OpenTable Tries New Business Recipe 7

If you’re a foodie, you have a login for restaurant reservation website OpenTable. If you’re gadget savvy, you may also have their mobile app on your smartphone. The popular reservation service has seen great success thus far in 2010, confirmed by their recently quarterly earnings announcement.

In a post by Erick Schonfeld of TechCruch, he reports “OpenTable is installed in 14,128 restaurants and seated 15.6 million diners last quarter, up 27 percent and 52 percent, respectively.” Not only is OpenTable becoming the go-to source for reservations, but users are also raising their level of engagement with the site.

Schonfeld wrote, “Those diners have now written more than 7 million restaurant reviews. As a point of comparison, Yelp has a total of 12 million reviews across all local businesses, and CEO Jeremy Stoppleman considers the those reviews to be Yelp’s single most important competitive advantage.”

Digest that for a second. Yelp, which reviews all types of businesses, not just restaurants, has 12 million reviews, and OpenTable, which exclusively provides restaurant information has 7 million?

OpenTable clearly understands the value of creating a site users want to spend time on, not just log in and log out. By allowing customers to write reviews of their dining experiences the site becomes about something more than just reserving your table.

Additionally, OpenTable is hopping on the “group buying” bandwagon and offering a new weekly special they are calling “Spotlight.” This will operate the same way Groupon, LivingSocial and BuyWithMe do, and offer specials like “$25 dollars for $50 dollars worth of food at Grill 23.”

As RaceTalk commented in a post last week, the group buying concept entices customers to try places they normally wouldn’t because they are being offered a discounted price (recession, anyone?). Additionally, the sites incorporate social media channels allowing users to post their purchase on Facebook, Twitter and more. Some sites also offer referral bonuses to customers who bring in new users.

Should OpenTable decide to incorporate social media sharing on their site and explore referral bonuses, the company’s growth potential is exponential. OpenTable is paying attention to emerging trends and adapting quickly.

Social Media Michelin awards OpenTable three stars!

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