Internewscast
Image default
Business

Reopened, The Hospitality Industry Will Pivot To Technology, Says One Industry Service Provider

However slowly or spaced out between individual states, across the United States the bar may soon be open again. That is not only the promise of politicians, it is the message of OpenTable, (OT) provider of online restaurant reservations. 

Through the OT app or Website, diners have been able to search by restaurant or by their dining preferences, settle on place and time, provide their contact information and book a reservation, all for no fee to the consumer. OT charges restaurants a monthly subscription fee to its ‘cloud-based’ table management software, plus a small fee per head in the dining party. Its Website also hosts some ads. 

Andrea Johnston, OT’s chief operating officer, says, “On average 134 million diners are seated per month using our software and roughly 1.6 billion diners per year.” 

Alas, those figures are based on 2019. We all know the times have changed, and the pandemic has hit the hospitality industry forcefully.

Johnston says, “COVID-19 has presented unprecedented challenges to the restaurant industry, and will continue to as restaurants manage through capacity limits and newly required safety measures.”

She also said, OT has met the challenges with a few changes. The company, “…created a restaurant source center for restaurants to quickly adjust their books and notify diners; updated our platform to showcase delivery and takeout services with partners like Caviar and UberEats; Waived Gift Card Fees ; launched OT fpr Groceries to help restaurants pivoting to pop-up markets; added the ability for restaurants to add fundraising links on their OT profile; and launched our In It Together Webinar to bring together members of the industry to discuss how they are navigating the post COVID-19 world.”

In addition, OT launched a reopening resource center, and the company has waived subscription fees for 2020; it has also waived the per-head fee through September 2020, after which the fee will be leveled at 50% off until the end of the year. 

A few weeks ago, OT announced it was expanding its mission, adding bars and wine tasting rooms to its restaurant reservation technology.

Johnston says as venues re-open, “Bars and wineries must operate differently…we have launched OT for Bars/Wineries,” an expansion to allow users to book, “…a great spot to enjoy a drink…People can visit their favorite places to socialize without waiting in lines or worrying about crowds.”

Users can also prepay for wine tastings at bars or at winery tasting rooms, minimizing the need to pay at the door or at the tasting bar. 

Johnston said, “The restaurant, winery, bar, etc. can opt in to our ticketing experience which could be a prepaid wine tasting or a prix fixe option to get those fees directly and upfront. Not only can this reduce no shows, but it helps the winery better plan the flow of their tastings for the day, manage capacity and reduce crowds.”

As a plus, it is all done without cash changing hands.

Johnston believes that after the pandemic, “Establishments that have never had to take reservations will find themselves looking for ways to control guest flow and manage capacity limits. Tech will play a bigger and better role in hospitality, especially in restaurants. We were already seeing that shift happen but Covid-19 has definitely sped it up.”

She adds, “We may start to see less contact points like checking in without a host, no more physical menus, paying beforehand…”

She believes wineries, will welcome the OT option.

The immediate question for companies like OT that service the hospitality industry isn’t will the industry take advantage of technology; it’s a given that it must. The real issues appear to be: the time it will it take to rebuild what the virus has torn down, the number of restaurants and bars that may never re-open, and can winery tasting rooms make up the difference.

Source: Forbes Business

Related posts

Leave a Comment