In 1999, the website began operations serving a limited selection of restaurants in San Francisco. It has after expanded to cover more than 30,000 restaurants in most U.S. states as well as in several major international cities. Reservations can be made online through its website. On June 13, 2014 the company announced it had agreed to terms with The Priceline Group to be acquired in an all-cash deal for $2.6 billion.
The company's home market consists of the United States, however, it has expanded in recent years to include markets including Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico and the United Kingdom. Reservations are free to end users; the company charges restaurants monthly and per-reservation fees for their use of the system. According to the company, it provides online reservations for about 31,000 restaurants around the world and seats about 15 million diners a month.
The company was founded by Chuck Templeton on 2 July 1998.
OpenTable held its initial public offering (IPO) on 21 May 2009, on the NASDAQ stock exchange under the ticker symbol NASDAQ: . The underwriters of the IPO were Merrill Lynch, Allen & Company, Stifel Nicolaus, and ThinkEquity.
On 1 October 2010, the company acquired Toptable, a restaurant reservation site in the UK. On 29 January 2013, the company announced that it entered a definitive agreement to acquire Foodspotting.
On 13 June 2014 the company agreed to a takeover offer by The Priceline Group of $103 a share, a 46 percent premium on the previous day's closing stock price. The offer valued the company at $2.6 billion. Both companies said OpenTable would continue to operate as a separate business under the same management.
The service allows users to search for restaurants and reservations based on parameters including times, dates, cuisine and price range. Users who have registered their email address with the system will then receive a confirmation email. Users can additionally receive OpenTable rewards points after dining (100 or 1,000); these points can be redeemed for discounts at member restaurants.
The company additionally has a mobile application available in Apple's App Store, Blackberry App World, Google Play, Windows Phone Store and Palm App Catalog that allows users to find and book dinner reservations.
The service provides restaurant owners with comprehensive reservation management. Subscribing restaurants use an Electronic Reservation Book (ERB) to replace existing paper reservation systems. It provides the ERB as an integrated software and hardware solution that computerises restaurant host-stand operations. The ERB handles reservation management, table management, guest recognition, and email marketing.
In 2010 San Francisco restaurateur Mark Pastore explained on his then restaurant Incanto's website why it wasn't listed with Open Table, citing high fees and the control it gave to Open Table of the customer information. The explanation was cited in several publications, including The New York Times.