Restaurants can download the RezBook app when it hits the App Store in a few weeks. Then they manage their open tables with the iPad, allowing users to see what tables are free.
When a restaurant records open tables, it is pushed out to the Urbanspoon iPhone, iPad, and Android apps, as well as the website of the restaurant, CitySearch and other places on the web.
It costs a restaurant $99 a month to use the service, and it will pay Urbanspoon $1 for every customer that comes into the restaurant through Urbanspoon’s site or app, according to Urbanspoon founder Ethan Lowry.
This application/system is an attack on the industry leading, Open Table. When we spoke with Ethan, he called Open Table the “800 pound gorilla in this space.” He added, “There’s a fair amount of frustration with Open Table. Restaurants are hungry for an alternative. The industry is ripe for more options.”
Open Table will generate an estimated $90 million in revenue this year. If Urbanspoon can get a slice of that, it will have a good second stream of revenue on its hands. Right now, it’s an ad supported business.
As for consumers, the more restaurants that adopt the RezBook system, the more convenient using Urbanspoon becomes.
So far, Ethan says Urbanspoon has tested an iPhone version of the application with 100+ restaurants in Seattle and 40+ in Los Angeles. Urbanspoon will start a national push once the iPad app hits the App Store.
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