OpenTable Waives Fees, Releases Updates to Weather Pandemic

The restaurant reservation platform will waive fees for the rest of year and introduce new features.

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Need to Know:

  • The reservation software is introducing a substantial drop in subscription fees to support restaurants struggling with financial loss due to pandemic closures.
  • OpenTable will now also highlight delivery and takeout options in partnership with platforms such as UberEats and Caviar
  • The platform’s COO has urged industry leaders to follow OpenTable’s footsteps in easing financial burdens on restaurants.

Analysis:

Online restaurant reservation management platform OpenTable has introduced two new initiatives aimed at helping restaurants reopen, as restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic are gradually lifted.

The first initiative, an enhanced restaurant management platform, includes the ability to highlight takeout and delivery options with partners such as Caviar and UberEats, as contact-free and physical distancing-compliant hospitality solutions will continue to be prioritized within the industry.

The enhanced management platform will also make it easy for restaurants to adjust their floor plans, offer grocery pickup, and waive gift card fees.

“We’re keen to do our part to bring back the restaurants we love,” Andrea Johnston, COO of OpenTable, wrote in a blog post on the platform’s website announcing the changes.

The second initiative announced by OpenTable is called Open Door, which includes the waiving of all subscription fees until the end of 2020, and the elimination of cover fees until September 30, 2020. Open Door will also include three subscription tiers—Basic, Core, and Pro—when fees resume.

In the blog post announcing the new initiatives, Johnson also encouraged “everyone across the industry to ease financial terms where possible, including landlords, taxing authorities, and point-of-sale vendors.”

Silicon Valley has been stepping up to support the hospitality industry throughout the COVID-19 pandemic: in late April, Google launched new features aimed at helping restaurants affected by the lockdown, including communication tools to enable more seamless outreach from restaurants to consumers.

The foodservice and hospitality industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic: restaurants and bars accounted for roughly 60% of all jobs lost in the US due to coronavirus in the month of March. The American restaurant industry is currently anticipating a loss of more than $200-billion due to closures and disruptions as a result of pandemic-born lockdowns.

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