OpenTable, Inc.
Sep 19, 2001
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Reserve Your Table Online

Chicago Sun Times

When it comes to making a restaurant reservation, are you tired of getting a busy signal? Frustrated by being put on hold? Fed up with having to call four to five places that can accommodate your party?

When it comes to making a restaurant reservation, are you tired of getting a busy signal? Frustrated by being put on hold? Fed up with having to call four to five places that can accommodate your party?

Well, with online restaurant reservation services, you won’t get a busy signal, you won’t get put on hold and you won’t have to make five phone calls.

OpenTable.com is a real time reservation network. The San Francisco-based company works directly with restaurants, offering them the hardware and software, so they can immediately accept online reservations.

“We give the restaurants a touch-screen computer that replaces their paper book,” said Regan Daniels, director of communications for OpenTable.

OpenTable can accept reservations at 1,400 restaurants in 36 markets. In Chicago, OpenTable works with more than 130 restaurants including Bin 36, Tru, Everest, Gibsons Steakhouse, Nine and Naha.

When searching for a restaurant on OpenTable, you can search by neighborhood, cuisine and price, or pick the restaurant by name. The restaurants include short descriptions that the establishments write themselves, as well as links to published reviews from Fodor’s, Zagat and local publications.

The service handles reservation requests immediately, and there is no booking fee. OpenTable’s reservation form includes a space for comments so you can alert the restaurant about a special occasion or dietary needs. Iseatz.com also offers online reservations that are for immediate booking. “It is not a request. If you reserve, you are guaranteed the seat,” said Wendy Bullard, vice president of operations for ISeatz.com.

Iseatz.com offers the opportunity to make online reservations at 750 restaurants in 34 cities. In Chicago, establishments include Dozo, Lucca’s, Café Bernard, Vivo and Tutto Italiano.

Although Iseatz.com does not feature reviews, it does include a detailed description for each restaurant including its ambience, what it is best-known for, photos and the opportunity to preview the restaurants menu.

Bullard said the Web site adds about 80 to 100 new restaurants each month. “There was definitely a learning curve for people,” said Bullard. But many patrons have become accustomed to making airline reservations and hotel bookings online,” she said, “ so it is just a matter of knowing that restaurant reservations are also available.”