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How do OpenTable dining certificates work?
August 29, 2014 7:51 AM   Subscribe

I have quite a few points accumulated in my OpenTable account, enough to redeem for a good sized gift certificate. However, I don't want to use one if the restaurant essentially gets stiffed on the amount of the certificate.

Are OpenTable gift certificates true gift certificates - i.e., does OpenTable cover the amount redeemed, or are the restaurants eating the balance as a cost of doing business with OpenTable? I have shied away from Groupons since learning how they often end up costing local businesses money and I'm not interested in using an OpenTable certificate if it's going to financially hurt the restaurants I frequent.

Thanks!
posted by something something to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Surprisingly, they are actually real checks. The restaurant can deposit them directly, or submit them to OpenTable to get credit against their account.

Source
posted by smackfu at 8:00 AM on August 29


Yep, when your bill comes, you just use it as partial or full payment. It's actually just like cash.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:03 AM on August 29


Here is how OpenTable works for restaurants. Short version, restaurants pay per reservation. If you really wanted to bend over backward not to hurt restaurants financially, you would pick up the telephone instead of going through a middle man like OpenTable. That's not a recommendation; I use OpenTable all the time. I make 1,000 point reservations, I collect $50 checks, and I use 'em. I think it's great. But if you're concerned that your OpenTable impact on your favorite restaurants isn't zero, well, it isn't.
posted by cribcage at 8:53 AM on August 29


I have used OpenTable certificates at some of my favorite restaurants and they do work just like cash. They can be deposited by the restaurant. Cribcage is right that restaurants are charged for reservations using OpenTable, so for places where I'm a regular I tend to call or just drop in vs. making an OpenTable reservation just to save them the cost. But using the check to pay your bill definitely doesn't stiff the restaurant.
posted by bedhead at 9:02 AM on August 29


FYI - when using open table, the restaurant pays less (currently $0.25 instead of $1.00) when you book through the restaurant site instead of opentable. (But the trade-off is that you don't get the dining points, at least in my experience)
posted by mercredi at 9:18 AM on August 29


Yeah, I know they're already paying to use OpenTable; I just didn't want to be making it worse! Thanks for the info!
posted by something something at 9:18 AM on August 29


Endorse your OpenTable Dining Cheque on the back, and deposit into your account at the bank / ATM. It literally is just like a real check, and can be deposited as such. I deposit them using my bank's smartphone app, so I don't forget that I have it.
posted by kathryn at 11:30 AM on August 29


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