Comments on: OpenTable and its discontents http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/12/11/opentable-and-its-discontents/ A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.5 By: TinyTim1 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/12/11/opentable-and-its-discontents/comment-page-1/#comment-21858 Mon, 13 Dec 2010 13:28:45 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=6522#comment-21858 There is very little chance that the owner of Coi knows or gives two hoots about the OPEN market cap.
I am pretty sure he sees the bottom line impact of OPEN and is gutted.
Since he is sold out and still employs someone to answer the phone, OPEN saves him no money and makes him no money.
Pre-OPEN he was making plenty of money and now with OPEN he is making $8k less.

But this is the genius of OPEN – customers expect it now (particularly in SF) so you HAVE to have it.
Welcome to the world of monopoly pricing. It hurts.

Frankly if he wants to save some $$ he should bin the flash and makes his website super iphone-friendly so he is only paying OPEN 25c not $1 for seated diners. Moron.

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By: notfan http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/12/11/opentable-and-its-discontents/comment-page-1/#comment-21840 Sun, 12 Dec 2010 21:50:25 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=6522#comment-21840 By the way, these days you just do a Google search for the name of the restaurant, and the name and phone number will pop up. I very rarely look at the place’s website.

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By: notfan http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/12/11/opentable-and-its-discontents/comment-page-1/#comment-21839 Sun, 12 Dec 2010 21:49:10 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=6522#comment-21839 The restauranteur should regard Open Table’s fees as advertising expense. Whether or not it’s reasonable depends on how many diners it brings in, and that’s easily judged by the numbers.

I’d point out that the restaurant is paying a whole lot more in merchant credit card fees. On the other hand, as a diner I don’t see any need for Open Table. I used them a couple times, and quickly realized that it’s easier to just look up the number on the Internet and give the place a call. Besides, you can tell a lot about a place by the demeanor of the person who takes your call, so from my diner’s perspective Open Table removes information from the transaction.

Also, let’s not kid ourselves: One way or another, whatever the restaurant pays Open Table is going to be at least partly reflected in what I pay for the dinner. As a diner, I don’t think Open Table adds a single thing other than cost.

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By: Mike.Gayner http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/12/11/opentable-and-its-discontents/comment-page-1/#comment-21838 Sun, 12 Dec 2010 18:43:07 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=6522#comment-21838 Wow people really pay this sort of money for food? This is why it’s hard to take America’s financial woes seriously – $300 meals, 3 million iPads sold, etc. Cry me a river USA.

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By: mvaughan http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/12/11/opentable-and-its-discontents/comment-page-1/#comment-21837 Sun, 12 Dec 2010 17:58:54 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=6522#comment-21837 What you don’t point out is the psychological impact OpenTable has on restaurant owners who hadn’t previously paid those charges. Margins for restaurants are already bad, and so there’s a case to be made that certain restaurants don’t think they can afford OpenTable, but feel trapped using their service (in order to stay current and compete for business). After resto owners have paid the rent, the staff and basic bills, that monthly OpenTable payment is another giant fee they must pay (ever looked at a bank statement which has Amex/Visa/Mastercard merchant fees deducted from the account? One can become extremely resentful of the high percentage Amex takes – which is why a lot of establishments do not accept Amex). Amex is awesome to cardholders, but slams merchants. Restaurant owners want to extend services to their clients, they want their business to thrive. But the $200 monthly charge plus $1 per client could add up to something significant on a monthly basis, and it grates on owners who did not need to pay those fees a few years ago. It may be worth it, but I think OpenTable may need to do a better job serving the restaurants by giving them monthly analysis on how this is improving their business, not just setting up software and then grabbing a percentage of their profit for the foreseeable.

For the customer, it’s extremely user-friendly. I like using OpenTable. Last weekend we were able to search/find a restaurant with an 8:30pm reservation in a specific neighborhood (the East Village). Location and time were our priorities, there’s plenty of good places to eat – it was a matter of booking something for a Saturday night during that afternoon. This would have been next to impossible (and so time consuming) otherwise. OpenTable found the perfect reservation.

