7 good reasons to reserve online
September 20, 2007
No one likes calling a hot new restaurant to wangle a 7 p.m. table. But making reservations is getting a lot easier now that restaurants in the Twin Cities are going online. OpenTable's online reservation system (opentable.com) started in 1998, mainly focusing on San Francisco, and it has quickly spread across America. Here are top reasons to use the service:
1. It's always open. You can make a reservation at 2 a.m. at some 7,000 restaurants around the world, with the highest concentration in San Francisco and New York. Right now, about 150 Twin Cities restaurants have signed on, and more are joining every month.
2. It's immediate. The restaurants that have Open Table have done away with pen and paper. Everything is now computerized, so the system immediately confirms whether there is availability for the time and day you want. If you're planning a trip, you can search according to location or type of restaurant.
3. Special requests are part of the package. Once you've got your reservation, you can request a special table or add notes, like "Please have a chilled bottle of nice champagne waiting." (Of course, whether your request actually gets honored depends on the restaurant.) Another feature: You have the option to invite friends and forward details about the reservation, including time, a map and a guest list.
4. It's silent. You're at work and you need to make a dinner reservation. You can do it with just a few keystrokes - and without the entire office knowing you'll be dining at Kincaid's in St. Paul tonight.
5. You're in charge. No more being treated poorly by some harried hostess. If your time isn't available, you don't have someone immediately tossing out inconvenient times. There's also no getting put on hold and having to endure Muzak. You have time to look at the choices and then think before making a decision.
6. You will have written proof. Diners receive a confirmation number as well as directions and parking information. Most restaurants will let you book 30 days ahead.
7. It's free! Not only does it cost the diner nothing, but registrants also earn dining reward points that can be cashed in at participating restaurants.
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