Away On Business: A Short Cut to the Table
December 16, 1999
CHICAGO (Reuters) - A business dinner for six at a client's favorite restaurant in a distant city?
Business travelers in the United States now have a new tool to arrange something like that even before leaving home, with an Internet connection and a few taps on the keyboard.
San Francisco-based OpenTable (www.opentable.com) now has about 150 restaurants at which on-line reservations can be made and confirmed, and the network is growing rapidly, according to Chuck Templeton, who founded the company in 1998.
"The number is growing every day and, considering that we launched not all that long ago, we think it's going to be pretty big," he said. "There are a ton of restaurants that take reservations and they're looking for new ways to reach a customer base and make it easier to dine."
One attractive feature, he added, is that reservations can be made 24 hours a day, a boon for business travelers who often keep nonstandard hours and are frequently faced with sudden changes in plans.
OpenTable currently arranges reservations, or soon will, for restaurants in Boston, New York, Washington, Chicago, Vail, Colo., Los Angeles, the San Francisco area and Seattle.
The listings show the type of cuisine, a brief description of specialty dishes, hours of operation, credit cards accepted, bar service, parking and other details. Templeton says there are plans to include more detailed sample menus and prices in each listing.
The prospective customer can click on a directions button which provides a neighborhood map through a link to Yahoo from which other information on nearby lodging and related information also can be obtained.
Thursday, December 16, 1999
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