Comments on: It’s time for OpenTable to think about diners http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/02/28/its-time-for-opentable-to-think-about-diners/ 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: skippymcgee http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/02/28/its-time-for-opentable-to-think-about-diners/comment-page-1/#comment-36422 Wed, 29 Feb 2012 22:51:41 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=12278#comment-36422 I felt the same way about OpenTable, but then I saw this article and it really gave me a new perspective on how I can use OT in my restaurant. http://www.vsag.com/news/index.php/2010/ is-opentable-worth-it-founding-farmers-s ays-yes

]]>
By: Restaurateur http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/02/28/its-time-for-opentable-to-think-about-diners/comment-page-1/#comment-36404 Wed, 29 Feb 2012 04:52:19 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=12278#comment-36404 Every single thing that this article says OpenTable should do, is done by RestaurantConnect. It’s the best thing that ever happened to restaurants. Most importantly, it’s competition for OpenTable (when you’re the only option you don’t have to be a good option), it’s much less expensive (it doesn’t charge restaurants online reservation fees), and it’s a more intuitive, better system (created by a man who has spent his life running restaurants).

]]>
By: spiffy76 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/02/28/its-time-for-opentable-to-think-about-diners/comment-page-1/#comment-36402 Wed, 29 Feb 2012 02:21:30 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=12278#comment-36402 This is another vote against integrating Facebook and OpenTable. FB is way too intrusive. Whenever I visit a FB or FB laden page I feel the same way I do when I’ve accidentally linked to some Russian porn site. I slam close the window before it can download too much malware or some onBlur handler does something nasty to me. FB is really creepy.

I have been using OpenTable for at least five years, and I like the convenience, especially when making tentative plans where I might have to cancel. A lot of my trips are like those little puzzles where you have to back out one tile from the solution. I agree that OT has a crummy interface. I can’t just check restaurant R in city C on date D. I have to go through a multi-level menu rigamarole to choose the city first.

The $2400 marginal cost is not that crazy. I rent a vacation cottage and pay about $1000 a year to various rental sites. I consider it a form of advertising. How much newspaper space or food blog space can I buy for that? Even better, if someone is at OT, they are already planning to buy a restaurant meal. Perhaps various restaurants consider OT to be a reasonably priced advertising expense.

There are also those restaurants who roll their own reservation system, and some of them are quite good. Tamarind Tree in Seattle even lets you specify a table. Some are awful. A number of other restaurants are using Urbanspoon, except that Urbanspoon only lets you book one meal a day, so if you also want lunch, you are out of luck.

]]>
By: TangleStraight http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/02/28/its-time-for-opentable-to-think-about-diners/comment-page-1/#comment-36397 Tue, 28 Feb 2012 22:15:21 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=12278#comment-36397 OpenTable is very convenient but in my experience not the best way to get a reservation, especially when trying to book last-minute or at popular restaurants. I’ve finagled reservations out of Maitre d’s on “fully booked” nights many times despite OpenTable’s insistence that there were no tables. Speaking with a live person offers a level of flexibility and information that you just can’t get from booking online: “We’re all booked for tonight, but let me see if I can squeeze you in at 9:30. I could also reserve seats for you at the bar if you’d like.”

Besides, the real-life American Psycho example aside, does it really take that long to pick up the phone and call?

]]>
By: Auros http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/02/28/its-time-for-opentable-to-think-about-diners/comment-page-1/#comment-36396 Tue, 28 Feb 2012 21:50:30 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=12278#comment-36396 I use OpenTable whenever possible, and have found restaurants in cities I was visiting, and even some restaurants in my own town (in neighborhoods I was going to some event in, and hadn’t previously spent much time in) through them.

I largely agree with the anti-Facebook sentiment. It’s one thing to offer a button to share a review on Facebook; you could even offer FB login. I would not be pleased if it were required.

