New Reservations App Comes to Town
In what seems to be the never ending quest to take a bite out of OpenTable (remember CityEats?), a new reservations app came to town today. Reserve rolled out in Philadelphia with more than 20 of city’s best restaurants onboard. Reserve is also in New York, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles. The service is free to restaurants and to users for the first six weeks. After that, Reserve will charge diners a $5 concierge fee per reservation. Reserve customers are also required to leave a review before they can reserve a second meal.
To restaurants this is an appealing proposition, instead of getting charged a fee for a reservation via OpenTable, the customer takes on that cost. And in a world where restaurants fret over anonymous reviews, Reserve reviews can only be left by a diner after a meal is eaten.
Another clear benefit to the app is the ability to easily split a bill among multiple diners and quickly get that bill and out the door. OpenTable has also began rolling out payment (and check splitting) in its app, but with no charge to the diner.
The Reserve app also doesn’t offer the instant gratification of OpenTable. A reservation request is made for one or more restaurants within a timeframe, and then the diner hears back about whether a table is available. The business model also shifts the cost of the reservation to the diner, and it isn’t clear if Reserve’s value add can make it worth skipping a restaurant’s website (or gasp, making a phone call) where there is no cost to the diner making that reservation.
But if you need another app on your phone, download Reserve today for iPhone or Android and try it out for free before October 16th.