If you make an online reservation at a restaurant these days, chances are you’re using OpenTable.com Inc. The company—with 13,000 participating restaurants—is the market leader by a wide margin.
On Thursday, Urbanspoon, a well-funded competitor, is expected to unveil plans to launch a computerized restaurant reservation tool—one that will compete directly with OpenTable Inc. At the same time, a small start-up, Reservation Genie, is attempting to take a bite of the business in the Southwest.
Urbanspoon, a website that offers dining features including restaurant reviews and receives 7 million unique visitors each month, plans to launch its system, Rezbook, nationwide in early June, says co-founder Ethan Lowry. RezBook is currently being tested by five restaurants in Seattle. Urbanspoon is owned by IAC, a New York-based company that owns high-profile websites includingCitysearch, which lists nearly a million restaurants nationwide.
“A year from now, we should be in multiple major metro areas around the country,” Mr. Lowry says.
The competition comes at a time when OpenTable, like many ubiquitous, much-loved services, is feeling some backlash.