As coronavirus restrictions ease, OpenTable offers reservations to 'all drinking establishments globally'

COVID-19 has forced venues to find creative ways to operate

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As coronavirus restrictions are slowly lifted in some states, reservation app OpenTable is looking to connect Americans with select bars and wineries that are open for business.

While pubs and taverns that serve food were already on the platform, OpenTable booking is now available for all drinking establishments globally, the company said in a statement.

"Bars and wineries must operate differently as they reopen. OpenTable is here to help with software to accept reservations, manage capacity, attract guests, and maximize revenues," OpenTable Chief Operating Officer Andrea Johnston said in the statement. “People can visit their favorite places to socialize without waiting in lines or worrying about crowds."

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Guests can join a virtual waitlist and receive phone alerts when their reservation is ready. Some venues also offer the option for customers to prepay for tastings to get a contactless payment experience, as heath officials still urge citizens to follow social-distancing guidelines.

The expansion comes after OpenTable launched a new tool that could help grocery stores and eateries ease overcrowding, allowing users to choose between available shopping time slots at supermarkets and other outlets that remain open, in order to avoid congestion.

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TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
BKNGBOOKING HOLDINGS INC.1,655.00-15.73-0.94%

"As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we see an opportunity to help our restaurant partners pivot to takeout, delivery and storefront business models, so we put a team of engineers together and built this in less than a week," Joseph Essas, the company's chief technology officer, said in a statement sent to FOX Business. "We hope this new solution provides similar support for retailers and grocers to help them safely manage the influx of shoppers."

Shopping times and group sizes vary by the establishment, but if a location is booked, users can join a waitlist and receive text alerts when it's their turn to shop.

OpenTable parent company Booking Holdings, which also owns brands like KAYAK and Priceline.com, released its financial results for the first quarter of 2020 last week. Total revenues were $2.3 billion, a 19 percent decrease from the prior year.

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Shares of the company are down 24 percent on the year.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted our Company and the entire travel industry. We have taken immediate steps to stabilize the Company by reducing costs and bolstering our liquidity position,” Booking Holdings CEO Glenn Fogel said in a statement. “Looking forward, due to the value of our platform, our highly variable cost structure and strong liquidity, I am confident that we will emerge from this crisis in a position of strength that will allow us to extend our leadership role in the industry."

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