Opentable Special Requests: When Flexibility Pays

Marketing 9 minute read 25th December 2023

OpenTable is one of the best online booking systems for restaurants. If you are looking for solutions for house reservations, seriously check this software out. Part of what makes it so unique is its special requests feature. These requests allow diners to request dining experiences to transform and personalize regular reservations. On OpenTable, special requests are all about flexibility. An open box appears at the bottom of the reservation listing, allowing guests to input any requests. This could be anything from a specific seat, table, or a birthday candle surprise.

This flexibility can really pay off. Why? Special requests are a one-way ticket to your customer’s heart. You are investing in a pot of customer loyalty, and subconsciously, guests are buying into a sense of reciprocity. OpenTable is one of the best software precisely because of this feature. This guide will introduce you to the world of OpenTable’s special requests and why you should care. Get your customers to click that reservation icon faster than ever before.

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What Is the Special Request Option for on OpenTable?

What is the special request option for OpenTable? You can learn all about how OpenTable works. But this special request feature is something extra important to learn about. Gone are the days of a reservation card. Now, guests make their reservations online with just a few clicks.

OpenTable is a restaurant booking system that helps guests book their dining experiences and keeps bookings simple for restaurant businesses. Businesses link a form to their website, which takes guests to input their details and make a reservation listing. Part of this form is a box - the special request option box.

Here, guests can type in any requests or things they’d like in their dining experience not mentioned on the form. For instance, they can request a specific table with a view. Or they’d like to request a high chair. The whole point of this option is that it allows guests to ask ahead of time. These things could boost their experience. And these things will also help reduce your staff’s workload and communication when guests arrive. It is a win-win. And it is the perfect chance to bond and get off on a better foot with your guests.

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OpenTable Special Requests: Birthday Ideas

We’ll first look at one of the common OpenTable special requests; birthday ideas and requests can shape the guest experience. This varies on a guest-by-guest basis. However, you can generally expect classics like balloons, candles on cakes, and singing. You may also get requests for specific drinks or decorations upon arrival.

Sometimes, guests want to arrive beforehand to set up the surprise. And sometimes they may ask you to do so. If using OpenTable and offering the special requests feature, it’s a great idea to have some candles and balloons handy. This makes it super easy to oblige birthday requests - making you even more popular.

Of course, you can reject requests. You can also contact guests and offer to meet their requests for a fee. We’d advise against doing this for simple requests, like candles in desserts or balloons. But if a guest is requesting a specific expensive champagne or elaborate decorations, it’s often necessary. Just message back saying that this is the price breakdown if they are happy moving forward.

Lastly, if you get a special request about a birthday, just remember to be extra attentive on the day. It is worth letting your staff know. What is important is the dining experience as a whole, and staff attentiveness and attitude shape that more than candles.

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OpenTable Special Requests: Anniversary Ideas

Another common addition to OpenTable special requests, anniversary celebrations are a popular reason guests use the feature. Dining out at restaurants is a hugely traditional way to celebrate an anniversary. By offering a special request feature, guests can further observe and demonstrate their spouse’s appreciation. It facilitates some of the most grand romantic demonstrations - good marketing for you and brownie points for them.

Common anniversary requests include candles, champagne, flowers, and special dishes. You can offer to set things up for an extra fee. And if someone mentions an anniversary in the special requests box, it’s worth reaching out with a ‘menu’ of extras. You could take the weight off their shoulders and show that you care about their experience and celebration.

How many husbands do you know that would feel relief at someone else organizing flower shopping? This is the case with non-romantic anniversaries, too, like business anniversaries. There’s great power and loyalty-building capacity in offering to help organize extra surprises. It might be helpful for those who aren’t sure how to make more specific special requests at restaurants.

We’d suggest keeping candles handy for anniversaries and offering complimentary wine or prosecco on arrival.

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Final Thoughts: Why Offer Special Requests on OpenTable?

So, why should you offer special requests on OpenTable? What are the benefits? In short, offering special requests is a flexibility that shows you go the extra mile for customers. You care about their dining experiences and want them to have a fabulous time. It will build your network of loyal customers and garner you better reviews faster. This is vital for running a successful business and maximizing your turnover. Special requests are your ticket to success.

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