OpenTable launches mobile payments, as had been predicted by Let’s Talk Payments

In the last 3 months, we have published our viewpoint on technology players in the QSR and full service restaurants space. Our hypothesis was that the technology players like OpenTable will grow from just one bucket of restaurant consumer process/steps to adopting multiple steps. LTP had predicted that 2014 will see players like OpenTable coming up with this kind of integrated services for providing a holistic consumer experience in QSR (quick service restaurants) and full service restaurants. Look at the exhibit below.

OpenTable has actually launched a mobile payment platform in Washington D.C., USA. OpenTable is a leading restaurant search and table booking company in the US. OpenTable provides a restaurant management system for restaurateurs called the Electronic Reservation Book (ERB). Earlier this year, it had piloted its payment app in San Francisco which integrated table booking and bill payment through a mobile app.

The new reservation system communicates with the QSR’s point-of-service system. The restaurant’s servers can also be alerted regarding the status of payment. OpenTable currently charges 75 cents for each transaction.

OpenTable was founded in July 1998 and is based in San Francisco, USA. The company had received a total funding of $48 Mn through investors Draper Richards, Venture Frogs, Benchmark, Impact Venture Partners, American Express, Zagat, Comdisco Ventures, Integral Capital Partners, Upstart Capital and France Telecom.

Back in 2005, with growing popularity of internet, QSR review websites like OpenTable emerged in this period. These review websites evolved as a single greatest source for restaurant discovery and selection. OpenTable was among the few to initiate reservation services through internet. It went for digitization of Menu quite early on. Payments were enabled by desktop based POS with credit card acceptance in most of the partnered QSRs.

OpenTable had great ambitions in the QSR and full-service restaurant space. There is no reason why they would not want to provide the discovery, reservation, ordering, payments and loyalty under their one single umbrella. OpenTable made a series of acquisitions in past years to integrate the entire consumer experience steps on a single platform. In February 2014, OpenTable announced that it had acquired Ness – makers of the personalized restaurant recommendations app Ness. The deal was valued at $17.3 Million according to the company. OpenTable has made total acquisitions worth $108 Mn since 2009. The company acquired – Quickcue in 2013 for $11.5 Mn, JustChalo in 2013 for 11Mn, Foodspotting in 2013 for $10Mn, Treatful in 2010, Toptable for a whopping $55 Mn in 2010 and GuestBridge for $3 Mn in 2009.

OpenTable bought Ness Technology, Foodspotting and Guestbridge to strengthen its QSR search and recommendation service. OpenTable acquired Quickcue to strengthen its reservation feature by adding the waitlist functionality. On the other hand, OpenTable also acquired Justchalo to develop the payment functionality on its mobile app. OpenTable strengthened its payment loyalty program by acquiring Treat technology (Gift card app).

With 30,000 QSRs and full-service restaurants on-board they would be looking at a bigger value added with the integration of mobile payments. With five restaurants in tow for now just for mobile payments, OpenTable has quite a roadmap towards revolutionizing how a customer would be paying at restaurants in the near future.