OpenTable.com has its Eye on Charlotte for Expansion
July 18, 2008
The company hopes more restaurants and diners will use its online service to manage and book reservations.
“We’ve seen amazing growth in Charlotte,” says Scott Jampol, senior director of consumer marketing of San Francisco-based OpenTable.com. “It continues to be a great emerging market for us.”
Fifty-one restaurants in the Charlotte area subscribe to the services of OpenTable.com. And 22 of the 42 restaurants participating this week in Charlotte’s restaurant week use the service. In May, OpenTable.com seated 3 million diners around the world. The company declines to say how many of those were in Charlotte, but it expects to increase the number of subscribing restaurants here.
Local restaurants signed on so far include Ratcliffe on the Green, GW Fins, Fig Tree, The Oceanaire and Copper. Several national franchises with Charlotte locations, such as Ruth’s Chris Steak House and The Palm, also use the service.
OpenTable.com’s service includes hardware installed in a restaurant and a Web site for reservations and information. Installation of the closed-circuit system averages about $1,200. Restaurants also pay about $200 per month for maintenance. The system can be used to track reservations, note customer information and manage waiter shifts, among other tasks.
The hardware is linked to OpenTable.com and the restaurant’s Web site, allowing customers to see when tables are available and make reservations. More than 8,500 restaurants around the world subscribe to the service.
Aaron Somerville, manager of GW Fins, says the system is very user-friendly. “It’s a lot better than the paper system,” he says. “It’s just very easy and saves a lot of time.”
OpenTable.com recently launched more features to attract diners. On June 30, it created a mobile application for cell phones and PDAs. Mobile users can see what restaurants have availability and book a table more easily, Jampol says.
In May, OpenTable.com started a diner-feedback program. The company sends diners a questionnaire after their reservation is complete.
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