A decade ago, finding a good quality restaurant that serves tasty food was difficult. Besides, if someone recommended you a good one, you probably needed to wait in a line due to get a table. Nowadays, you can use on-demand restaurant booking apps like OpenTable or Dineout to find a good find a place to eat and reserve your table in advance. If you are wondering how OpenTable works and how to develop an app like OpenTable, let’s find it out.
Notable features of OpenTable for its users
OpenTable is available to end-users on multiple platforms. OpenTable has a website, a mobile app for Android and iOS devices. It offers a variety of features to use to help them find and book a restaurant based on their preferences. Let’s have a look at the most crucial functionality OpenTable provides to its users.
- Location-based search and filters
- Restaurant booking history
- User-generated reviews
- Dining rewards program
- Online payment system
These features help a person to find a book a table at an available restaurant quickly. If you are willing to develop an app like OpenTable, make sure you understand all these features and ensure to add necessary features in your restaurant booking app.
1. Location-based search and restaurant filters
To use OpenTable, users will need to create an account or login with their Facebook account. Once they are logged in, the app will suggest to them some restaurants based on their current location. Users also enter their cuisine preferences and other details and app will match it with the nearby restaurants.
The list of restaurants shown to users is based on distance, available reservation time, rating and customer reviews. Besides, users can search for a specific restaurant, area, or city and filter the list of restaurants by cuisine, rating, seating options, price, and time slot.
2. Previously booked restaurants and personalized experience
In the profile section, the user can see the list of booking they have made in the past. This feature is helpful for users to get quick access to restaurants they’ve already tried. This is a handy feature if you want to recommend some restaurants to someone or wants to recall the name of a restaurant you visited in the past.
Apart from the restaurant booking history, the app’s home screen helps users to make better dining decisions by suggesting appropriate restaurant options. Additionally, the user can give feedback on recommendations provided by the app right from the home screen.
When a user shares feedback, the app includes it in the users’ taste profile. If you’re planning to develop an app like OpenTable, giving such features in your app will enhance user experience.
3. User-generated reviews and rating
Unlike Zomato, OpenTable doesn’t let everyone publish a review about a restaurant. A diner must be confirmed as seated at the restaurant to give a review and rating about that restaurant. This feature makes much sense and also prevents fake reviews and promoted reviews.
In terms of the actual functionality, the diner can rate a restaurant’s food, ambiance, and service between 1 to 5 and put comments about the overall experience.
According to Bizrate Insights, approximately 65% of the consumers check online reviews before they make purchases decision. Hence, allowing the user to publish a review is an excellent feature to include if you are building an app like OpenTable.
4. Dining rewards program
Having a reward program is one of the most effective and assured ways to covert most of the customers into regular or repeat customers. Rewards make users feel more engaged. OpenTable has a dining reward program in the form of loyalty points.
In the dining reward program, each user will receive 100 points for every reservation made through OpenTable. If customers make a reservation in off-peak hours, they will get additional 1 thousand points.
Once a user collects two thousand points, he/she can convert points into Dining Rewards Gift and show it to the restaurant. Users can also convert their points into a $20 value Dining Cheque that can be used at any restaurant in the OpenTable’s list.
5. Restaurant Registration
In the restaurant reservation apps or websites, restaurants can submit their information by completing a straightforward registration form. To create their profiles, the apps go through a verification process and create a personal account called Restaurant Centre.
To assist diners in deciding, the restaurants can include information about the cuisine, contact information, prices, payment options, serving hours, and parking. During particular times of the year, they can include coupons and discounts. Customers’ ratings and reviews of the restaurants can be checked. Electronic Reservation Book can be used to manage reservations and tables at these registered restaurants.
6. Management Of Reservations
Allow users to easily make reservations by searching for available tables at the time and date of their choosing.
7. Updates On Availability In Real-Time
Users can quickly locate and reserve tables that meet their requirements if they can view real-time updates regarding restaurant availability.
8. Confirmation And A Notification
Provide users with notifications and text or email confirmations regarding their reservations, including the reservation’s time, date, and location.
9. Customer Service
Customers should have access to customer support if they have concerns or questions regarding their reservations.
10 Integration With Services From Outside Parties
Provide users a seamless dining experience by integrating with third-party services like Yelp, Google Maps, and social media platforms.
11. Online payment via the mobile app
OpenTable mobile app allows Android and iPhone users to pay the restaurant checks (bill) inside the app itself via Apple Pay and credit cards. The transactions are processed via Braintree (a division of PayPal). Because of this feature, customers don’t need to wait for their bill; they can see the amount and pay instantly.
