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Which Online Reservation System Should Your Restaurant Use?

We compare OpenTable, Resy, Tock and Yelp

a group of people performing on a counter

There are so many options when it comes to choosing an online reservation system for your restaurant that it can start to feel a little overwhelming. That’s why we decided to compare and contrast a few of the major players, to help you make the most informed decision possible.

It’s important to note that not one of these is necessarily better than the other—it comes down to what’s best for your individual business, and whichever one you end up using, BentoBox will seamlessly integrate it with your website. So go ahead, take a look closer look at OpenTable, Reserve, Yelp Reservations and Resy and decide which one is right for you.

OpenTable

opentable.com a screenshot of a computer

Pros:

- Major marketing engine with 19 million diners per month, significantly more than other platforms. Users are incentivized to go to OpenTable.com to search for a reservation.

- Helps fill empty tables and generate steady business flow by recommending open tables to customers on the app.

- Option for their simple-to-use Electronic Reservation Book, which handles reservation management, table management, guest recognition, and email marketing.

- Dining points system to incentivize guests.

Cons:

- The dining points system builds loyalty for the OpenTable app rather than for your restaurant.

- Because the platform is so well-established and heavily used, approaches systemic changes with more caution and less speed than smaller, more nimble programs, such as an outdated Electronic Reservation Book screen.

- Offer the ability to sell gift cards, but links away from your website and comes with service fees. (An alternative is to sell gift cards straight from your website).

- More than 37,000 restaurants on the app, meaning there's lots of competition.

- Expensive and complex cost structure that includes cover fees, even for returning guests.

Costs:

OpenTable has a one-time fee of $1295 and a $199 monthly fee, with an optional fee of $99/month to be featured in the OpenTable Dining Guide. For online reservations, there isn’t a monthly subscription fee. Instead, OpenTable charges a pay-per-performance fee of $1.00 per cover booked on OpenTable.com or $0.25 per cover booked via the restaurant’s website.

Note: We’ve seen a lot of restaurants integrate OpenTable incorrectly on their website, costing them $1 per cover, which adds up to a huge loss of revenue. But we make sure to integrate OpenTable correctly, so that you only get charged $0.25 per cover when guests reserve through your website. Not sure if yours is integrated correctly? Feel free to ask us.

Best for:

Reservation driven restaurants. If the bulk of your traffic is from walk-ins, to-go, or delivery, then OpenTable makes less sense.

Pros:

- Ticketing and reservations on one platform.

- Restaurants can mix and match their inventory in different ways to allocate tables by seating zone or prominence.  

- Two-way texting for reservations and waitlist.

- Managers can track small-but-important events like wine ordering and table greetings.

Cons:

- Curates the restaurants it chooses to display, so users don’t see everything at the same time. Your restaurant might not get featured even if you’re using their software.

- Not a strong marketing tool for restaurants since there are less users on the app compared to OpenTable.

- The app is only in major cities.

Cost:

Monthly flat fee ranges from $89 - $899 depending on plan.

How it’s different:

They're thinking past the host stand by making communication effortless, streamlining customer service and enabling restaurants to share receipt data with other businesses to track trends.

Pros:

- Ordinary reservations, alongside reservations for special experiences, (chef's counter, tasting menu, etc), and events (wine dinners, NYE, Valentine's Day) side-by-side on one platform.

- Pre and post-visit questionnaires: Get to know your guest before and after their visit to gather private, actionable feedback and to build comprehensive profiles about them.

- Customizable two-way text messaging.

- Google, Facebook, and Instagram integration.

- Automatic waitlist fills tables if there's a last-minute cancellation.

Cons:

- Fewer users than OpenTable.

- Primarily used for expensive fine-dining restaurants.

- Restaurants will need to clearly state their no-show policies when taking deposits or prepaid reservations. 

- With big names included on its platform, it might seem less approachable to smaller restaurants.

Cost:

- Monthly flat fee ranges from $199 - $699 depending on the plan. No setup fee, no cover fees, no texting fees and multiple device access at no extra charge.

How it’s different:

Tock started with a forward-thinking reservation model: having restaurants take deposits upon booking. This was particularly geared toward fine dining or those with tasting menus, chef’s dinners, etc., which created the lowest no-show rate in the reservation industry — an impressive .08%. They’ve now expanded beyond that model to include reservations of all kinds. With a presence in 100+ cities and 23 countries, Tock is used by some of the biggest names in the business.

Yelp Reservations

yelpreservations.com a screenshot of a cell phone

Pros:

- Over 95 million people look at Yelp every month, or 37% of the digital population, helping drive additional attention to your restaurant beyond your website.

- Guests can receive a text message when a reservation opens up and can book the table on the spot.

- Automatic waitlist that fills tables if there's a last-minute cancellation.

- You don't need to take reservations—Yelp can be used just for table and waitlist management.

- Simple payment plan with no hidden fees.

Cons

- Lacks restaurant discovery—users can’t browse through a list of Yelp Reservations restaurants that have available tables.

- When you integrate it onto your website, it’s heavily Yelp branded. Users can upload their own (low-resolution) photos, which might not accurately reflect your brand.

- Yelp reviews are right next to the reservations, and you cannot alter or change reviews. Your restaurant's rating is also extremely visible, right above where users make the reservation. So if there are negative comments or low ratings, diners might be less inclined to book.

Cost:

Flat rate of $248 per month. No setup fee, no cover fees, no texting fees, and multiple device access at no extra charge.

Best For:

Restaurants with strong Yelp reviews and those who don’t want to pay more than a fixed amount each month.


Full disclosure: A Resy co-founder is an investor in BentoBox.

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