Opentable Business Model | How Does Opentable Make Money?

OpenTable is an online restaurant-reservation platform that functions as a marketplace between restaurants and diners. This business model has proven to be successful, leading to the company’s acquisition by Booking Holdings in 2014 for $2.6 billion.

In order to understand why this model has been so profitable, it is important to analyze how OpenTable makes money. This article will explore the underlying revenue sources of OpenTable, focusing on its subscription fees, transaction fees, and advertising revenue streams.

Additionally, implications of the company’s innovative technology will also be discussed in relation to its profit strategy. By examining these different components of OpenTable’s monetization strategy, readers can gain a better understanding of how the digital reservation system generates income.

Overview Of The Opentable Business Model

OpenTable is an online restaurant reservation system that has revolutionized the industry. The platform, which was launched in 1998, provides customers with a convenient way to book tables at restaurants while also allowing restaurateurs to maximize their seating capacity and cut costs. OpenTable’s business model relies on its ability to effectively connect customers to restaurants through social media, customer feedback, and other services.

The company charges restaurants for the service of connecting them with potential patrons via its website or app. Customers may make reservations free of charge; however, certain restaurants offer incentives such as complimentary dishes or drinks for those who use OpenTable. Restaurants are charged based on either a subscription fee or per-reservation fee depending on their needs and preferences.

Additionally, some establishments pay extra for additional features such as marketing campaigns or access to data analytics tools provided by OpenTable. In addition to receiving revenue from the restaurant partners it serves, OpenTable also earns significant income from advertising placed on its site and mobile apps. Advertisers target users based on past search behavior and other factors that provide insights into user preferences.

This enables advertisers to more accurately target ads towards customers likely to be interested in their products or services. All these sources of income enable OpenTable to keep operating smoothly without compromising quality of service delivered both to diners and restaurateurs alike.

Subscription-Based Revenue

OpenTable, a leading online restaurant reservation platform, has adopted a subscription-based revenue model to monetize its services.

Far from being merely a technical solution for finding an available table at one’s preferred eatery, the company offers restaurants tools that facilitate customer engagement and enable them to increase their profits through optimized pricing strategies. Despite OpenTable’s success in this area, however, it is worth noting that there are other options on the market with similar features which customers may find more appealing.

In order to maximize its subscriber base, OpenTable provides various functions such as automated booking notifications and waitlist management that make it easier for visitors to book tables at popular restaurants. This helps restaurants improve their efficiency while boosting customer satisfaction levels.

Additionally, by offering analytics reports based on customer data collected over time, businesses can develop tailored pricing strategies and effectively manage demand during peak hours without sacrificing margins or alienating loyal patrons.

In essence, the company’s subscription-based business model serves two purposes: providing customers with a convenient service they could not obtain elsewhere and helping restaurants drive increased profit through enhanced operational capabilities enabled by sophisticated software solutions. Although OpenTable may face competition from other providers of digital dining services in the future, its current approach appears well suited to capitalize on existing opportunities in both consumer and corporate markets alike.

Transaction Fees

Opentable’s business model is based on a fee structure that allows the company to generate revenue. The fees are typically charged in two ways:

first, they charge restaurants a flat rate for using their services; second, they charge diners a service fee when they make reservations through the website or mobile app.

The flat rates vary depending on the features and services required by the restaurant. For example, if a restaurant wants advanced management tools such as analytics and data reporting capabilities, then it would pay more than one with basic reservation needs. Additionally, Opentable offers different pricing models which can be tailored to fit each individual restaurant’s needs. These include subscription-based plans as well as pay-as-you-go options.

In order to ensure its success, Opentable has implemented various strategies including specialized customer support teams and marketing initiatives aimed at increasing brand awareness among potential customers. Furthermore, the company regularly updates its technology platform in response to feedback from both restaurants and diners who use its services.

This helps them maintain their competitive edge within the industry while providing an optimal user experience for all parties involved.

Advertising Revenue

OpenTable makes money primarily through transaction fees and advertising revenue. Transaction fees are generated when diners make reservations at restaurants on the OpenTable platform. Restaurants pay a fee to use the service, which is typically around $1 per diner reservation booked. This fee varies depending on factors such as the size of the restaurant, its location and customer base.

Advertising revenue is another source of income for OpenTable. The company has developed marketing strategies that allow it to generate additional revenue from advertisers who wish to reach their customers through the platform. One way they do this is by offering sponsored listings in search results and providing ads in emails sent out to members or potential customers.

