I like using OpenTable.com. 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 OpenTable.com 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.