A Guide To Using OpenTable For Restaurants

Founded in 1998, OpenTable for restaurants has established a much needed niche as a real-time online restaurant reservation service.

Far removed from the drive-through burger and fries crowd, OpenTable tends to cater to more of a sit-down upscale patron, wanting a fuss-free experience from beginning to end.

For the restaurateur, this seamless approach to dining services is undertaken with associated benefits.

OpenTable For Restaurants

So, how Does OpenTable work? Let’s take a quick walk around to see the reasons this reservation application is expanding globally, and fast.

In simple terms, OpenTable for restaurants offers a comprehensive reservation management service. Bookings are placed via an ERB (Electronic Reservation Book) as opposed to the old-school, paper based method. A bonus is that the ERB handles table management, guest recognition and even email marketing.

The benefits to time poor restaurant owners can be numerous, including the comforting fact that the proprietors of this company are professionals, holding many years of valuable experience and who have established leadership in the food industry. Good to know.

As a simple how-to, the customer searches through his or her preferred city, and selects a venue based on specific criteria. This criteria ranges from favourite neighborhoods, right down to food style and price range.

Precise locations are provided, accompanied with actual menus, not just indicators of cuisine type.

Any special offers based on local events or universally celebrated dates can also be listed. The customer has the opportunity to read reviews, current and past, to gauge if this choice would suit them, based on other’s opinion.

Fore-warned is fore-armed!

Reservations made are free for the end user. Simply log in and reserve your table.

Is This Of Benefit To My Customers?

As a restaurant owner, repeat business is very important for the growth not only of your reputation in the industry, but for your revenue steam.

Having use of a service that allows for seamless online bookings, at any time of day can create positives for any restaurant. People no longer need to wait for opening hours to check availability for a table.

In addition to the convenience of it all, one of the benefits for users is that they have the option of earning loyalty points. Return visitors are rewarded.

This could be a win-win situation for both you as the owner and the customer, if you wish to have a loyalty system in place, but don’t have the time or the know-how to manage such a benefit.

OpenTable now offers mobile application which, as we all have come to realize, is essential when catering to the busy lives of individuals with constant access and reliance on mobile devices.

Is This For Me, As A Restaurant Owner?

Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is all about the end user. OpenTable for restaurants has a lot going for it, from the restaurant owner point of view.

Choosing business partners is as important a business decision as choosing the right staff, or the right financial advisor.

Greater levels of success will be attained if there is benefit to both parties, and if there is a mutual understanding of goals. OpenTable for restaurants seem to recognize this.

Catering to a hungry worldwide population base, venues are searched for and patrons given the opportunity to book their attendance without too much fuss and aggravation.

Let’s take, as an example, a particular market, say travelers. This is yet another way for a restaurants to become visible to a whole new world, bringing food lovers directly to your door without too much time and involvement from you (certainly saving you from all the fiddly details).

OpenTable services offers live internet connections for its subscribing restaurants, to ensure all reservations are current and confirmed.

Along with other marketing plans you may have initiated or engaged, OpenTable is certainly another service to be considered.

Naturally, fees and charges need to be reconciled as a part of an entire marketing plan, and given due consideration.

Restaurants who chose to use the service are charged reservation fees and by the month. Remember, OpenTable provides detailed analytics via reporting, helping you perhaps to recognize and enhance your restaurant’s efficiency.

This may be invaluable to you as an owner / operator and more than justify any costs.

Visibility is king when it comes to presenting and engaging new patrons. OpenTable for restaurants certainly offers that, with its growing data base now including more countries than ever before.

The Devils Advocate

Ok, now for the down side. Don’t worry, there’s always one.

It, unfortunately, is a fact of life that customers can be very fickle and any apparent problem encountered can mean a potential for people to be quickly discouraged from using a service.

Little one-off technical bugs aren’t going to scare off potential diners as much as not being able to quickly refer to your location, or view your restaurant because of ongoing, long term operational glitches.

Be aware of limitations of any site you chose to partner with your restaurant. This is simply a smart way to protect your investment and ensure the continued happiness of patrons.

People demand a lot for their hard earned money, and in turn expect service as good, if not better, than if they were to call you directly.

Making decisions that are right for you as a business person and for your patrons is not always easy; there needs to be an equality and balance to advantages.

If you are offering a customer satisfaction survey on your site to gauge patrons happiness, ensure one of the questions is aimed directly at your use of the service. Did you book through OpenTable? How was your experience when booking?

By doing this you can keep a perspective on whether these types of services are right for you, or simply just not worth it.

What’s Next?

Initiate contact with OpenTable via their site. They offer an online community for subscribers to assist with any questions or issues faced.

Subscribers can also update their profile, and add links and additional information where required.

Check out the Terms and Conditions through the User Agreement to see if this is right for your purposes. Always be sure to read and understand your role and responsibilities, and that of your host.

T&C’s will provide questions to answers you may have, and go a long way to help you be clear on what you’re signing up for.

Your restaurant’s profile and presence in the online world is just as essential as any other advertising or marketing plan you introduce.

With the ultimate goal of placing diners in seats, keep yourself current and explore hospitality solutions such as OpenTable for restaurants to partner with you on the way to further business success.

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