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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Strong

Restaurant Reservations in the Time of COVID

I’ve previously reported on how restaurant tech is pivoting to support social distancing and our new normal, helping to control crowds waiting for take-out and increase social distancing in grocery stores; leading reservations systems Open Table and Resy are already allowing guests to reserve take out meals and in some cases, slots for grocery shopping. Both platforms have just announced new tools to help with re-opening.

Open Table is offering a reservation management tool for drinking establishments like bars and wineries. The new tool, out this week, means you can reserve a spot at your favorite watering hole or winery. You will also be able to join a virtual waitlist and receive phone alerts when their reservation is ready. At participating wineries, OpenTable offers the option to prepay for tastings for a contactless payment experience.

“Bars and wineries must operate differently as they reopen. OpenTable is here to help with software to accept reservations, manage capacity, attract guests, and maximize revenues,” said Andrea Johnston, COO of OpenTable in a press release. “People can visit their favorite places to socialize without waiting in lines or worrying about crowds.”

OpenTable will also extend its Open Door program pricing, announced last month, which includes waived fees and discounted pricing, to bars and wineries.

Resy is also rolling out several additional new tools this month aimed at supporting the industry in re-opening. Mobile Waitlist, which launched this week, is designed to mitigate host stand contact and bar area crowding. Occupancy Monitor, which will follow, addresses capacity regulations, and Resy At Home is a new-and-improved version of Resy's meal ordering and contactless pickup platform. These new tools, combined with Resy's existing functionalities (flexible floorplans, pre-payment options) show how technology will be playing even more of a role in our dining future.

Resy isn't charging restaurants any fees to use any of its tech through the end of the year. Plus, Resy is not taking any commission on takeout orders placed through the Resy At Home platform, or charging a fee to the diner (aside from standard credit card processing fees).

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