Thursday, April 28, 2011

OpenTable? Not always.

This little nugget from Cliff Bostock of Creative Loafing got me thinking about how frustrating OpenTable.com can be.  Don't get me wrong - I love OpenTable and use it quite often.  I'd much rather click a few buttons on a website than pick up the phone and - gasp - call another human being!

It's not shyness keeping me from calling, it's probably a combination of laziness and my general aversion to phone calls.  But whatever it is, it's definitely not a surefire ticket to a table for 2 at 8 PM.  Seemingly more and more often, it means going through the motions online and then picking up the phone to get a reservation because OpenTable is showing nothing available.

What's going on here?  OpenTable.com costs restaurants money.  It's no big secret that restaurants don't make every table available on OpenTable.  But are hot restaurants blocking out nearly all of their tables at peak hours, as one commenter suggested, in order to avoid paying for reservations?  I can't say for sure, but it wouldn't shock me given the strain many restaurants are under these days.  Either way, I love a good conspiracy theory!

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