OpenTable.com's benefit to restaurants is more than a jiffy new way to book reservations. "If a customer likes Table 14, if he likes to be waited on by Victor and if he likes to drink Scotch and water, we can put all that in the computer and use it to serve our customers better," said John Sheely, owner of the Riviera Grill. "That is a very powerful resource to have."
The Old-World Charm of cafe life and the new-age speed of the Internet are finding common ground in a new online reservation service in Houston.
Hungry Houstonians can get a table at a handful of local restaurants by logging on to OpenTable.com and making reservations with a click of a mouse. The Riviera Grill is the first local eatery to go online with the new service, but it will soon be joined by Tony's, Anthony's, La Strada, the Rainbow Lodge, Tasca and the World Beat Grill.
Officials at the San Francisco-based company believe they can ultimately get as many as 700 local restaurants to sign up with the service.
"Our system is designed to make the reservation process easier for diners by enabling them to search a number of restaurants for availability within seconds," said OpenTable founder and CEO Chuck Templeton.
The service is free to the public, which can make reservations 24 hours a day and search restaurants by price range, neighborhood or cuisine. The real-time system gives continuous updates on a restaurant's booking status, and it churns out an instant confirmation for each reservation.
The page for the Riviera Grill, for instance, gives information about the food, the decor, the dress code, the parking, the payment options and party accommodations. It even has a little map showing how to get there.
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