As a recent convert to iPhone, I’ve been on a bit of a trial-and-error binge at The App Store, downloading many apps to find ones I like. One of the apps I did find useful is OpenTable, a web-based restaurant reservation system. I’ve found myself using it more and more lately, and uncharacteristically, I didn’t give it a second thought.
Until last week. When I came across an incredibly open, thoughtful essay by Chris Cosentino, executive chef at Incanto in the Bay area (what did we do before Twitter?). Chris explains in great detail, and exquisite prose, why Incanto has opted out of the OpenTable monopoly on online reservations, and why he thinks OpenTable may be damaging to restaurants. If you make reservations through OpenTable, please read the essay.
Immediately after reading the article, I deleted my OpenTable app. Then I decided that wasn’t quite right, it was an over-reaction. I decided I will use OpenTable in the way they pitch themselves to restaurateurs – as a way of finding new (to me) restaurants, and making a first reservation. An “incremental” reservation. Any future reservations at restaurants I know will be made by phone. This way, everyone gets what they bargained for.
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