By doing this, restaurants can drive loyalty and engagement by allowing customers to pay anytime when customers are at the restaurant. If you are planning to develop an app like OpenTable, you can also try another payment processor such as Stripe.
Overall, the key to developing a successful restaurant reservation app like OpenTable is to provide users with a platform for making restaurant reservations that is easy to use, dependable, and convenient. You can make an app that meets the needs of diners and restaurant owners alike by incorporating these essential features.
What Technology Stack Is Necessary To Create An OpenTable-like App For Restaurant Reservations?
A tech stack that includes the following components is required for a restaurant table reservation app development like OpenTable:
- Back-end Development: Ruby on Rails, Node.js, or Python
- Database: PostgreSQL or MySQL
- Cloud Services: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform, or Microsoft Azure for hosting and deployment.
- Payment Gateway Integration: Braintree or PayPal, Stripe, for online payments
- Messaging Services: Twilio or SendGrid for SMS and email notifications
- API Integration: Integration with third-party services such as Google Maps API for location services
- Mobile App Development: Native Android and iOS or hybrid mobile app development frameworks like Ionic or React Native.
- Testing Frameworks: Mocha, Jest, or Chai for automated testing.
It is important to note that the specific technologies used may vary based on the development team’s preferences and the project’s requirements. However, these fundamental components are needed to construct an OpenTable-like restaurant reservation app.
Besides users, restaurants also need OpenTable
Reserving a restaurant via OpenTable wouldn’t be possible without special reservation tools such as Electronic Reservation Book (ERB) and GuestCenter. The ERB helps restaurants to manage reservations, seating arrangements, and waitstaff assignments. Besides, ERB also stores customer information and their activities and allows restaurants to run email marketing campaigns.
While OpenTable is free for diners, OpenTable charges one-time installation and training fee of $ 700 and monthly subscription fees for their services. Besides, OpenTable charges cover fees of $2.50 per diner to the restaurants. (Subscription and cover fees may vary for each country).
For OpenTable, subscription and cover fees are consistent revenue-generating sources. In return, they help restaurants be more visible, attract diners and manage the restaurant more efficiently. So, it’s a win-win for both the entities.
What Is OpenTable’s Revenue Model?
OpenTable generates revenue in two distinct ways:
First, by selling reservations management software to restaurants.
Second, by providing a booking service online through its app and using partner websites like Google, Yelp, and Menu page.
Consumers can make these reservations for free, but restaurants must pay for reservations made through the Open Table app. Restaurants can take advantage of OpenTable, a dinner reservation app, for two significant services:
Electronic Reservations Booking
Owners of restaurants can rely on OpenTable to provide this essential service. It helps them manage restaurant front-of-the-house operations, check seating arrangements, care for customers and replace the out-of-date pen-and-paper booking system.
The restaurant proprietor must pay a one-time installation fee, a monthly subscription, and the cost of training for these services.
Open Table Application Connection
Restaurants can take reservations online thanks to this online platform. It weighs less than the previous feature. For each customer booking made through the Open Table app, member restaurants must pay a portion of their profit in this manner.
OpenTable charges the affiliated restaurants an additional fee to be listed on their website and mobile app. So, this is how apps like OpenTable that book restaurant tables make money. You can read our blog post on business models for food delivery if you want more information.
If you are a restaurant chain, having your own app is better
Despite OpenTable being a fantastic way to book a restaurant table online, not all restaurants (especially the larger ones) are using it. If restaurants are having a stable flow of regular customers, they usually don’t want to pay $2.5 per customer to OpenTable.
Hence, smaller restaurants still prefer pen-and-paper bookings and large restaurant chains have got their restaurant booking app. For example, an international group of restaurants named Momofuku uses OpenTable along with its reservation system. A Chicago-based restaurant called Alinea has also introduced its ticketing platform that allows users to book a table in the restaurant.
How Much Does It Cost To Create An OpenTable-Like App?
When creating a restaurant reservation app, an essential thought that strikes is, “how much does the OpenTable app cost.“
However, it has no definite answer. The app’s complexity, the number of features, the design, and the developer all influence the price of OpenTable app development. The approximate costs for various startup cases are as follows:
For startups seeking investment, developing an application like OpenTable with a straightforward UI and UX design flow and only MVP features costs $7000 to $8000.
Second, starting with a website or software-only service like OpenTable will set you back anywhere from $17000 to $15000.
A complete solution, which includes a front-end and back-end iOS and Android app, starts at $290,000.
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