The Tribune takes a look at the economics behind Open Table. But it's a curious piece— plus another related piece— that leaves as many questions as it answers. Here's part of its opening:
When you book a table through the Open Table website, the restaurant is charged $1 per seated guest — so if you show up as a foursome, that's $4 off the restaurant's bottom line... And if you call the restaurant and make the reservation human voice-to-human voice, that costs the restaurant nothing.
Nothing? Really? People answer restaurant phones for free? Sure, it's just one more part of the job for staff at some smaller places, but larger restaurants often have dedicated staff answering phones, or at least people for whom it's a major part of their duties, so it certainly costs something.