Reservations War

Local upstart Eveve is taking a bite out of OpenTable’s hide – because it saves restaurants money.

We have grown accustomed to making reservations online, day or night, using OpenTable’s customizable Web interface to find restaurants at a certain time or in a certain neighborhood, on long or short notice.  Business travelers rely on OpenTable’s ratings and geographic groupings to make finding a meal easier on the road.

But that convenience comes at a cost to restaurants.  Mark Pastore, of San Francisco’s lauded Incanto restaurant, publicly accused OpenTable of a fee structure that sucked most of the profitability out of small restaurants.  He called on the marketplace to create competition that would alter OpenTable’s defacto monopoly.  (OpenTable has always had competitors, but restaurateurs say few have been able to offer a product that duplicates OpenTable’s suite of restaurant operations and marketing software.)

Into that breach last year stepped Eveve, a Scotland-based software company that selected the Twin Cities to be its first U.S. market.  It entered with a splash, pulling eight of OpenTable’s top 10 Twin Cities restaurants (in booking volume), the five largest representing 20,000 diners a month, says Tim Ryan, Eveve director and president of U.S. operations.

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