So although the customer experience is extremely good, I really think OpenTable should provide restos with helpful analysis and reports so the owners feel like they’re getting their money’s worth.

And, EARTH TO RESTAURANTS: quit using stupid Flash & music for your homepage. Your customers can’t navigate your site on different devices, and besides that – it’s SO annoying.

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By: BigBadBank http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/12/11/opentable-and-its-discontents/comment-page-1/#comment-21836 Sun, 12 Dec 2010 15:29:30 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=6522#comment-21836 What is the difference between not wanting to pay for Open Table and not wanting to pay for FT.com?

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By: Lilguy http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/12/11/opentable-and-its-discontents/comment-page-1/#comment-21835 Sun, 12 Dec 2010 14:55:27 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=6522#comment-21835 What is ludicrous is paying that much money for a dinner. It is the worst form of over-consumption, both literally and financially.

Who needs either the restaurant or the reservation service?

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By: rjackson4 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/12/11/opentable-and-its-discontents/comment-page-1/#comment-21834 Sun, 12 Dec 2010 12:41:19 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=6522#comment-21834 Unfortunately, many restaurant operators have a hard time distinguishing fixed and variable costs so the ROI for OpenTable is hard for them to figure out. OpenTable is an absolute bonanza for restaurants, here is why. First, fine dining restaurants pay large rents for high traffic locations because they depend in part on walk-in traffic and they need the visibility. With OpenTable mobile apps, diners can still locate restaurants just as easily using GPS technology and OpenTable and while the restaurant can still be in the same neighborhood, they can obtain much cheaper rent by being a block away from the highest priced location. For an example of this, search for “Ludo Bites” for a dining idea that incurs no fixed costs for rent and leverages OpenTable. Secondly, for the first time, restaurants can save on expensive local media which did little more than provide some branding and make the operator feel good. Even the editorial pieces in the newspaper or lifestyle magazine were of little help since the number of subscribers to those publications has dwindled to nearly nothing, hence the demise of print. If you want to bring in people with OpenTable, operators can offer 1,000 pt tables or run a Spotlight offer and be guaranteed to increase traffic, all for a variable cost. On balance, OpenTable is very inexpensive while at the same time giving restaurants an IT solution to managing their table turnover which makes the restaurant run much more efficiently and offers guest the convenience of making a reservation on their own terms, and not on the whims of restaurants who do a very poor job of answering the phone in the first place.

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By: Auros http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/12/11/opentable-and-its-discontents/comment-page-1/#comment-21829 Sun, 12 Dec 2010 08:47:44 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=6522#comment-21829 Oh, and BTW, regarding competition for OpenTable, I just booked my first reservation through VillageVines, a new service that appears to be trying to combine some Groupon-like features, with a restaurant reservation system. Rather than simply buying a coupon that can be used any time, you book a reservation, and the reservation comes with a discount.

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By: Auros http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/12/11/opentable-and-its-discontents/comment-page-1/#comment-21828 Sun, 12 Dec 2010 08:46:02 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=6522#comment-21828 I guess this is just the season to complain about OT. Mark Pastore of Incanto wrote an essay about why his restaurant doesn’t use OpenTable. I disagree with his take: OpenTable has led me to a number of places I might not otherwise have tried, including some where I became a repeat customer and recommender via word-of-mouth. For a restaurant that is not already a local institution, this kind of publicity is priceless. Sure, you can get some of that from Yelp or Google Local, but the ratings and reviews on those aren’t terribly trustworthy, and they frequently point you to places that no longer exist. OpenTable, like Zagat, is curated. Which makes a big difference. So, I get why an owner at an ultra-high-end place may not think OT is a good fit, and chafe at their pricing; but I think OT is a good thing for places like, say, Indigo and Triptych, that aim to provide good food and service, but not for Michelin star territory; places where the tab is maybe $35-50 per person, not $100+. These are both places I’ve dined at over a dozen times each in the past five years, made recommendations to others, and in the case of Triptych, taken a huge birthday party group. Both are places I tried originally because they popped up on OT when I was looking for a place to eat near some event I was going to.

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