Last Saturday night, my wife and I had the (increasingly rare) opportunity to go out for a nice dinner and we stayed fairly local choosing Frank's Waterside in North Bergen, NJ. Having made this and many other dinner reservations through OpenTable, I was surprised to get an email from them two days later entitled, "How was Frank's Waterside?". I'd never received a follow-up email like this and when I clicked on the link in the email I was taken to this "feedback form":
The stated purpose of the form is to "create Top 10 Lists for the OpenTable website and to provide feedback to restaurants." I find this to be a very interesting move on OpenTable's part and I have to wonder if they have grander ambitions than they let on. OpenTable is in an incredibly unique and desirable position when it comes to restaurant reviews: they actually know where and when you ate.
Currently OpenTable links out to its partner websites (e.g. Zagat, Citysearch, Time Out) for reviews for its restaurants. I could see OpenTable replacing these review links or giving priority to its own reviews once they have critical mass. It seems like they're in the early stages of this program - I only found one other blogger who mentioned getting a similar email and it was also in the last few weeks.
Update (4/14/08): This post is an edited version of the original published on April 4, 2008.