Operating a restaurant is tough work, but managing OpenTable along with daily operations can make the workload easier.
The popular restaurant primarily works for restaurants that use reservations, but you can be a power user by taking advantage of the additional features and products available on the platform. Here are a few ways that OpenTable can work for you.
OpenTable = More Customers
The company says that over 21 million people use the platform every month. That’s a lot of new customers for your business. By providing accurate information on your OpenTable page, images, and reviews you can give people everything they need to make an informed decision about their dinner plans.
OpenTable Can Get You More Reviews
The company also claims that 850,000 reviews are posted every month, which is another reason why you should consider using OpenTable. Depending on their dining experience these people will likely leave a review. Each review is important because it provides social proof. Potential customers see reviews as validation from past customers. If other people liked your restaurant, it stands to reason they will too.
Reviews can also give you a better picture of the strengths and pain points of your current service.
Reviews give you the opportunity to respond to negative feedback. By responding, you an opportunity to change perceptions about the experience and invite people to come back.
In addition to text feedback, users also use a five-point rating system to judge the experience across different categories. This includes sections such as Food, Ambience, Value, and Service, which all feed into a restaurant’s overall score.
You Can Manage OpenTable Alongside Your Restaurant Operations
When you sign up with OpenTable, you can utilize one of its three software products, which help streamline your business operations.
The basic package is the Electronic Reservation Book (ERB) system, which uses a local terminal to manage reservations. However, you can also utilize the system to rearrange your seating plan to accommodate different party sizes.
Another option is the Connect package, which is available as an iPhone app or a website on desktop and mobile devices. You can use it to accept reservations from your website, OpenTable, and other sites with reservation functionality such as Google, Eater, and TripAdvisor. After accepting the reservation the system will automatically send a confirmation email to the user.
The top-tier solution for OpenTable is GuestCenter. In addition to the available features on the ERB and Connect packages, GuestCenter also allows you to receive shift summaries to make sure your staff are operating at optimal pace. It also features a Reporting and Analytics section as well as the ability to create guest profiles (more on these in a bit).
How Much Does OpenTable Cost?
Regardless of the plan you choose, please note that you’ll have to pay costs to use the service. Both ERB and Connect charge you for every reservation. With ERB, the prices vary depending on the reservation type while Connect will charge $0.25 for reservations made on your website, Facebook, or an email marketing campaign. For reservations made on OpenTable or any of its partnered sites, you’ll pay $2.50.
GuestCenter pricing is more expensive. In addition to a $1 charge per reservation, you’ll have to fork over $249 every month.
Manage OpenTable From A Mobile Device
Diners use OpenTable through their phone, and you can too. The Connect and GuestCenter offerings have mobile support so that you don’t have to deal with a large and bulky terminal. If you want the portability feature with a larger screen you can also use a tablet.
Having app support for OpenTable management is important. More often than not, you’ll probably be standing or moving around the restaurant during peak periods of service. By having Connect or GuestCenter available on your mobile device you can spot issues and quickly make changes without going to the back of the restaurant or finding a laptop to use.
A Better Guest Experience
GuestCenter also features the ability to create Guest Profiles. With information provided by the user, you can have a better understanding of each person visiting your restaurant.
These profiles are also handy for returning customers because you can improve their experience and ensure they come back for more repeat visits. If you own multiple locations you can share profiles to other managers as well.
Managing OpenTable With Analytics
There’s always something to improve in your restaurant and GuestCenter analytics can help recognize these pain points. You can see your turn times (the amount of time a table is used by different parties in a single service session), and find ways to optimize the dining experience for visitors and staff.
The analytics system can also track referrals. In the long run, this means that you can cultivate relationships with the right diners and turn them into promoters for your restaurant.
As an added bonus you can also integrate GuestCenter to your point-of-sale system to see revenue reports in real-time.
Managing OpenTable Reviews and Feedback From Other Sites
Chances are OpenTable isn’t the only site that has your restaurant listing. To maximize exposure, you are probably also gathering reviews and ratings from places like Yelp, Facebook, Google, and even TripAdvisor.
With a platform like ReviewTrackers you can see all of your reviews on a single dashboard, and create a workflow that allows you to track and respond to the most important reviews for your restaurant.