We decided to offer a 90 day free trial to restaurants that have left Open Table as a way to explore Reservation Genie risk free. We figure restaurants that left Open Table probably didn’t like their billing structure, so our $49 monthly fee and lack of cover fees from regular customers might appeal to them. The 90 day free trial will give them time to see that customers are A-OK booking reservations through other systems (the end result for customers is the same…they just want a reservation). Restaurants are so nervous they’ll lose business that they feel trapped by Open Table. For those of you who didn’t know there’s a group of restauranteurs out there that feel Open Table is too expensive and takes control of their customers, we recommend reading Mark Pastore’s blog post titled Is Open Table Really Worth It?
Why Does Open Table Cost So Much?
We’re impressed with what Open Table has accomplished. What impresses us the most is the fact they managed to get restaurants to help them build the the Open Table Network and then charge them more for reservations from that network in the future. The fact that they charge 25 cents per person for reservations that originate from the restaurant’s website seems fairly negligible. It’s the $1 per person they charge when the person books directly through Open Table in the future that adds up. To make matters worse, they encourage customers to search for 1000 point tables and those reservations cost the restaurant $7.50 per person! Add in a $199 monthly fee, extra fees for a back office license, and extra fees to promote your private dining room and suddenly it gets out of control. We’ve talked to restaurants in New York City that pay over $10,000 a month during peak season around Christmas. That’s probably more than they’re paying their general manager.
We Don’t Charge Cover Fees from Regular Customers
At Reservation Genie, we don’t charge cover fees for reservations that come from the restaurant’s website OR customers who return to book directly through ours in the future. So as more customers join our booking community, it doesn’t lead to higher invoices. We do charge cover fees for reservations from our concierge network, but it’s an optional program that only appeals to a few restaurants.
Many of our restaurants are not located near hotels and don’t get concierges referrals. Their invoices are routinely $49 per month. Check out the monthly reservation volume of one our clients and the corresponding invoice amounts below.
Harness the Power and Savings of “Perks”
All the marketing tools we offer use Perks that are given by the restaurant directly to the customer. VIP Perks are part of our integrated restaurant loyalty program and are given to customers who come back often. Off Peak Hour Perks are given to customers for coming in during slow times and work kind of like 1000 point tables. The restaurant can offer anything they want to customers as perks. Corazon at Castile Hill offers VIPs. has got great results by offering 20% off food items to VIPs. Sure those discounts add up, but at least the customer is getting the full value of the marketing and it’s not being shared with a middle man.
If you don’t like discounts, we recommend you offer a complimentary appetizer as your perk. This let’s you take advantage of the difference in menu prices and food costs. A complimentary appetizer may cost $15 on the menu, but only $5 in food costs. If you share it between 2 people, that’s only $2.50 per person which is a lot cheaper than $7.50 per person fee for 1000 point tables. It’s also a better deal for the customer as they get a $15 value today vs. a $10 gift card in the mail.
For more information on our 90 day free trial, just give us a call or set up a demo and we’ll give you a tour.