OpenTable App Redesign Emphasizes ‘On-The-Go’ Consumers And Same-Day Discovery

“We reviewed data from diner reservations and saw a dramatic rise in people looking to dine immediately," says OpenTable SVP Prasad Gune. "Based on this insight, we have redesigned our app experience to cater to this trend."

OpenTable is unveiling a redesigned app that promises to make it easier for diners to book and discover restaurants, especially at the last minute.

Despite being the largest restaurant reservation booking platform with over 25 million monthly users who can choose a from 45,000 restaurants around the world, the Booking Holdings (formerly known as Priceline Group) owned OpenTable is facing more intense competition for consumers and eateries from platforms such as Yelp Reservations, Reserve, Resy, and even more niche offerings like the pre-pay app Tock.

The app’s new home screen features two tabs, Book and Discover, which update restaurant reservations in real-time.

The OpenTable app’s new home screen features two tabs, Book and Discover.

The redesign was influenced by a study of activity on OpenTable, such as:

  • 56 percent of bookings today happen on mobile device (global number)
  • Roughly half of the mobile bookings are same-day
  • About a quarter of mobile bookings are within 3 hours of the dining experience

“The way people are searching for food has fundamentally changed,” Lee Zucker, Head of Industry/GM – Food Services Strategy, Product, GTM for Yext (Full disclosure: Yext owns GeoMarketing. More details on that relationship here). “Over 68 percent of people are searching by a cuisine or food item, not by a restaurant name.

“Consumers also expect to make that decision and transaction seamlessly without excess clicks and load times,” Zucker adds. “While most of the time this happens on engines like Google, Opentable’s new re-design promoting discovery based on cuisine, food items and nearby locations, shows their app trends are similar to that of search.”

To better reflect diners’ changing expections, OpenTable’s Book tab showcases restaurant options based on the diner’s location, time-of-day and the restaurant’s availability.

When tapping the Book tab, users see a new “now and nearby” map layout, which is aimed directly at the “on-the-go” or traveling diner looking for the perfect restaurant right now — aka, the “micro-moment.”

The Discover tab offers diners personalized restaurant recommendations based on their unique dining history and preferences.

“Today, everyone wants everything on-demand, and deciding where to dine out is no exception,” said Prasad Gune, SVP of Product, OpenTable. “We reviewed data from diner reservations and saw a dramatic rise in people looking to dine immediately. Based on this insight, we have redesigned our app experience to cater to this trend and make it fast and intuitive to discover and book the best restaurants for every dining occasion.”

Different Tabs For Different Times

An OpenTable rep told GeoMarketing that the new features are intended to benefit all categories of diners and dining establishments. The change is simply reflecting the different needs and availability the two sides face at varying times.

The two home screen tabs are meant to improve usability and gives diners faster access to key features like maps, cuisines, restaurant information, and recommendations.

For those looking to book a place immediately, the Book tab shows “near me” map listings along with reviews, photos, while offering a hyperlocal look at a surrounding area’s dining scene.

As for diners who want to explore what is on OpenTable more generally, the “Discover” tab helps to inspire with location-specific restaurant recommendations, personalized and expert picks, and highlight collections, such as “New & Hot” and “Great for Brunch.”

“I think OpenTable has done a nice job giving opportunity to all categories accepting reservations,” Yext’s Zucker says. “Ultimately OpenTable wants to be the destination for any consumer looking to book a reservation. A consumer isn’t booking a fine dining restaurant every time they want to eat, so it’s important they appeal to all categories.

“Also, when you think from the diner’s perspective, about half of all searches for a restaurant are done on-the-go, and the average consumer is eating at a restaurant within 24 hours, over 30 percent within the hour from the time they make that initial search,” Zucker says. “With these updates, OpenTable is appealing to both the planner and the impulsive buyer across restaurant categories.”

OpenTable’s app update is now available globally for all iOS users of the OpenTable app, while the Google Android version is coming soon.

The Competitive Landscape For Reservations

As we note above, OpenTable is facing an increasingly crowded marketplace for reservations. And the latest app redesign, as well as allowing users to book a table through voice activation via Amazon’s Alexa.

“We’re now seeing more competition within the restaurant reservation space,” Zucker says. “Consumers aren’t initially downloading reservation apps for the purpose of discovering more restaurants though. They’re downloading because of an incentive: the restaurant they want to book accepts reservations only from Resy, the consumer wants the rewards points from OpenTable, the restaurant doesn’t accept reservations, but allows a consumer put their name in a queue on Yelp’s NoWait. Once the app is downloaded, that’s when there’s unlimited possibilities to how that consumer behaves within that app, and there’s definitely more value in an app that allows for discovery, loyalty and an easy-booking experience.

“What consumers don’t understand though is the business model behind these reservation platforms, and it’s the reason we’re seeing so much competition popping up within the space,” Zucker points out. “Loyalty business is so vital to a restaurant’s success, but ultimately, restaurants will go with the reservation platform that brings them the most new business. It’s the discovery aspect within these apps that will help drive that.”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.