

Why don't they send a menu knowledgeable server, who doesn't have to ask the chef on every question?

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I don't find it creepy but rather cheap. We patronize small restaurants where we are recognized for the most part and made to feel appreciated. A preferred table offered. A new wine suggested that is similar to one we have enjoyed. Sure, these preferences are written down someplace, but it doesn't come across like an extension of McDo's touchscreen ordering system.

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