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If you use an online reservation system for your restaurant, since 1998, OpenTable was the only tool available. However, a few years ago, Urbanspoon came out with its new online booking service called Rezbook, giving OpenTable a run for its money.

But what is the difference between them, and is one better than the other? Well like anything, both tools have their advantages and drawbacks, as well as similarities versus differences. So let’s compare them, apples to apples.


OpenTable, which owns approximately 90 percent of the market share, provides restaurant owners with a comprehensive and fully integrated hardware and software solution to replace their paper reservation booking systems. It offers nice features for diners, as well, such as the ability to earn points every time they dine at restaurants using OpenTable. And of course since it has been around for 15 years, it has grown to become the most trusted and reliable tool of choice for the majority of restaurants.

Another perk is that OpenTable has a partnership with Yelp, whereby Yelp users can make their online reservations with OpenTable, directly from Yelp, drawing on the power of its 30 million-plus restaurant reviews.

One key drawback with OpenTable, though, is the fact that it requires hardware and software integration, and can only run from a PC-based kiosk, which is hooked-up to the system. Also, because it is a comprehensive software and hardware solution, it’s more expensive than Rezbook.

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Urbanspoon’s Rezbook, on the other hand, is a cloud-based solution, allowing restaurant owners to view and modify their reservation information from anywhere they happen to be, on smartphones or tablets. Many consider it to be a lighter version than its counterpart, with fewer online reservation system features and benefits. But it works nicely with iPads, which is a cool advantage over only being able to manage reservations at the hostess stand. With Rezbook, restaurant-goers can also conveniently make reservations online directly through Urbanspoon’s popular restaurant review site. In addition, Rezbook is a more affordable option, particularly for smaller restaurants on a budget. Both charge a monthly fee and require a contract, however, because Rezbook is cloud-based, it requires no extensive setup or integration.

Ultimately, determining whether you should use OpenTable or Rezbook in your restaurant will ride on a number of different factors, i.e. your budget, whether you use PCs or tablets, resources and training requirements, among others.

For instance, if you’ve already made an investment to integrate your computers with OpenTable and train your staff on using the system, you may just want to stay with what you have. But if you are starting from scratch, it’s an easier choice. Or, if your restaurant uses iPad technology, Rezbook will work nicely for you. And there’s always the annual contract that you will have to deal with, if you are already using one tool or the other, making the switch more difficult.

But whatever road you choose to take, it’s refreshing that restaurant owners now have more than just one option for managing their online reservations.