Additionally, OpenTable offers a revenue sharing program with partner websites, where third-party sites can display dining options from OpenTable’s database and receive a portion of any bookings made through them. The combination of these two sources of revenue allows OpenTable to continue running its business efficiently while expanding its services across multiple platforms and countries.

By capitalizing on digital marketing initiatives, leveraging technology solutions and utilizing strategic partnerships, the company remains well positioned for future growth opportunities.

Opentable Technology

OpenTable utilizes technology to great effect in order to make money. Offering a platform for both diners and restaurants alike, the company has become one of the most popular services of its kind due to a combination of excellent customer service, data analytics and accessibility.

At its core, OpenTable allows customers to search for available tables at their preferred restaurant using an easy-to-use website or app. Once they have found their desired table, they can book it quickly and securely via the platform with minimal hassle.

The company also offers other features such as online payments and reservations management tools which are incredibly useful for busy restaurateurs who may not have the time or resources to manage large amounts of bookings manually.

In addition to this foundation level service, OpenTable relies heavily on data analytics to gain insights into diner behaviour; allowing them to better understand hotel trends while also providing valuable marketing opportunities through targeted campaigns. This helps ensure that customers receive personalized experiences tailored specifically towards their preferences which increases satisfaction levels and encourages loyalty – resulting in more visits from returning patrons.

Impacts On Restaurant Profitability

OpenTable has become an integral part of the restaurant industry, revolutionizing how customers make reservations and providing restaurateurs with valuable insights into their customer base. With its sophisticated technology, OpenTable is also able to provide restaurants with more than just a reservation platform; it offers mobile ordering capabilities, loyalty programs, and other innovative features that can help increase profit margins:

  1. Mobile Ordering – Restaurants are now able to accept orders through their own branded app or website as well as through OpenTable’s network of partner apps. This allows them to take orders from both in-house diners as well as those who may be dining at home. Additionally, OpenTable’s mobile ordering system integrates seamlessly with existing POS systems so that restaurants can easily manage incoming orders without having to invest in new technology.

  2. Loyalty Programs– Through its integrated loyalty program feature, OpenTable enables restaurants to reward loyal customers by offering discounts on meals and drinks or even freebies for frequent visits. This not only encourages repeat business but provides an opportunity for businesses to build relationships with their customers and gain invaluable feedback about what works best for their establishment.

  3. Analytics– By tracking customer data such as timeframes when tables are most likely booked up, average wait times before seating guests, and popular menu items, OpenTable helps restaurateurs gain insight into their operations which they can use to improve service delivery and enhance the overall customer experience while boosting revenue streams over time.

The benefits provided by OpenTable extend beyond simply allowing restaurants to take reservations online—it gives them access to powerful tools that enable optimization of operational efficiency and profitability.

As such, many restaurants have chosen to adopt this revolutionary platform in order to further leverage the potential of digital transformation within the hospitality industry.

Benefits For Diners

Diners who book reservations through OpenTable benefit from the convenience of having an easy-to-use, trusted platform to make their dining arrangements. This is due in large part to the customer service and consumer experience that has been carefully crafted by OpenTable over its years of operation.

The user interface on the website and mobile app is intuitive, allowing users to quickly search for restaurants based upon date, time, location, or cuisine type without any prior knowledge of the system. Furthermore, customers can be confident that they are receiving accurate information about menu items since all menus listed on OpenTable are updated directly by restaurant owners themselves.

OpenTable also provides diners with additional benefits such as reward points programs which allow them to earn rewards redeemable at participating restaurants. These rewards come in many different forms including discounts on meals or free appetizers with purchase.

Additionally, diners have access to exclusive offers like early bird specials or happy hour deals when booking a reservation through OpenTable’s platform as opposed to calling the restaurant directly. Customers can even access real-time updates regarding availability for certain times so that they never miss out on their desired reservation slots again.

The integrated review feature further enhances diner experiences as it allows users to post reviews after completing their meal – something not available when making reservations offline. Reviews provide valuable insight into what other patrons thought of the quality of food, customer service and overall atmosphere; helping future guests make more informed decisions when deciding where to dine next time around.

Expansion Opportunities

  1. Franchising can be a great tool for businesses looking to expand their reach, as it allows them to open up multiple locations without the need for additional capital.

  2. Strategic partnerships can be beneficial for businesses seeking to expand their customer base, as the partner’s already established network can be leveraged to reach new customers.

  3. An online presence can be an effective way of expanding a business’s reach, as it allows them to target a global audience with minimal resources.

