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Oct 30, 2007 08:24 PM

Question about

I was wondering if the available times on are the same as if you would call the restaurant on the phone. I am considering making a reservation but the time seems a little earlier than I wud really like. Do you think if I call the restaurant they would have more times available or the same as opentable? Also what is everyone's experience with making reservations on opentable-- are they usually fine?

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  1. I have had the experience of attempting to make a reservation on Opentable and not getting the time I preferred. I have then called the restaurant and was able to be accomodated. I have also had the reverse experience where the opentable times were better. I think it pays to try opentable and if the time you want is not available then call the restaurant and see what happens. You never know when they have a cancellation and I think some restaurants reserve some tables for call in reservations. That being said, I have always had a good experience with Opentable and prefer to make my reservations that way for the convenience.

    1 Reply
    1. From what I understand, restaurants using keep some tables open for customers who call the resto directly for reservations so if you don't find the time you want on definitely call the restaurant.

      2 Replies
      1. re: maplesugar

        One thing I found is that if you make reservations by clicking the opentable link from the restaurant's website, you get no points.

        1. re: Leonardo

          For what it's worth: That appears to be true, but the restaurant pays OpenTable less per diner for the reservation. I believe the fee is $1 per diner when one makes the reservation through OpenTable's website and $0.25 per diner when one starts at the restaurant's website.

      2. I used to hostess in a restaurant that used open table and basically, the reservations come in and get set up in the computer, but there is always a lot of movement with reservations, so often I don't feel that open table accurately reflects that. People cancel last minute and table size makes a big difference in terms of availability.

        I would always call to double check.

        1. I have also had a few experiences with my preferred dinner time not coming up on OT, but then a quick call to the restaurant resulted in a reservation for that time. I think everyone is correct that not every table is available through OT, so calling definitely wouldn't hurt. Otherwise I regularly use OT and I like that I get $$ back for making free reservations :o)

          7 Replies
          1. re: gyozagirl

            Had a similarly noted experience recently on a trip to San Francisco. The popular restaurant only books starting exactly 4 weeks ahead. I used Open Table immediately and found only a fairly early time was available. Actually, it worked out ok, but when we were there we asked about if later tables were available. We were told that we could have had a later table if we called directly. I also assume that if we had made the original reservation via Open Table, but then called to change it (pending availability) - that we would not have gotten the OT points. Anybody know?

            1. re: markabauman

              You are probably right. You can only keep the points by changing it online via OT. I could be wrong but that's my experience.
              From the resto's perspective, the point of OT is to save them the work of taking calls and what comes with that.

              1. re: markabauman

                I can vouch from experience if you make an opentable reservation, you can call and change the time 12 to 12:15, 6:00 to 8:00, whatever, you will still get your points. I am a legal assistant and also offered to make reservation for my boss all the time so I can get his points and often have to do this when 12:15 isn't an option because he loves that time.

                1. re: ktmoomau

                  As mentioned, changing your time does NOT affect your points. In fact, one of my "tricks" is to take whatever time OT shows as available, even if it isn't my preferred time. Calling to get a "prime time" not shown on OT is easier once you are already in the books. Not a guarantee, but restaurants seem to be more willing to change me from 6:00 to 7:00 if I am already in their book than they are to give 7:00 to a new caller. Have never had points denied. Even when I had to change a 6:00 to 7:00, then to 8:00, then to 9:00, and eventually showed up at 9:30 all because my plane was grounded on a runway. Kept calling to change and the restaurant was very understanding.

              2. re: gyozagirl

                you are absolutely correct that not every available seat is on opentable. many places would be sold out without any options for walk-ins, regulars, v.i.p.s or parties changing size. most places typically don't have prime time bookings available on opentable, for the reasons i stated above.

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  Probably depends on the city but I wouldn't say "most" places don't put prime tables on Open Table. I'm certain that they don't put all of their prime tables up there for just the reasons you mentioned, but I've done very well during prime time in New York, San Francisco and New Orleans.

                  1. re: ccbweb

                    sorry, i posted quickly. i meant "all". thanks for the catch.

              3. I echo everyone else--call the restaurant if you can't find the right time on OT. As to reservations on OT in general, I make the majority of my reservations through OT (maybe 40 a year?), and I've never had a reservation fall through. I like the security of the written confirmation because I have had confirmed over-the-phone reservations get "lost."

                6 Replies
                1. re: Lucia

                  Can someone please explain these points to me? It says I got 100 points for making my reservation but I don't know exactly what that means.

                  1. re: steakrules85

                    Divide by $100 and that's the amount in dollars you'll get in gift certificate $$ to any restaurant on Opentable. You can't redeem a gift certificate until you either get to 2500 ($25) or 5000 ($50) points.

                      1. re: Lucia

                        not true. i have had guests use $10 certificates.

                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                          Actually, what you're saying is not true. According to this link, you have to have a minimum of 2000 points ($20) to redeem a dining check. I was $5 off.


                          1. re: Lucia

                            Happy day, everyone is likely right. I believe the rules have changed over time. It used to be that one needed only 1000 points to get a $10 dining check.....they upped the minimum later on.