How to develop an app like opentable?

Vlad Pshenychka
Vlad Pshenychka
7 min read

The food industry is a quickly growing field for app makers. Apps like Zagat and OpenTable are hugely popular among foodies and non-foodies alike. More so with restaurant owners because they immeasurably increase traffic and streamline efficiency

Mobile applications for reservation services are getting more and more popular these days. Let's find out how to create your very own one using the experience of the OpenTable app.


If you strive to fight against the best competitors or just plan to occupy your local restaurant reservation app niche, your application has to meet the modern mobile standards. Nowadays the consumers are demanding, they expect software to be fast, convenient and helpful at the same time. You need to discover how to satisfy these demands in your particular case, and we are here to help you.

Intuitive UI/UX

Before we go any further, it's essential to point out that all user-related design parts entirely depend on your target group. Different categories of consumers create different requirements for user interface and experience.

How to develop an app like opentable?

We believe that the most substantial factor is age. While gender, nationality, interests, marital status and other aspects are distributed evenly, there is quite a noticeable dominance of a certain age category in this type of applications. For instance, take a look at the OpenTable GB user distribution by the age group:

How to develop an app like opentable? - 1

It's pretty clear now that the majority of this app's consumers are aged between 25 and 44, but what are the designing principles you should stick to when developing a reservation service app for this target group?

The answer is balance. The balance between entertainment and functionality. These people are used to modern technologies, unlike seniors, but are primarily looking for value and not for fun, unlike the youth.

Responsive yet ergonomic solutions are the best for this audience. If you want to build a restaurant booking app like OpenTable, you have to make the reservation process as fast and convenient as possible. Therefore, here are the integral user interface elements for your search bar:

  • Fields for the reservation date and number of people. It's better to realize date input via calendar integration to avoid any misunderstandings due to different data formats;
  • Checkboxes for the type of restaurant, cuisine, table and for the range of prices;
  • Integrated map for convenient restaurant browsing.

Valuable and Accessible Information

The interface part is done, but what about the value that we were talking about? Since the users of OpenTable mobile app rely on the information it provides, your application's rating system is a tool for gaining trust. But how are you supposed to know all about the places? Well, it's actually the customers who will speak instead.

How to develop an app like opentable? - 2

Image source: eLearning Industry

When you enable honest reviews and feedback, you create a space for public opinion. No one can tell the actual restaurant quality better than the customers themselves. Integrate a rating system, whether you are using OpenTable API or creating it yourself. This way you will not only boost user confidence but also implement true restaurant estimation.

The other thing is customer support. It's essential to provide online support and outsource some mobile operators to serve the most critical regions for your business.

By the way, another thing that can upgrade the performance of your app like OpenTable is implementing cloud data storage. This technology accelerates server request and response processes and, consequently, improves the overall user experience.


The consumers are happy. Now, it is time to deliver favorable terms for restaurant owners to satisfy both sides of the deal. Don't forget that service suppliers also play an integral role in the reservation app ecosystem.

Table Booking Protection

Let us see an example of a typical situation: a customer reserves a table and never shows up at the restaurant. Place owner incurs losses, and he definitely knows who to blame.

The best practice is to store consumer credit card information. Don't get us wrong: the non-disclosure agreement still applies! We are talking about a security measure that keeps the user responsible for his actions in your app. This way no one will be able to trick the restaurateurs and get away with it.

How to develop an app like opentable? - 3

Image source: Credit Cards

A little harsh on consumers? Not at all. You build a reservation app for restaurants and expect sane and responsible people to use it. As modern mobile users, they understand the protection measures, which won't affect them in case they don?t commit rule offense.

Software for Restaurateurs and Monetization Aspects

You need to create an application like OpenTable for restaurants. It's a software for receiving reservation notifications and restaurateur account management. It?s up to you to decide whether you'll deliver this solution on your own terminals or make it work on other OSs. Just bear in mind that the approach affects the costs of such integration.

How Much Does OpenTable Cost for Restaurant Owners and How Can You Learn from It?

As this brand installs its own terminals, it charges a $199 subscription fee monthly for providing and updating their software and for touchscreen device use. It also takes up to $1 for a reservation depending on the method of booking.

And as you can see, it works just fine! Restaurants don't mind spending the money on getting additional visitors, because these services pay off fast. It brings us to the crucial point: there is no sense in scrimping on software for restaurateurs, because you can just charge them for its flawless performance!

Release an Internal Currency

The internal currency is a tremendous promotion opportunity for restaurant owners. You can reward customers with this currency for every application use or feedback. They can convert it into a discount or even a free meal. At the same time, restaurateurs can now buy your reward points and create special deals with bonuses on workdays, when they struggle to fill their place with people. Just think through the currency economy, and you'll get one more monetization option for your reservation application like OpenTable.


It seems that it?s all there is to know about developing a table booking app. However, here are some more points you should take into account:

  • Idea feasibility. Does your budget allow you to bring the idea to life? Depending on your case-specific requirements, it can take tens of thousands of dollars to build an app;
  • Business viability. Will your model be competitive in the market? Will you be the first or significantly better service provider in your scope? These aspects define your initial growth potential;
  • Restaurateurs? interest. If you plan on delivering the application for local places, make sure to check whether they need it or not. The lack of consumers doesn't affect some regions, so keep it in mind.


The mobile app industry is continually evolving. The only chance for your business to survive is to keep up with modern trends and always search for new growth opportunities. Don't copy-paste ideas, find your unique vision and strive to make the world a better place. This is a robust way to monetize your efforts in the current IT-driven era.

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