  4. Opentable has already implemented a successful franchising strategy, with a network of over 40,000 restaurants in the US and Canada.

  5. Opentable has also formed strategic partnerships with various companies, such as UberEats, to expand its reach even further.

  6. Lastly, Opentable has developed an effective online presence, with a website and mobile app that allow customers to easily book and manage their reservations.


Franchising is an effective and viable expansion opportunity for businesses. It enables companies to rapidly expand their presence in new markets by leveraging the brand recognition, operational expertise and capital of a franchisee.

Franchises offer a cost-effective way to penetrate new markets without bearing all the costs associated with starting up a business from scratch. Furthermore, franchisors are legally obligated to adhere to certain laws such as providing detailed disclosure documents regarding the terms of each franchise agreement which helps protect both parties involved in the transaction.

Franchisees must also factor in initial start-up costs including franchise fees, royalty payments, legal advice and marketing expenses. Additionally, they must comply with state and federal laws governing franchises before they can begin operations.

In conclusion, although there are several upfront costs that come along with franchising, it provides businesses with an accessible route into new markets and should be considered when looking at ways to grow or expand a business.

Strategic Partnerships

In addition to franchising, strategic partnerships can also be a valuable expansion opportunity.

Data sharing between companies can give both parties access to new markets they may not have been able to reach on their own.

Companies engaging in strategic partnerships often benefit from increased customer loyalty as customers will identify with the combined brand and its values.

Furthermore, marketing costs are shared by both partners which reduces overall expenses associated with expanding into new markets.

As such, strategic partnerships provide businesses with an effective way of reaching out to large numbers of potential customers while reducing start-up costs.

Online Presence

The proliferation of digital technology has made it easier than ever for businesses to reach out to customers. An effective online presence can be a key driver for business expansion and success.

To ensure maximum effectiveness, companies should consider investing in website design and online marketing campaigns that are tailored to their target audience. Utilizing the latest tools such as SEO optimization and social media campaigns allows businesses to promote their products or services more effectively while also increasing brand visibility among customers.

By having an optimized website with quality content, businesses can create a strong foundation on which they can build successful online strategies.

Competition In The Online Reservation Space

The online reservation space is highly competitive, with a range of players vying for the customer’s attention. Dining trends and industry shifts have had an impact on the competition in this sector.

OpenTable has managed to stay ahead of its competitors by leveraging data analytics and quickly responding to changing consumer preferences. It offers features such as personalized recommendations that are tailored to specific customer needs based on previous booking behavior. Additionally, OpenTable provides customers with easy access to book reservations through their app or website while also allowing restaurants to manage their own profiles and adjust service times accordingly.

These strategies have enabled OpenTable to remain at the forefront of the market despite rising competition from other providers such as Resy and Yelp Reservations. Its ability to adapt swiftly and offer services that meet current industry demands has enabled it to capture a large share of the online reservation market.

Opentable’s Future Outlook

The future outlook of OpenTable is uncertain, with a wide range of potential outcomes. As the restaurant industry continues to evolve in response to changing dining trends and consumer preferences, OpenTable must assess how these changes impact its core business model and marketing strategies.

From an operational perspective, three key considerations will shape OpenTable’s success:

  1. Identifying new revenue sources while maintaining current partnerships;

  2. Optimizing customer service and delivery models;

  3. Expanding into international markets or adjacent industries.

OpenTable has already taken steps to diversify its revenue streams by introducing various services such as reservations for entertainment venues, transportation companies, and other businesses outside the scope of traditional restaurants. The company has also implemented innovative customer service features such as mobile payments and streamlined booking processes tailored for specific demographic groups.

To further increase their market share, the company may need to look beyond its current offerings by expanding into overseas markets or developing solutions for related industries such as food delivery platforms. It remains unclear which path OpenTable will choose going forward; however, it is clear that staying ahead of rapidly shifting consumer tastes and behaviors poses significant challenges but could lead to substantial rewards if done successfully.


OpenTable has established itself as a leader in the online reservation space, and its success is largely due to their innovative business model.

By providing subscription-based revenue along with transaction fees and advertising opportunities, OpenTable has been able to skyrocket into profitability at an incredible rate.

With its cutting-edge technology, OpenTable continues to revolutionize the way customers book reservations online, offering unparalleled benefits for diners and huge expansion opportunities for businesses.

As competition increases in this sector, it remains clear that OpenTable will continue to be a major force shaping the future of the restaurant industry.

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