OpenTable and the Myth of ‘The Cloud’

In our most recent run in with one of OpenTable’s Restaurant Relations Associates ( let’s call them H.A ) - we saw that once again they were clouding problems and making simple solutions ‘less clear or transparent’ to the customer.

In their opening statement H.A boldly makes the following claim:

“Firstly, ResDiary is cloud based. This means that when your Internet connection is patchy, taking bookings over the phone will be a slow process which will be annoying for the customer. If your Internet drops entirely- YOU HAVE NO ACCESS TO YOUR DIARY!”

We were quite surprised by this and not just because of the gratuitous use of the caps lock key... Yes, ResDiary is cloud based. However, should your Internet connection fail temporarily, our iPad app works offline and will sync directly with your diary once you are back online. With our new team share facility, up to 8 users can access Resdiary concurrently via iPads - with no Internet access. You can also access your diary from any smartphone with our managers’ app.

It’s 2016 guys, we’re all always connected. Furthermore, ResDiary customers can enjoy multiple and concurrent access to ResDiary with unlimited users for their fixed monthly charge.

Support is on hand 365 days 9am-9pm with dedicated account managers.

H.A, we suggest you have a chat with Dave Arthurs, Open Table’s VP of Engineering and Restaurant Products, before you write off the cloud. He is the man behind OpenTable Guest Center - you know that next-generation product you guys launched in 2014 as a replacement for the original (dinosaur?) restaurant reservation product that OpenTable built. This Guest Center thingy is built entirely “IN THE CLOUD” and he might not like you running it down in your sales pitches (we put caps on so you get the message…)

Next storm cloud from H.A :

“ResDiary has no network. By that I mean that diners do not go to ResDiary’s website to choose a restaurant and to book a table. Thousands of diners trust and use OpenTable because it’s so quick and easy to book a restaurant that have availability for the time they want. If you leave for Resdiary

you will surely see very little or no bookings from their network.”

Wrong. By that we mean go check your facts and our stats. In March 2016 we reported 497k visits on ResDiary.com and 66k booked covers. This is a 171% year on year growth when compared with March 2015. Undeniable proof of a growing and active network of diners who are visiting our site and trusting the ResDiary brand. In addition ResDiary users will be able to find themselves the best tables at the best times as our restaurant customers always have their full inventory & availability open for booking.

Got any stats on on how many restaurants on OpenTable turn off their availability at peak times to avoid a hefty commission bill? Or how many bookings they lose by doing this….#Justsayin.

Which brings us to one of our very favourite topics, (although probably not one of yours, HA) pay per click commission. By which we mean charging restaurateurs up to £5 per cover for “bringing them diners.” Now, don’t get us wrong, we love bringing people to restaurants, it’s what we’re all about. However, it’s a bit unethical to charge them for their own customers booking in, don’t you think? Because that’s what’s happening when OpenTable applies PPC (pay per click) to a specific venue name.

Sorry to rain on your parade, but this isn’t ensuring a restaurant appears at the top of the list of “best restaurants in London” as it is packaged. This is part of the Google enrichment programme to make OpenTable’s site appear above those of the venue’s . Re-directing customers who are specifically Googling a restaurant name to a booking site that charges a hefty commission. We’ve heard of restaurant owner’s own families who have booked through OpenTable because of it. Imagine paying a third party £2 for your MUM to come to visit. (We usually pay her not to visit, she always moans about the cooking!)

We hope this blog means that you can see clearly now the the rain ( and clouds) are gone.

With ResDiary there are no obstacles in your way - like commission charges and PPC activity against your restaurant's website. We have a busy community of foodies and diners engaging with our brand in increasing numbers month on month and a host of features to ensure your operation is storm free. The only charge you will ever receive from ResDiary is our flat monthly fee - meaning you can have a piece of mind and a profitable, bright, sun shining day - with no dark OpenTable clouds on the horizon!

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