How OpenTable is getting diners back to restaurants

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

By KELLY MCCARTHY, GMA

(NEW YORK) -- As restaurants continue to welcome back diners across the U.S. there is increased demand for data when it comes to choosing where to eat or drink.

To help, OpenTable launched Back to the Table, a new information hub with tools and insights that are designed for diners to easily navigate this new era of eating out.

"Dining is coming back, over 80% of restaurants on OpenTable in certain states all across the U.S., like Colorado, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Kansas and Utah, have reopened," OpenTable CEO Debby Soo said in a statement. "Local restrictions are changing quickly and we want to make sure diners are easily able to see what restaurants are open near them and help them choose a restaurant that meets their needs and comfort level."

The hub includes four key areas to explore data from participating restaurants supported by the digital dining and reservation platform.

A reopening heat map shows a state-by-state breakdown of the latest restaurant restrictions and reopening status.

The "Open Near Me" tool allows users to find geo-targeted data on local restaurants that are open for dine-in, takeout or delivery nearby.

"Popular Restaurant Picks" are curated based on diner feedback into top lists including the Top 25 Restaurants for Outdoor Dining, Top 25 Most Kid-Friendly, Top 25 Restaurants Offering Experiences and more.

"Rebound Stories from Restaurateurs," is a catalog of unique pandemic recovery stories on everything from firsthand accounts of weathering the trials and tribulations amid the pandemic, to reopenings, complete with behind-the-scenes content from crowd favorites nationwide.

This new hub comes at a crucial time, especially for small, independently owned restaurants that were hard-hit by nearly a year of government restrictions, closures and limited service options.

As more people across the country get vaccinated and operators prepare to serve diners in the warm months ahead, there is demand for limited, and in some cases, timed seatings

OpenTable has collected data since March 2020 for its state of the industry site to illustrate how COVID-19 has impacted restaurants around the globe.

The data most recently updated on March 11, 2021, reported that diners using its platform have already neared 2019 levels. Moreover, the data showed that 54% of Americans plan to dine out at least once a week or more in 2021.

The company also released a consumer hub for its restaurant partners with everything they need "to rebound and reconnect" with guests.

Resources include interactive guidance to help drive demand and fill seats, operate efficiently, maximize revenue, how to set and meet diner expectations and customer retention.

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