A restaurant that takes bookings basically has unicorn status these days. Not that we're fully against this walk-ins only business — it's been known to work in our favour — but sometimes you just want to be confident you'll be able to take your Dad to dinner without a grumpy one-hour wait. For those times, you'll need to find a restaurant you can book. Helping out with that conundrum will soon be San Fransisco-based restaurant booking service OpenTable, which will be launching in Australia later this month.
OpenTable has been around since 1998, and while it's an international service — they're present in Canada, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Mexico and the UK — they take up the most space in the North American market, where it supposedly facilitates 52% of restaurant reservations through its mobile app. The app is something of a cross between restaurant finder Zomato and reservation site Dimmi, which was bought out by TripAdvisor earlier this year. The OpenTable desktop site and mobile app lets you search restaurants with available tables, view the restaurant's menu, user reviews, and any other restaurants nearby you might be interested in.
And while it isn't all too different to Dimmi in terms of functionality, it certainly looks a lot nicer and has some handy integrations for the hospitality industry, such as the Guest Centre booking management app for front-of-house staff.
"Whether it’s at a cafe, neighbourhood bistro or hatted restaurant, Aussies love to dine out and we're committed to empowering what that experience means for people," says APAC VP and Managing Director Adam Clarke.
"OpenTable's growth has been driven by our ability to develop products that cater for the changing needs of restaurants and diners. Here in Australia, we will continue to innovate by providing insight into dining trends and behaviours, and building on all we have learned over the past two decades."
The OpenTable app is set to go live mid-December, and will allow you to make bookings at restaurants including Rockpool and MoVida. Of course, this service only works if your restaurant of choice doesn't work on a no-bookings system — no one can help you there, I'm afraid.