Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Special Feature: opentable.com
I have mentioned the website www.opentable.com several times in my posts recently, and I received an inquiry about it last week. It occurs to me that if one of my followers/readers is unfamiliar with opentable, there must be more. Here is a description of this great service.
Opentable is a website that allows the user to make restaurant reservations online. I've been using it for years, I can attest to its user-friendly format and reliability. You simply go to the website, select your city, and make a reservation at the restaurant of your choice. There are tons of restaurants in Atlanta who utilize opentable, including many chains as well as independent destinations. I've also successfully made reservations in San Diego, Hilton Head and Savannah. It's no more difficult to reserve a table in Lisbon, Portugal than it is right down the street from your office. (OK, Lisbon only currently has 1 participating restaurant, but the service is expanding all the time.)
Why do you want to make your reservations through opentable, as opposed to calling the restaurant or making a reservation directly on the restaurant's website? Because opentable rewards you for booking through their website. Typical reservations get you 100 points, but there are also 1,000 point reservations for select restaurants, mainly at off times of the week or day. If you are willing to eat out at 6pm on a Tuesday like an elderly person, you might be eligible for 1,000 points. When you accumulate 2,000 points you may request a $20 opentable gift certificate that is good at any participating restaurant. There are also 5,000 ($50) and 10,000 ($100) point levels. What sane foodie would turn down some free dining funds?
The website also allows the user to narrow down restaurants in a region by type of cuisine or neighborhood, a big help if you are planning to dine in a city/state/country with which you aren't entirely familiar. When you select a particular restaurant you can read a review, see the price range for an average meal and link up to the restaurant's website and/or menu, so opentable is truly a one stop experience. Once you make a reservation you get an email confirmation, and a reminder a couple of days before you are scheduled to dine out. You can also send an email to your dining companions right from the website, which can be a big time saver.
I like to use opentable to my utmost advantage by making reservations at restaurants in lower price ranges, then using my gift certificates in more expensive places that would normally be a stretch for me to afford. Hey, they make the rules. And the gift certificates are good for 6 months, so I have plenty of time to use them.
Verdict: A fantastic service for foodies everywhere.