OpenTable’s annual sales conference brings together our entire field team, from Tennessee to Tokyo, for a week devoted to sharing ideas, inspiration, and (of course) food. This year we invited a few local San Francisco restaurateurs to participate in a panel discussion about industry trends, business challenges, and how they aim to raise the bar for hospitality. See highlights in the video above!
A little advice can be the magic ingredient that helps your business, new or old, grow and succeed. Like the old proverb goes, advice after injury is like medicine after death. Don’t wait. Build your network of advisors now to help you avoid or get through your troubles tomorrow. For smaller restaurants that may not have the budget to hire full-time advisors, try to find resources that will allow for a more creative arrangement that could include discounts for referrals and advice-for-trade. Here are the top ten must have advisors every restaurateur should have in their inner circle.
As Part 4 of her How to Open a Restaurant series, hospitality consultant Alison Arth explains how to set your restaurant up for financial success, from building a budget to keeping your staff accountable.
Restaurants are commonly seen as risky business endeavors, and for good reason. In addition to being an intensely competitive and ever-changing industry, profit margins are lean, so every dollar makes a difference. Planning for financial success is often the most intimidating, time consuming, and least fun part of the pre-opening process, but it absolutely cannot be skipped. In this article, I’ll share some key tips for giving yourself and your new restaurant the best opportunity for long-term financial success.
New York City’s Marea is the perfect restaurant for a Valentine’s Day dinner: beautiful atmosphere, white tablecloths, elegant seafood, and a sophisticated clientele. It’s no surprise guests flock there for the special-occasion dinner.
Special occasions pave the way for special requests, and Managing Director Rocky Cirino has seen it all: balloons tied to chairs, over-the-top flower bouquets too big for the table, horse-drawn carriages holding up traffic out front, a foodie magician and, on one Valentine’s Day, an unannounced violinist. “We let the guy run around the room a little bit,” he remembers. “It was a little bit funny, and a little annoying.”
Since Rocky is all too aware of public opinion around the holiday, his staff does everything they can to make it a great one. “It is well understood from both sides that Valentine’s Day is, similar to New Year’s Eve, a gouging day,” he says. “Anything restaurants can do to lessen the perception for guests that they’re being gouged is important.”
Valentine’s Day is lucrative for restaurants, but you never want people to walk away feeling slighted or disappointed. Here are his five Dos and Don’ts that can make Valentine’s Day a win for restaurants and guests.
OpenTable reviews are treasure troves of feedback, both positive and negative. Reviewers often pour their feelings into thoughtful 2,000-word responses, covering every aspect of the dining experience — and as a result, they become an important source of insight for our guests and restaurants alike.
Our data science team digs even deeper. They “mine” reviews, singling out a single theme and looking for the words most often associated with each one. Then they create word clouds that show an at-a-glance view of what reviewers are saying overall, aggregating content from individual reviews to show how important each word is in relation to the topic at hand. (For more information on how these topics are learned from free text reviews, see this article on our tech blog.)
Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular dining days of the year and the subject of countless OpenTable reviews. Data Scientist Sudeep Das mined OpenTable reviews to find out what makes an experience worthy of a 1-star or 5-star ranking — read on, and learn how to delight diners this Valentine’s Day.