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Reserve Strikes Back At OpenTable With Reserve For Restaurants

The company seeks to return more booking control to restaurateurs and entice smaller eateries with a reduced flat-fee structure.

Heating up its competition with OpenTable, Reserve has launched Reserve for Restaurants, a new booking portal and internal management system aimed at simplifying the journey from restaurant discovery to dining.

The Reserve.com domain — launched concurrently with Reserve for Restaurants — will function as the destination for customers to discover eateries based on location, type of cuisine, or both. They can then book directly on Reserve.com.

Internally, Reserve for Restaurants is designed to give more booking control back to restaurateurs. At reservation-heavy restaurants, for example, operators can choose when guests can book and where they can book from. They can choose to offer tables only on their proprietary website or on the Reserve app, or they can make them available across Reserve’s entire network. They can also manage existing reservations within the system.

The service costs a flat $99-per-month fee, a change from the company’s previous charge of $5 per booked table.

“Because no two restaurants are alike, we built a flexible, versatile table management system that can work across the industry,” Reserve said in a blog post. “We [aim to] give our partners the tools to run their restaurant the way they want to, making it fast and easy when they need it to be, and detailed and robust when they want it to be.”

This development looks like it will mean mostly good things for the restaurant community: Eateries have increased choice in terms of whether they’ll use OpenTable, Reserve, or both to manage their digital reservations and facilitate diner discovery. And, with Reserve’s reduced pricing structure — a flat $99 versus OpenTable’s $199 plus small incremental charges — smaller independent restaurants might be more willing to enter the age of online reservations.

But the question that remains to be answered is if Reserve has enough recognition to be “worth it” for restaurants in comparison to the nearly ubiquitous OpenTable. Local discovery is the name of the game here, and Reserve will need to boost awareness of its independent domain, Reserve.com, in order to attract a customer base that restaurants will want to reach with their listings — and tables.

But with a flat-fee structure and an extension of internal control for restaurateurs, Reserve appears to be on the right track.

“We want to be aligned with our restaurant partners,” CEO Greg Hong told Tech Crunch. “With that the alignment comes a better pricing structure — a flat fee for restaurants to use our table management product. You can have an unlimited amount of reservations and that’s the same flat fee.”

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of GeoMarketing.com. A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.