Has anyone else noticed that your favorite restaurants are suddenly not on OpenTable anymore?
This past week, while attempting to make reservations at a few spots that are always hard to get into (e.g. Il Buco, Carbone), I found they’ve all moved from OpenTable to either Reserve or Resy.
An investigation was called for!! Especially since I had bitched so much about both Reserve and Resy when they first launched. I objected to having to give them my credit card before they would make a reservation. And both seemed more cumbersome and harder to navigate than OpenTable. Boy, things have changed!!
In doing background, I discovered interesting details on the fee structure that totally explains why restaurants are ditching OpenTable. Restaurants are saving themselves $12,000 – $30,000 a year by going with Reserve or Resy vs. OpenTable.
I totally appreciate what a drag it is for restaurants to spend this much on the reservations system but as a frequent diner, it is also frustrating to find my restaurants spread out over 3 or 4 different apps. At most, the industry can support two services….in my opinion!!
Read on below.
OpenTable is nearly 20 years old: it launched in 1998
- It has seated more than 1 billion diners. It books and seats more than 21 million diners per month.
- It is currently owned by Priceline and has 38,000 restaurant clients worldwide.
- It charges restaurants a cover fee on every reservation of $1 per person per reservation with a $249 monthly fee.
- Reserve and Resy, on the other hand, charge a flat monthly fee of $199 a month – sometimes as low as $99 a month when they are entering a new market.
Reserve was founded in 2014 and is available in 125 cities
- Since it launched, it has shifted its focus from being a “concierge service” for restaurants, where you – the diner – had to pay a service charge of $5 to make a reservation (stupid idea!!).
- It currently is the exclusive partner for more than 500 restaurants.
- It has seated more than 9 million diners.
- It works pretty much like OpenTable now but with fewer, but BETTER, restaurants e.g. it’s where you need to go to get your res at Le Coucou.
- In NYC, it looks like all the younger, hipper, more up and coming restaurant groups are using Reserve including Starr Restaurants, Major Food Group, Taavo Somer, and Andrew Carmellini.
- Vedge, the trend-setting vegan fine-dining restaurant in Philadelphia stopped using OpenTable last year and signed on with Reserve. The biggest reason: saving at least $30,000 a year. (Source: billypenn.com)
- As of late last year, 40-plus restaurants in the Philly area made the switch – from high-profile spots like Vedge to neighborhood favorites like Hungry Pigeon.
- Several celebrities have also invested in the app including Jared Leto.
Resy, also founded in 2014, comes to us from Gary Vaynerchuk and Ben Leventhal (Eater)
- Resy is available in 50 US cities.
- In late 2016, Airbnb invested $13 million in the brand, with plans to integrate the reservations service into its own app — bringing Resy to Airbnb’s vast network of tourists and travelers.
- Apparently their point of difference is that they make prime tables available for app users who need a table NOW – and access to those immediate tables comes with a fee.
- I’ve only ever used them because a specific restaurant e.g. Lilia in Brooklyn or Il Buco in Manhattan is only available through them – and I’ve never paid a fee.
- Their line-up of restaurants is somewhat inconsistent – they support both chains like Hillstone as well as some very cool independents like Atoboy (Korean) and Llama Inn (Peruvian).
Yelp also had an arrangement with OpenTable, now ended since they acquired Nowait for $40 million.
- Nowait is primarily for casual restaurants and thru Yelp’s interface, diners will able to put themselves on restaurants’ waiting lists for tables without physically waiting.