OpenTable hops on mobile food ordering wagon

By Mary Ellen Shoup contact

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: OpenTable
Photo: OpenTable

Related tags: opentable, food delivery

Online restaurant reservation company OpenTable is expanding into food delivery and pick-up services by partnering with Caviar, Grubhub, and Uber Eats.

At its launch, the delivery feature will be available for more than 8,000 restaurants in 90 metros areas in the US.

Through OpenTable, diners will be able to select from multiple delivery providers in case their dinner plans change and they're no longer able to make it into the restaurant. 

"Our goal is to make OpenTable the go-to app for all dining occasions. Adding delivery is an important next step,"​ said Joseph Essas, CTO, OpenTable.

Restaurant co-owner and founder of Farmers Restaurant Group, Dan Simons, explained that the new service available on OpenTable helps restaurants attract new customers and avoid reservation cancellations.

"Delivery through OpenTable gives us the flexibility to attract and serve diners, no matter where they are and how they want their meal,"​ Simons said. 

"Instead of canceling their reservation, diners can now enjoy the meal they had planned from home,"​ added Essas. 

"By partnering with OpenTable, we're also helping our restaurant partners reach more diners with delivery when a visit to the restaurant or a reservation isn't available,"​ said Goody Seif, senior director of business development at Grubhub. 

User Experience

When searching for a restaurant or visiting a restaurant profile page on OpenTable's iOS app, diners will see a "Get it delivered"​ button or carousel. Diners who choose delivery are then directed to the restaurant's preferred partner(s) to complete the transaction. For restaurants with multiple delivery partners, OpenTable shows each choice. Future features will include estimated delivery time and cost.

Coinciding with the launch of the delivery feature, OpenTable has also updated its app to provide more relevant, "data-backed" recommendations. 

Mobile food ordering market

A survey of 2,982 US consumers ages 18 and over by research intelligence firm Zion & Zion​ found that 41% of consumers have used restaurant delivery website or app at least once within the past 90 days. Of the respondents that said they have used a restaurant food declivity app or website, 48% did so 1-2 times, 24% ordered food 3-4 times, and 13% did so 5-6 times. 

Grubhub was the most frequently used service with 37.8% of respondents using the app or website followed by UberEATS (36%) and DoorDash (19.9%). 

Zion & Zion added that the younger a person is, the more likely they are to order restaurant delivery using a mobile app with 63% of users falling between the ages of 18 and 29. 

Despite the popularity of restaurant delivery apps, it's not always an easy sell for restaurants to begin using such services as they typically don't make as much money on the transaction, noted Zion & Zion.

"Restaurants are likely to lose business if they don’t align with one or more delivery services. At the same time, however, their profitability may either take a hit due to the high fees imposed by such services; or alternatively, the restaurant may have excess capacity that can be leveraged. One thing is certain. Many restaurants will be forced to reconsider their business models,"​ said Zion & Zion. 

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