I use OpenTable every week even though I hate a service. The app is buggy, the website is impossible to navigate, and merchants complain about them all the time.
But I have no choice. OpenTable is pretty much the only place I can go to make restaurant reservations online. They have a monopoly. Unfortunately that means they haven’t done anything to improve the product in a while. I see a lot of opportunity. Here’s a quick list of what I would build:
- Let me confirm reservations within Opentable. Send me a push notification or an email. I hate getting phone calls.
- The restaurant’s reservation terminal should show photos of people who have reservations that are coming up. That way the host can greet me by name. This sounds small but it’s a great feeling when it happens.
- When I go to a restaurant I visit a lot, make sure they know that I’m a regular. I would LOVE it if I went into Absinthe and even a new host would know, “he comes in every week”
- Use my history and ratings to give me recommendations. Maybe Opentable does this but I don’t see them. Restaurants could pay to be promoted as recommendations.
- Email me on Tuesdays when recommendations for when I should eat that weekend. Show me restaurants with availability and a one click link to book them.
- Exclude restaurants from search results. Never show them to me again.
- Sync with Foursquare. Check me in automatically. Use Foursquare data to recommend places to go.
- Sync with my calendar. Put reservations on my Google calendar for me. Let me invite other people as well and use it as an RSVP system. If I remove the event from my calendar, cancel the reservation.
- Send me an Uber at the right time before a restaurant reservation.
- When a cancellation occurs for a hard to get reservation, don’t put that reservation back in the pool. Instead, hold it for your top users. Send me a push notification when something good opens up so I can grab it.
What features do you want Opentable to add?
Update, ideas from you: