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In an open letter to its Chicago based users, OpenTable (America’s version of Dineplan, an online restaurant reservation system), apologised for a disgruntled employee’s behaviour, resulting in heavy financial losses for affected establishments on the list. The employee booked hundreds of tables at more than 40 restaurants over a 2 month period. Within 48 hours the employee was terminated.
When a table is booked with an online system, with no securities for the restaurant, walk-ins are turned away as the host waits a standard 15-30 minutes for the original booking.
In their official statement, OpenTable condemned the employee, ‘This behavio[u]r goes against everything we stand for. Our culture and values at OpenTable are founded on the principle of integrity, and that absolutely encompasses how we embrace competition in the marketplace. The only reason we exist is to help restaurants grow. When they succeed, we succeed. Taking any action that puts restaurants in harm is a direct attack on us as well.’
In South Africa and major metropolises globally, booking sites often struggle with no-shows when patrons don’t arrive for their meals. It’s a tricky system that now sometimes requires a hold on your credit card to ensure financial stability. While we all get a little nervous to have to add our card details to a booking, it might make us think twice before ditching a reservation.
Best practice for a cancellation is to call at least an hour ahead of time. If you forget, a call within 15 minutes of your reservation is still greatly appreciated!