OpenTable Wants to Help You Make Reservations at Olive Garden

May 17, 2017

Traditionally, popular chain restaurants like California Pizza Kitchen, Olive Garden, and The Cheesecake Factory didn't take reservations.

But restaurant booking giant OpenTable thinks it can change that. On Tuesday, it announced a partnership with software company QSR Automations that would let its predominantly chain restaurant clients accept reservations.

The deal lets OpenTable add more restaurants to its inventory and potentially grow its user base in the suburbs.

QSRAutomations' software is used by nearly 80% of the largest U.S. restaurant groups to manage seating and orders, and helps seat two million diners per day. Chili's, Red Robin, The Cheesecake Factory, Applebee's, and Olive Garden are among its clients.

Through the partnership, these restaurants can start to make reservations available through OpenTable's website and mobile apps. The benefit to the restaurants is the opportunity to attract more customers and fill any empty tables.

OpenTable, which was acquired in 2014 by travel booking juggernaut Priceline (“pcln”) for $2.6 billion, books more than 22 million diners monthly. However, many of participating restaurants—it has 42,000 in its database—are fine dining establishments or local restaurants, not chains.

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Christa Quarles, OpenTable's CEO, told Fortune that the QSR Automations partnership will help it break into casual dining, which accounts for a huge chunk of the restaurant industry. She added that many customers are frequently searching reservations these restaurants on OpenTable, but don't see them listed currently.

"It's a new and different supply of restaurants for us," said Quarles.

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OpenTable makes money by charging restaurants per diner for reservations. Financial terms of the QSR Automations partnership were not disclosed.

Quarles also said that chain restaurants have expressed an interest in letting their customers add their names to reservation wait lists through OpenTable, if their preferred meal times are unavailable. Quarles said that OpenTable is considering creating such a feature.

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