How Does OpenTable Work: Creating Slick Bookings

Marketing 9 minute read 25th October 2023

When running a restaurant, you can see how quickly tasks build up. Sure, you get your slow periods with just one or two tables so that you can focus on their dining experience. But sooner or later, you always know there will be the ‘rush.’ And that’s where online reservation software like OpenTable comes in. So, how does OpenTable work? How can you use this reservation software to create a slick booking system?

In this guide, we’ll tell you all you need to know about using OpenTable to manage your reservations and tables. You’ll soon catch up, whether you want to know about availability controls, table assignment, or the software.

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A General Overview: What Is OpenTable and How Does OpenTable Work for Restaurants?

So, what is OpenTable, and how does OpenTable work for restaurants? OpenTable is a reservation software that allows restaurants to accept bookings that customers make online. Restaurant owners and managers can then accept or decline booking requests. It is super popular, with over 125 million diners using the software to connect with restaurants. Restaurants can include a booking link in their Google profile or website. The customer then clicks on the link to the booking request page.

Having a booking system and table management is essential when opening a restaurant. OpenTable works by offering restaurants a more effective way of accepting booking requests than having to sit on the phone. You just pay a package fee and let the software manage your reservations. Online reservations are a breeze - they even assign tables for you.

How Does OpenTable Reservations Work?

The answer to ‘how do OpenTable reservations’ work varies depending on who you ask. From a customer perspective, the system is super simple. Those wanting to dine at a restaurant simply follow the link on the website and input their reservation request details. You then get a notification saying whether or not the restaurant accepts your request.

For the restaurant manager or owner, you can accept or deny incoming OpenTable reservations. The software shows you which tables you have available and if you can squeeze them in. It even has a handy visual layout of your tables so you can visualize seating plans and turnover. When you accept or decline the reservation request, the booking is finalized, and OpenTable notifies the customer.

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How Does OpenTable Rewards Work?

Hold on, though, how do OpenTable rewards work? OpenTable has a brilliant system that rewards diners for booking restaurant reservations. The reward system encourages customers to use the reservation software rather than ringing or walking in. The diners can then collect points to redeem for rewards like money off of meals. This is great for restaurant owners, not just OpenTable, as it encourages more predictable reservation-making. And, of course, the customers get a pretty good deal, too.

OpenTable rewards is an effective loyalty program that benefits all parties - restaurants, OpenTable, and customers. Just look into the psychology of loyalty if you want to learn more.

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Different Types of OpenTable Plans

OpenTable has a few different plans you can settle for depending on your wants. There’s also a free trial on the Basic plan, which you can use for a no-pressure taster of the software. You can easily browse the different plans online. But check out our quick overview here for an immediate idea of the 2023-2024 rates and pricing plans:

  • Basic: $39

The Basic Plan is the cheapest and offers reservation-taking, marketing tools, survey tools, and direct messaging.

  • Core: $249

The Core Plan has all the Basic features, table management, and availability controls. It also has inventory controls.

  • Pro: $449

The Pro Plan has everything above, plus email campaigns and guest profiles on automation. It also has staff scorecards, which is a nice touch.

Top 3 Alternatives to OpenTable

Other online booking systems are available for the restaurant industry, not just OpenTable. We won’t lie; OpenTable is easily one of the most popular restaurant reservation software. But these alternatives to OpenTable are worth considering as well.

  • ResDiary

This software works with hospitality venues in general, not just restaurants. It has over 60 integrative tools and allows table management and reservation-taking online. ResDiary is budget-friendly and takes zero commission - an impressive touch, especially for small businesses.

  • TableAgent

Whoever said nothing good in life comes free hadn’t met TableAgent. This free reservation system uses the cloud to take reservations online. It lets you accept online payments, manage your tables, and accept booking requests from phones, tablets, and laptops.

  • Tablein

Tablein is another popular option at a modest pricing level. It has reservation software that automatically scans your bookings for available tables and accepts reservations out of hours.

Final Thoughts: How Does OpenTable Work for Small Businesses

It is worth investing in apps and software like OpenTable, even as a small business. You may think that fewer tables and fewer reservations means you can go it alone. But the truth is that human errors can be even more difficult for small businesses. After all, where do you put the guests you forgot to reserve if you actually have no tables available? Furthermore, reservation software is excellent for taking menial tasks off your hands. This way, you can focus on more exciting things to grow your business.

OpenTable works in the same way for small businesses. You simply allow customers to make reservations online. It is still worth investing in - even if you have to direct phone call queries to your online system.

We all know that running a restaurant is a juggling act, so take reservations out of the equation. It isn’t just knowing the answer to ‘how does OpenTable work’. It makes life easier and frees up your expertise for more ambitious projects. Take Beambox, for example; our tool helps you collect marketing details through captive portal WiFi. Start your Beambox free trial today. Take advantage of OpenTable to manage your reservations and set up another passive project to boost your restaurant.

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