A study of 474 U.S. consumers documents the increasing popularity of sites that allow reservations at numerous restaurants—although the telephone remains by far the most common way to make a restaurant reservation. Slightly over half of the respondents to this survey had made a restaurant reservation online. About 60 percent of those who made reservations online used a multi-restaurant site to do so, and the rest used the restaurant’s own website. Those who continued to make phone reservations said they preferred a personal touch. However, a substantial percentage of respondents who telephoned their reservation had located the restaurant using a multi-restaurant site or app. Restaurateurs need to note the demographics and habits of customers who typically make reservations online. There are no gender differences between customers who make reservations online and those who don’t, but the online group is noticeably younger. Multi-restaurant site users also visit restaurants more frequently than the other respondents. They were more likely to rely on online reviews, and they like having several restaurants to choose from. Although participating in a multi-restaurant reservation site represents an additional expense, restaurateurs should consider a distribution strategy that includes such sites, especially since they seem to be the preferred portal for younger guests who dine out more frequently than others.
Kimes, S. E., & Kies, K. (2012). The role of multi-restaurant reservation sites in restaurant distribution management [Electronic article]. Cornell Hospitality Report, 12(3), 6-13.