« Behind the plywood: farm to table counter | Main | Zagat on Contigo »

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


lisa hasen

Dear SFoodie,
The restaurant does NOT pay for OpenTable dining checks. It is OpenTable's gift to those who book online. It is very similar to a frequent flier program. The restaurant deposits the dining checks like they would any other check. Hope that clarifies things.
-Lisa Hasen, OpenTable Acct Exec


i say wait and see how things go... you can always choose to add your restaurant to open table at a later date can't you? what's the rush?


I would not restrict to only walk-ins because it's frustrating for customers who spent 30 mins or more searching for parking to only find out that they have to wait another hour for a table. I avoid restaurants like this.

I think you've done some great research and as a small biz owner you've listed all the pros/cons that I would have listed. I think OpenTable is an excellent guest management system and an invaluable marketing channel however the cost is rather high for a small restaurant. It would be more attractive for small restaurants if OpenTable would have another pricing tier to make it attractive.

Don't get pressured into getting it just yet. Focus on opening your restaurant and working out your operational kinks and then perform an evaluation to determine whether you need something such as OpenTable.


in general, i dread going to no reservations restaurants. the wait at beretta, for example, is prohibitively long and i just will not go anymore. it ruins the experience.

however, i'm happy to drop by bar jules and bar bambino, for example, during off-hours where there is likely to be little, if any, wait.

i'm also go to firefly and nopa just as much as maverick or farmer brown, for example, so phone or open table is fine with me.

Also, why not just take reservations (by phone) on Fri and Sat nights?


I only have 1 thing to say. Livebookings! offers the same and much more than what opentable does.

First thing is, No Start up fee's!
It's free to join and you only pay for the actual covers booked. No Cure No Pay!

Excellent for smaller restaurant that needs the extra marketing exposure.


Price seems to be an issue for the Open table reservation. The concept is great but I'd rather go to the restaurants website to look at their information to book a reservation. That way i can see what they have, where they are located and just see if there is anything new.

A friend of mine is using a POS system that has a reservation system built in. Never thought this would cross anybody's mind but it looks to be fully integrated to their own website and the POS system itself, so reservations made online is sent directly to the terminal. There is no monthly or per cover fee and its equiped with a customer history like OT. It looks like a new concept for POS systems to provide customer with more value. The system name is called Auphan Dining. www.auphandining.

Restaurants in Spain for Groups

Actually I have been involved with another online booking company over the years and I have also implimented our own booking consoles for various niches, i.e hotels, meeting spaces, restaurants.

Chargeing this high fee for the initial sign up is quite simply outrageous and a total rip off. I was even unhappy at competitors of opentable that charged a fee half this amount.

There is no reason to charge this fee whatsoever and indeed with our new projects any sign up fee is minimal to say the least. The whole idea behind these companies is to make a profit from the commissions, not from the sign up fees, unfortunately these companies want a slice of both pies.

In this day of web 2.0 etc then I think its a good idea for groups of restaurants (in this particular case) to join together. i.e find 20 restaurants in your own locale/town/city whatever and make your own system between you. It will probably take a cple of thousand dollars over at the freelance websites to build exactly the same thing that websites like toptable use.

Share this cost so thats like 100 bucks each. all have the system on each others websites, restaurants recommending other restaurants always works very well in that industry.

Drive the changes yourself, stop feeding greedy companies! And yes I mean greedy companies, if they provide a service and it works well for your clients then by all means we are delighted to pay, but over all they just take the piss.

Use this food for thought productively.



I have just discontinued my opentable service. as a restaurant owner we had ongoing problems with the service, which opentable always blamed us for. Our service was not connected to their site thru Christmas and New Years, and yet they refused to give us a credit because they claimed that they sent a tech out (in January) and did not charge us for it. They have tried to blame us for everything, saying the lease and monthly fee includes equipment except for whatever it was that needed replacing. It is expensive, so I say no Thanks, I don't need that kind of headache. I am encouraging everyone to say no to opentable.

I love restaurantdiary

Have a look at -


Build your own brand, no commission, CRM, e-marketing with success, failure reporting.


My Company Pow! offers Coupons, and will eventually offer Reservation and Ordering. We will offer the complete package including Coupon poral, reporting,SMS, Reservation, and Ordering for a fraction of what OpenTable charges. Feel free to contact us at http://www.pow-now.com or call us at 408-743-4449. Please note we are still in beta and will launch in 2 weeks.


Go to http://www.thepowerofmyetus.com and check out our online reservation offering.


This is year later but this just in Open table has agreed to acquire all assets belonging to GuestBridge Inc.


I found this article and thought you might find it useful in making your comparison: http://reservationdc.wordpress.com/2009/07/19/yelp-vs-opentable-where-should-you-be-spending-your-marketing-dollars/

Craig Watson

If you're interested in another solution, you might check out Save My Table (www.savemytable.com). We're running their system for our front-of-house operations, and having great success, at a fraction of OpenTable's prices.


Many restaurants in the US and around the world are moving away from Open Table because of the costs and choosing e-Restaurant software, a restaurant management system that does online bookings, customer management, SMS marketing - in fact nearly everything that Open Tables does but for a fraction of the cost. No set up cost, commission free and a free 30 day trial available. See www.simplehospitality.co for more details


So did you join OpenTable or choose an alternative? Please advise.


For the first 9 months of business at Contigo, we only took walk in guests and accepted a limited number of reservations for parties of 6 and larger. After that, we started taking reservations by phone for all size parties for 6 months. Two months ago we signed up for Open Table.

gucci handbags

Each misfortune I encounter will carry in it the seed of tomorrow's good luck. I will remember the ancient law of averages and I will bend it to my good. Posed By gucci handbags

Reservations call center

Well then, better make a reservation.

Ben Cliff

NFL Jerseys

in general, i dread going to no reservations restaurants. the wait at beretta, for example, is prohibitively long and i just will not go anymore. it ruins the experience.

The comments to this entry are closed.

sardines defined

  • sar·dine (n) 1. a young herring or similar small fish. 2. a metaphor for the small and often less well-known ingredients, restaurants, farmers, and artisans that San Francisco-based chef Brett Emerson writes about in this website.
My Photo

Fish Tales

Search This Site



Bay Area Shortlist What do you crave?