Monday, August 13, 2007

Blocking Hours on OpenTable

I like using It’s convenient, and (best of all) it allows users to earn dining certificates that make eating out more affordable. But I have a pet peeve. Why does allow some participating restaurants to withhold a large block of hours from online reservations?

For Washington D.C. users of OpenTable, one example of this practice is La Chaumiere, a French restaurant in Georgetown. For weeknight dinner reservations, La Chaumiere does not allow OpenTable users to book tables after 6:30 or before 9:00 p.m. That’s obnoxious. Not even Gerard’s Place (much better French cuisine, albeit at a higher price point) engages in this practice.

Although I like La Chaumiere, I refuse to book at ridiculous hours. (Hell, I rarely leave work before 6:30 p.m.) This annoys me so much that I’ve stopped going to the restaurant, period. If they want to disrespect their patrons, that’s fine — they can pay the price. I hope other OpenTable users vote with their feet and stop going to restaurants that behave like this.

Frankly, I don’t think OpenTable should let restaurants participate if they’re going to try (like La Chaumiere) to have it both ways.

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