Picture this Scenario: You are sitting at your desk contemplating where you will have dinner during your upcoming business trip to New York…or maybe it’s San Francisco…or Chicago. You could take the time to thumb through some restaurant guides, if only you had them for those cities. Or, you could log on to OpenTable.com, a fledgling website that offers real-time online reservations at restaurants in eight major markets.
OpenTable.com, while still a work in progress, has signed up several major restaurant groups in New York, Boston, Washington D.C., Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and even Vail, Colorado. In total, it had 190 restaurant affiliates as of mid January, with plans to add more establishments every month.
Based in San Francisco, the interactive website is the brainchild of Chuck Templeton, who has a background in both the technology and restaurant industries. Launched this past August, OpenTable.com offers hungry browsers the ability to search eight cities by restaurant name, neighborhood, and type of cuisine. Once you decide where you’d like to book a table, the system allows for real-time reservations to be logged at participating restaurants-and it’s a free service.
Currently, major restaurants on the system include the establishments of Ark Restaurants Corp. in New York (Lutece), Lark Creek Group in the San Francisco area (One Market and Fog City Diner), and Lettuce Entertainment You Enterprises in Chicago, among others.
Templeton and his management team recently secured $10 million in investment capital earmarked for advertising the site and promoting OpenTable.com to potential restaurant participants.