HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


Does OpenTable Close Doors?

Do you get the sense that when you make a reservation on opentable you are placed at the worst possible table in the restaurant? Do you think restaurants favor diners with more opentable points? or those who just call and reserve with a human?

I feel this has happened to me several times...has anyone else had a similar experience?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I have used OpenTable many, many, many times over a long period of time. I have never sensed that it has affected my reservation or my seating in any way.

    1. interesting...Ive never had that problem....Maybe request a certain seat when you are making them online? I use my open table for corporate reservations and then i reap the 100 gift certificate benefits...at least once every few months. I dont know why they would give crappy seats to someone with opentable points...doesnt seem to make sense to me.

      1. I'm so happy someone posted this - I have indeed had this experience each time I've used OpenTable (though I've only used it 3 or 4 times). Do you guys think it depends on the number of OpenTable points the diner has?i.e., if I don't have many, is the restaurant more likely to give me a worse seat, thinking that I am an infrequent diner and thus not a steady source of revenues?

        1. I don't think it's a point issue because once you redeem your points, your points accrued becomes zero. But I wonder if VIP status has a bearing on favoritism. Gutsofsteel and Smokeandapancake, do you guys have Open Table VIP status? I do, and I haven't experienced bad seating. But I've heard enough about this topic to wonder if there is some merit to the complaints.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Miss Needle

            I am a VIP, yes...I really dont think i ever expericed horrible seating though...Interesting.

            1. re: smokeandapancake

              I am VIP as well and have never sat at a bad table. The restaurants treat you well with VIP status because we are the people who go out and the people they want to see back at their restaurants. But think about it. You are using a service for free where you eat at great restaurants and are given money back for it. It is a great deal and does the table really matter if the food is good?

            2. re: Miss Needle

              I also wonder if VIP status makes a difference. For instance, last year I had 11 reservations and just missed VIP status. I eat out a lot more than that, but use opentable a fraction of the time. (Perhaps this could be more relevant than the points level for the issue noted above.).

              1. re: morgan10

                I have VIP status and have been placed at both good and bad tables. I don't think there is a correlation between VIP status and seating -- at least from my experiences.

            3. this has been discussed a million times.
              If a restaurant uses open table for reservations they use it for ALL of their reservations, whether made over the web, by phone with the restaurant, or in person.

              open table is a full reservation system, not just a website.

              so - no. i don't think so.

              1 Reply
              1. re: thew

                Any thoughts on the VIP/non-VIP question?

              2. I wanted to add that while I don't know if VIP status gave me better tables, I do know that it gave me a few extras when I booked a table at a restaurant in Florida. I got a complimentary glass of champagne (veuve cliquot) and complimentary bottled water even though I asked for tap. I saw VIP printed on our check. Have never been in that town before and don't know any of the owners. So I'm assuming it came from my opentable VIP.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Miss Needle

                  I'm a VIP on Opentable too, but I thought it was just a function of how many pts you had? I do wonder if restaurants can see what other restaurants you've been to, etc. THAT could have some bearing on treatment.

                  1. re: janethepain

                    I think you need to make AND KEEP 12 reservations in one calendar year in order to have VIP status. I've heard that restaurants from the same group (eg. like BR Guest restaurants. the Daniel Boulud restaurants) can see the other places you've been to that are within that group. Apparently they also have to power to read comments if placed by somebody from a restaurant of that group. But I don't think a restaurant like Daniel would be able to tell that I've been to Artisanal last week, but Daniel would be able to tell that I went to DB Bistro a few months ago.

                    1. re: Miss Needle

                      I imagine the restaurant groups shares the software/reservation system among the restaurants as a bloc, and therefore the info on it is shared, whether you use the OT site to make reservations at their restaurants or do them all by phone.

                2. I have used Open Table over 100 times in the last 3 years. I am not a VIP. I have never felt any lower level of service than when booking over the phone. In fact you can send a message to the "host" and when I have mentioned anniversary dinner or birhtday they always have done something special.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: princeofpork

                    According to their website, VIP only requires 12 completed reservations per year. 100+ over 3 years would more than do it.

                    "Registered users of OpenTable become VIPs once they have honored 12 or more OpenTable reservations within one calendar year. VIP status is granted automatically. Restaurants know you are an OpenTable VIP because your reservation is flagged with a special note."

                    1. re: morgan10

                      The problem I had was getting a res for 6:45. The only options were 6:30 or 7. So I made the res for 7 online and then called them to change it to 6:45. They said it was a glitch they are about to fix.

                  2. I started using Opentable when I came back home after living in Germany. This was about 2 1/2 years ago. Before that I'd never heard of Opentable and had always made reservations over the phone. The very first time I used it was for a reservation at the Willard Room in Wash DC, for my mother and I. So I had 0 OT points at that point. When we showed up the maitre d' looked at the schedule and said they had reserved "the best table in the house for us". He didn't say why, and I didn't ask. And we were seated at a wonderful table surrounded by windows (to be honest though- I don't think I've ever, before or since, noted if my table was good or bad). So in my case- no I've never been seated at a bad table using OT, and have been seated at a good table (it also happened one other time that the hostess exclaimed I was getting the "good" table, but it didn't seem either bad or good, just a table, but it did impress my in-laws that she said it!), and it didn't seem to be due to VIP status as I didn't have it at that point.

                    1. as was noted before, this topic has been discussed more than once, and since it is a reservation system, the answer presumably is no. However, for OP's future reference: next time you try it, be very specific in the comments as to the type of table you like or don't (keep in mind that not everyone has the same idea as to what constitutes the best or worst table). Obviously, it helps if you've been to the restaurant and can specify the room or location you like best ("we'd appreciate the back room, please"; " we really enjoy the tables by the front window", or whatever) but even if you haven't been you can specify something like, "We'd really appreciate a quiet, well-spaced table", or "we'd love to sit at the bar if possible" or whatever you are interested in.

                      I've used OT for years, and the ability to specify the type of table I like is one of its primary advantages, IMO (along with the certificates of course). I do have VIP status now but it worked well even before I did; the restaurant almost always honors my request, and it has often been acknowledged when I am seated.