OpenTable’s Product and Engineering teams are constantly innovating on our flagship Guest Center product, looking for ways to streamline restaurant operations, optimize inventory, and get the right diners to restaurants when they need them. Today, we launched an update that will empower restaurant teams to make better business decisions across the board: the Guest Center iPhone app.
Our restaurant products have always excelled in service, serving the operational needs of hosts, servers, and managers. But what about owners and operators who seek daily insights about their businesses, no matter where they are? Talking to restaurants, we realized that not all of our customers are at the host stand, or even in the restaurant — many are on the go or in and out of meetings.
“There are so many people with a stake in the restaurant running smoothly, but we’ve under-served the key decision makers — we haven’t provided them with a dedicated product experience,” says Jon Morin, Guest Center Product Manager. “We wanted to extend that reach and put the product in the hands of owners and GMs.”
After offering a mobile web version of Guest Center, we listened to our restaurant customers’ feedback and analyzed their usage to learn more about their needs. We found that instead of seeing every reservation on their books, customers wanted quick, high-level insights they could react to. They wanted answers to different questions, such as, “How full am I?” Since the vast majority of customers were on iOS, we knew we could deliver a better experience through a native app.
The iPhone app extends the product experience beyond the host stand, providing owners and operators with a strategic platform that delivers insights and relevant content to help them run their businesses better.
That means all team members can prepare for service via the app before they come in the door. Owners and managers can use their iPhones to:
- See an overview of your shift, including total covers and peaks in service, along with critical notes
- Make notes on the go that are synched directly to the host stand iPad app, allowing two-way communication between staff members
- View your guest list and prepare for VIPs
With the iPhone app launch, we’re laying a foundation to deliver powerful business tools into the hands of owners and GMs. This platform gives us exciting new opportunities to help restaurants optimize their marketing and generate demand through promoted-inventor products like POP. Eventually, we’ll be able to make suggestions based on insights about your shifts to help you get more diners or reduce your turn times with the push of a button.
Down the road, having the iPhone app will allow us to send users push notifications when something important happens, like a large party booking. Owners will be able to add a reservation right from their phones when they get a last-minute call from a VIP. These are just a couple of the projects the team will be focusing on throughout the rest of 2016.
Ultimately, the iPhone app allows restaurants to look back and forward. We can look back at previous shifts to make sure settings are correct and accurate, and to ask, “What can we optimize?” We’ll look forward to understand upcoming shifts and prepare for services ahead. We want to give decision-makers compelling, actionable insights that allow them to make changes on the fly, providing better hospitality to guests and maximizing their revenue.