Any chowhounders find Opentable.com useful. What are your thoughts on this. I used it two nights ago in Las Vegas, when I called a restaurant for reservations I wanted to go to,and they wouldn't take my reservation. So, I went there and saw where I could get a reservation at the time I wanted that evening, worked great and really simple to do. I think we got better service that way too.
Lots of people have posted questions about opentable.com and my response has always been the same: it's a terrific tool and I've never seen a drawback. So much easier to go online and find all the places that have tables when you want to dine, rather than to try to decide on a restaurant, then get on the phone and call, and be placed on hold - if you even get through - just to find out there's no availability, then have to choose someplace else and go through the drill again.
Others have wondered whether making their reservations through opentable.com has a negative impact on service at the restaurant. I've never experienced any difference in attitude from hosts or servers.
One other nice thing is that you get 100 points each time you reserve through the service and, eventually, can cash in your points for a savings certificate that can be used at any restaurant that's included in opentable.com. It takes a while to accumulate enough to get yourself a $25 certificate, but what the heck.
I must confess I did beta tesing for them in their early days but have been a member every since. I hardly ever make a reservaton any other way. As was pointed out, a simply great tool, no drawbacks at all. Have done birthday and anniversary dinners using them and used the "speical instruction" area and it's never failed either.
I've used opentable several times over the past year, and its mostly worked out just fine; with the exception of the special instructions. When I requested a certain type of seating arrangement, for instance patio dining, or window seat, or by the band, etc... usually I get my party there a few minutes before my reserved time slot and I'm told "if you want to be seated now, you can have this table here, but if you want your window seat it will be another 30 minutes".
On one occasion when this occurred, I told them we will take a walk and wait for the window (this was by the water). Upon our return at the 30 minute mark, they began to lead us to the table only to find it still unbussed. So we were led back to the lobby, and it was another 20 minute wait... almost an hour after our reserved time slot.
I love using Opentable. I usually go there first to try and make a reservation and only call the restaurant if they don't have a desirable time slot online. I've heard that some restaurants only open a certain number of tables or time slots for Opentable, so they might have an opening that the site doesn't show.
I don't know if it affects service, but I've never felt it made a negative impact because I made a reservation through Opentable. I like how easy it is to change reservation times or party sizes, too.
It's very nice to be able to look at reservations for other cities when we're traveling.
I've been using Open Table pretty regularly since late summer. I just wish more Sacramento restaurants were listed.
Thanks for opening this thread, potbelliedkiln. I'd never heard of opentable, but I just checked it out and signed up. There aren't that many Toronto restaurants on it yet, but I'm sure it will come in handy in the future.