By Carlo Versano
Can Resy disrupt the disruptors?
The four-year-old restaurant-booking app recently acquired Reserve, a smaller competitor, as it seeks to take on OpenTable, the reigning king of online reservations that was bought by Booking Holdings ($BKNG).
With the acquistion, Resy co-founder and CEO Ben Leventhal told Cheddar the company will book 2 million covers a week at 4,000 restaurants in cities including New York, Washington, Boston and Chicago. That's still a fraction of the 50,000 worldwide restaurants that OpenTable services, or the roughly 1 million restaurants open in the U.S. And while this space is red-hot ー Resy's diner network grew 275 percent over the last 18 months ー it's peanuts in comparison to the old-fashioned way of doing it: two-thirds of restaurant reservations are still made over the phone.
"Over time we're going to see that number go down," said Leventhal, who predicts that the mobile experience for booking and confirming tables will continue to become so compelling that it will be hard to ignore.
Part of the value proposition for restaurants, in addition to reaching mobile-savvy younger diners who would scoff at the idea of having to call a loud restaurant to try and make a reservation ー are the "data signals" that a company like Resy can provide. Leventhal said the platform is experimenting with machine learning to learn the "heartbeat" of a restaurant to help it manage service, plan for no shows, and optimize back-of-the-house operations. "We need to help restaurants improve their business model," he said.
That was part of Reserve's attraction. Leventhal said Resy saw a great deal of promise in Reserve's restaurant-facing technology. "They've frankly done it a little bit smarter." With that tech now under Resy's umbrella ー terms of the deal were not disclosed ー Leventhal said the combined company will become a "one-stop shop for the country's best restaurants."
"Now we can set our sights on the real competition," he said.
For full interview click here.