The OpenTable team spent the past few days in Chicago at the 2015 National Restaurant Association Show, the largest single gathering of restaurant and foodservice professionals. When we weren’t meeting restaurant owners face to face and serving local Bow Truss pour-over coffee at our booth, we were attending the many speeches and panels given by the industry’s top experts on subjects from technology and marketing to staffing, training, trends, and more. Here are some of the most fascinating takeaways to grow your restaurant business.
OpenTable is proud to be the sole Professional Development sponsor of the 5th annual Eat Retreat, an off-the-grid gathering of chefs, restaurateurs, butchers, artisanal producers, and artists. To celebrate the event, which takes place in southeastern Pennsylvania this week, we’re spotlighting attendees making their mark on the restaurant world.
Henry Prendergast is the co-owner of Analogue, a bar in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. Prior to that, he managed the Violet Hour, a James Beard Award-winning cocktail lounge. Here, we ask him all about his background, what he loves about the industry, and the top trends and challenges facing the industry today.
We at OpenTable are excited to announce a new partnership that’s bringing mobile payments to more restaurants and diners than ever before!
We’ve integrated our OpenTable Payments feature with NCR’s Aloha point-of-sale solution, so our payments product will soon be available to all NCR Aloha customers. It’s a win-win for both sides of the dining equation, as NCR Hospitality President Paul Langenbahn explains: “Consumers can take action and pay when they want instead of waiting, while restaurants can drive loyalty and engagement.”
We’ve been working with District restaurant in San Francisco since April to pilot the integration. Says co-owner Jon D’Angelica: “We’re always looking for ways to improve communication flow between our guests and their server, and we feel enabling them to pay on their smartphones will help do this and create a better customer experience at District.”
Tomer Molovinsky, our marketing lead for OpenTable Payments, went to District last night to try out the new payments integration (and enjoy a great meal, of course). Here’s a step-by-step look at what he experienced as a guest:
Every week we’re rounding up some of our favorite articles with trends and tidbits from the world of restaurants. Tell us: what made your reading list this week?
More Women in New York Are Shaking, Stirring and Pouring — The Wall Street Journal
Valuable Insights from Gordon Ramsay’s AMA — RMagazine
New York Senate Votes for Bill Allowing Dogs in Outdoor Dining Areas — The New York Times
Menu Moves: ‘Water Served Upon Request’ Rising in Popularity — Restaurant Hospitality
Tipping isn’t expected in the United Kingdom the way it is in the U.S., so British diners have a reputation for being tight-fisted when it comes to gratuity. OpenTable’s U.K. team did some digging to see what tipping is really like in the country, and just how generous different regions and cities are. We polled 2,000 diners throughout the U.K. and learned that 87% of Brits always leave a tip, contributing 9% of their bill on average (£4.18/$6.56). Our study also found that men are significantly less likely to tip than women: 17% of men never leave a tip, compared with 10% of women.
Looking more closely at different regions, we found that Londoners leave the most cash — their average tip is £5.68 ($8.92). The Scots are most likely to tip (91%), and Yorkshire is the region most likely to skip it, with only 20% stating they would leave a gratuity. In addition, more than half of Yorkshire diners (51%) admitted they had asked for the service charge to be removed from a bill — more than any other region in the U.K. One in eight of the guests polled have walked out of a restaurant quickly to avoid paying a tip.
Not surprisingly, service makes a big difference, too. Over 80% of Welsh diners claim their local restaurant staff are friendly, and 73% refuse to leave a tip when service doesn’t meet expectations. Of the various reasons that guests do not leave a gratuity, rudeness was #1, with slow service and forgetting orders also among the biggest disappointments.