We heard a few months ago that Urbanspoon was shopping its online restaurant reservation system Rezbook. Now, we’ve learned where that business has landed … in the arms of one of Rezbook’s biggest rivals.
Today, OpenTable announced that it has acquired the Rezbook business, and sealed a partnership to manage restaurant reservations for Urbanspoon. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
When Seattle-based Urbanspoon came on the scene with Rezbook three years ago, it took direct aim at OpenTable, a competitor that founder Ethan Lowry dubbed the “800 pound gorilla.”
But Rezbook wasn’t able to gain much traction against OpenTable. All of the founders of Urbanspoon have now left the IAC-owned company to pursue other interests. Meanwhile, Jason Finger, who was appointed CEO of IAC’s CityGrid Media last year, recently left the company. IAC purchased Urbanspoon, known for its restaurant directory apps, in 2009.
“We’re looking forward to introducing more diners to the convenience of online booking by powering reservations across our more than 20,000 restaurants on the Urbanspoon site and mobile apps,” said Matt Roberts, Chief Executive Officer of OpenTable, in a statement. “We’re also excited about welcoming Rezbook and its approximately 2,000 restaurant customers to the OpenTable family.”
In a blog post, Urbanspoon said that the deal means “great things,” largely due to the fact that it can return to its original focus.
“By partnering for best-in-class reservations functionality, the team is now empowered to focus on our core mission: building a uniquely fantastic consumer experience. Stay tuned for some exciting changes in the coming months,” the company wrote.
OpenTable now seats more than 12 million diners through its online reservation system, with more than 28,000 restaurant customers worldwide. The company also announced today that it will begin testing a payment system, which will allow diners to pay for meals directly from a mobile app.
In that regard, the system could transform paying tabs at restaurants, just as Uber is doing it for cab rides.