As millennials buying power continues to grow, many businesses are adapting to accommodate their preferences. This is a generation in search of convenience, opting to do what they can with a click of a button on their phone without having to speak to anyone. This includes quickly making restaurant reservations, whether last-minute or planning a special occasion.
For many small businesses, building a website advanced enough to allow for online reservations can be a daunting and costly endeavor. Some restaurants may have the ability to manage their own reservations; but, they may also be in search of new ways to market to a broader group of diners, or just trying to get their name out there more.
We wanted to break down a few of the bigger players in this space to give a high-level overview of what they offer. One option isn’t better than the other. It all depends on your personalized business needs.
According to OpenTable’s site they offer restaurant marketing, data analytics, training, support and more for restaurants who sign up. Some compelling stats of the reach they can offer your business include:
- 21 million diners find restaurants through OpenTable each month
- Their diners have spent more than $16 billion at partner restaurants
- OpenTable diners write more than 850,000 reviews each month
Their app is user friendly, allowing a potential diner to search by location, time and day and then expand differently. You can also select a restaurant based on recommended options, cuisine type, and more.
Outside of the breadth of restaurants on OpenTable, potential diners may choose to use this reservation option over others because of the perks of booking through their site or app. Each reservation offers points that a diner can cash in for gift cards to OpenTable restaurants or Amazon. This could potentially sway guests away from making the reservation directly on the restaurant’s website, opting to use OpenTable instead.
OpenTable offers two different package options: GuestCenter or Connect. Connect is their standard offering that features “more covers without the table management.” GuestCenter, on the other hand, is a cloud based service that runs on both Apple and web-based products, marketed as their premium level of service.
This chart from their website makes it easy to compare the pros between the two:
Additionally, there is a $1,295 set-up cost when you start with them. OpenTable allows you to accept reservations through their website or through your own website via a widget.
You can find more information on all OpenTable can offer here.
Yelp bills themselves as a better restaurant booking system at a lower cost. The stats they offer are:
- 92 million diners seated in 2016
- Number one most frequently used site for finding restaurants
- Save, on average, $800 for every 1,000 online reservation
Yelp officially got in to the online reservation game in 2014, having already acquired SeatMe in 2013, leveraging the 95 million plus who use Yelp monthly. They went on to acquire Eat 24 in 2015, and partnered with NoWait, a company that helps diners skip the waiting time, in 2017.
They offer a single standard plan cheaper than the OpenTable options. There is a flat monthly fee for service and that’s it. No set-up fee, no individual reservation fee, no hidden fee.
To use, a potential diner searches by area and selects the restaurant to view availability. This can be a drawback to someone looking to make quick reservations.
Yelp also displays restaurant reviews front and center. This is a nice experience for potential diners to see, but if a restaurant has less than stellar reviews through the Yelp service, it may not be the best option for them. It also shows the most recent review below the star rating. If a restaurant has several great reviews, but your most recent one is negative, it will unfortunately be the review potential guests see until a new review comes in.
Like OpenTable, you can accept reservations through Yelp or through your own site with their widget. You can find more information on what Yelp could offer your restaurant by clicking here.
Resy is a complete restaurant reservation and waitlist system, boasting:
- 80 million diners seated
- 8% global no show rate
- 2,000 venues live
- 160 global cities
The search functionality allows users to search by date and guest count, and will show open time slots right on the search result page.
The downside of using this option is the reach. Since the service is only available in select cities, you are not reaching as many potential diners. It also curates the results, so your restaurant may not show in all searches. This is done with the potential diner in mind based on what they search and book; however, this can present a challenge in acquiring new customers.
You can find more information on what Resy could offer your restaurant by clicking here.