]]>
By: Curmudgeon http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/02/28/its-time-for-opentable-to-think-about-diners/comment-page-1/#comment-36389 Tue, 28 Feb 2012 19:42:00 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=12278#comment-36389 Facebook is just the “in” thing for journalists because of the IPO. Felix will move on to another tech toy soon after that. Notice that he hasn’t used Foursquare in quite a while; he’s really just a trend junkie.

]]>
By: spectre855 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/02/28/its-time-for-opentable-to-think-about-diners/comment-page-1/#comment-36387 Tue, 28 Feb 2012 19:06:54 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=12278#comment-36387 @Metsox, because a lot of people would find that invasive. I don’t want my work colleagues (some of whom are friends on Facebook) to know that I like to watch Japanese Anime and raunchy stand up comedy. The second that there was even a possibility that those things could be shared with people that I know personally, I’d cancel Netflix.

]]>
By: spectre855 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/02/28/its-time-for-opentable-to-think-about-diners/comment-page-1/#comment-36385 Tue, 28 Feb 2012 18:59:17 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=12278#comment-36385 @cskelly, I can only speak for myself but realist50’s comment above pretty much sums it up for me. I like the idea of a single internet sign-on but in the case of Facebook, there’s the very real possibility that my using this sign-on is going to end up sharing whatever I do on that site with my entire “friends” list.

I don’t want everyone on my list to know that I’m not going to be at my house from 8-10PM tonight for a dinner reservation. Just like a lot of people didn’t want everyone on their list to know that they were listening to the Backstreet Boys but Spotify’s Facebook integration helpfully made that happen for them.

]]>
By: deepinthought http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/02/28/its-time-for-opentable-to-think-about-diners/comment-page-1/#comment-36384 Tue, 28 Feb 2012 18:55:27 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=12278#comment-36384 Felix, as you are a prolific Open Table veteran of 10 years, there are a couple of areas of your usage and thinking that I am interested in understanding. While the ability to make a reservation on-line has no doubt been a bonus to both customers and the restaurants themselves, as already commented, this convenience comes at a financial cost to the restaurant. I feel sure that if you suggested to restaurateurs that you could bring them new incremental business for $ 1 per cover, they would consider that good value to attract and hopefully retain new customers, creating greater long term business opportunities for them. However it is after this first incremental opportunity that the financial burden for the restaurant grows.
I am interested to learn if you make your reservations at your favourite restaurants that you visit regularly always directly through Open Table or by going via the restaurants own website ? If you are one of their customers already and care about the restaurant, why would you make them pay four times the price for you to have the convenience of using the Open Table portal rather than their own website, which also has an operating cost to them ?
The next obvious question therefore is would you be willing as the customer to pay a convenience fee directly to Open Table in the same way as you pay a convenience fee to take cash out of an ATM? The ATM provides a service to you on behalf of your bank but one where you personally pay for that convenience. Why should a restaurant be expected to provide a convenience for its customer’s but also be expected to pay it ?
The other similar analogy to this is the ticketing industry. When you buy your tickets for your favourite concert from Ticketmaster, conveniently via their website, the booking fee is charged to you the customer, not the artist or the promoter of the event. Indeed in most instances they make a further charge for the credit card processing fees. So once again the consumer pays directly for the convenience of the on-line service.
So in summary, I think the real reason that we do not have every restaurant offering itself as available for on-line reservations whether on Open Table or many of the other solutions out there is that the business model in play seems unique to the restaurant industry. I believe that if the burden of cost was moved to the consumer like every other industry I can think of, then every restaurant would happily offer the on-line reservation convenience with the knowledge that it would not become a financial burden to their business.

]]>
By: Metsox http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/02/28/its-time-for-opentable-to-think-about-diners/comment-page-1/#comment-36382 Tue, 28 Feb 2012 18:39:30 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=12278#comment-36382 I see the same problem with Netflix. It’s ridiculous I can’t go on Netflix and see lists of my friends favorite movies or recent watches. Or just simply a best of 2010 list a la Spotify.

]]>