If you’ve made a restaurant reservation online within the past decade or so, you’ve probably done so through OpenTable. It makes the reservation process a breeze by letting you see all the tables and times available on any given day, and it also lets you bypass calling the restaurant (and risk speaking to an actual human) entirely. We all know how it works on our end, but how exactly does it work for restaurants?
OpenTable offers a lot more for restaurants than just a reservation management system. It also offers a comprehensive computer system that lets restaurants assign tables, recognize repeat diners, and remember individual preferences.
So how much does this cost restaurants? There’s no longer an installation fee (it used to be $1,295 but was eliminated several years ago), just a $199 monthly subscription fee. The company charges one dollar for each customer seated as part of a reservation made via OpenTable (if they’re no-shows, the restaurant doesn’t have to pay). You might have noticed that more and more restaurants are installing OpenTable widgets on their own websites these days; this is because OpenTable only charges 25 cents per seated diner booked through a restaurant’s website.
This comes with a couple caveats, however. Customers don’t receive OpenTable dining points when they book a table through a restaurant’s website, which could encourage many to book through OpenTable.com. Also, if a restaurant wants to attract more customers, they can pay $7.50 per reservation to become a 1,000-point restaurant, meaning customers receive 1,000 points for dining there. And if restaurants want to be featured in OpenTable’s dining guide, that will cost them an additional $99 per month.
All those charges definitely add up, but if a nice restaurant wants to be taken seriously these days, signing up for OpenTable is practically mandatory. Yet another reminder how difficult (and expensive) it is to run a restaurant! To learn about the toughest reservations in America, click here.