Weary of paying unnecessary “middleman” fees, top Houston restaurants take back their reservation system from OpenTable and switch to its leading North American competitor, Eveve.
Timothy Ryan, CEO of global online reservation leader Eveve, announced today that six of Houston’s top restaurants, including four of the top 10 independents (by online reservations) have switched booking system to Eveve. Those in the top 10 include Tony Mandola’s, Benjy’s (both Washington and Rice Village) and Peli Peli. “The state of Texas economic development slogan is ‘We’re Wide Open for Business’ and we’re delighted that so many of Houston’s most successful restaurants have made us feel at home in the largest city in the Lone Star state,” said Ryan.
“We are in the midst of another year of record growth in North America and are thrilled to celebrate this growth by announcing our arrival into America’s fifth largest market and one of its great restaurant cities,” said Ryan. “Each of these critically acclaimed restaurants did extensive research to identify a solution which will allow them to serve their customer’s reservation needs more effectively and affordably than ever and we are honored that they have selected EVEVE as their partner to accomplish this goal”, said Eveve’s Ryan.
“Our business has experienced explosive growth in 2013 we’ve now emerged as OpenTable’s leading North American challenger and we’re poised to continue this growth in Texas,” said Ryan. Eveve’s expansion into Texas comes on the heels of news in June that it became the majority supplier of online reservations in Minneapolis-St Paul, the first major metro where OpenTable lost its majority market position.
“Like Minnesota in 2011, Houston restaurateurs are faced with one expensive monopoly supplier,” said Ryan. “We are bringing much needed competition to the field, which is good news for prices, and for restaurateurs. We’ve captured more than 50% of the online reservations in Minneapolis/St. Paul and we see no reason why this can’t be done in Houston and throughout Texas as well.” Due to the size of these new restaurants, Eveve is now managing about 12,000 online diners per month in Houston, or just over 7% of the estimated 170,000 per month total for the Greater Metro Area. Ryan notes “So far, Houston has been even more receptive than Minneapolis. Our existing forward orders alone should take us close to 20,000 per month within a few weeks.”
Eveve’s system allows the restaurant to maintain control of its brand. “OpenTable’s marketing tactics have become particularly frustrating for its busier clients,” said Ryan. “These large restaurants have realized that restaurants which have been paying OpenTable the most are the very ones which need them the least. They have questioned why the fees they pay to OpenTable are being used to help build a network which promotes other restaurants to their loyal customers,” added Ryan. “Can you think of another business that rewards its customers for purchasing a competitor’s product?”
Peli Peli, Houston’s only South African restaurant, was the second most reviewed establishment on OpenTable in the Greater Metro Area, with a colossal 511 reviews (July 1st 2013). Co-owner Thomas Nguyen, explains “As a high volume, reservation driven restaurant, we needed a serious booking system to manage our tables. The problem was that with OpenTable we paid $1 per person when our diners booked through their network. As a monopoly, there was no alternative—we were very frustrated.” As a restaurant which can exceed 3,000 online diners per month, Peli Peli’s fees were eye watering.
Nguyen adds “A few of the other major restaurants in town had moved to Eveve already, and I was curious to have a look. The software was very competitive, and coupled with the substantial cost savings and the powerful marketing capabilities of Eveve, it was a no-brainer. It was easy to learn and I really believe our customers will feel it’s more user friendly”.
Might this be the beginning of an exodus in Houston’s restaurant marketplace? “The minute these leading restaurants switched, we were deluged with inquiries,” said Ryan. “Margins are shrinking; people have told us they’ve been looking for a solid alternative for a long time.”
Established in 2007, Eveve is a leading global supplier of live reservation systems and has relationships with approximately 1,000 restaurants worldwide. For more information, please visit www.eveve.com.