OpenTable acquires Foodspotting for $10 million cash

Steven Loeb · January 29, 2013 · Short URL:

Foodspotting will remain as a standalone company, while bringing its services to OpenTable

(Updated to reflect comment from Foodspotting)

Online restaurant booking service OpenTable has purchased Foodspotting, a photo-sharing application for restaurants, it was announced Tuesday.

As per the deal, OpenTable has agreed to pay approximately $10 million in cash to purchase Foodspotting, which will remain as a standalone business.

While the two services have worked together before, with Opentable customers being able to make restaurant reservations via Foodspotting, and Foodspotting photos being added to certain OpenTable restaurants, they both realized that they could create an even better experience by combining forces on a deeper level.


"OpenTable has built an established network of diners and restaurants and has the unique opportunity to deliver smart recommendations throughout your dining experience. We've been working with OpenTable for several months as partners and developed a great relationship with their product team. We developed some great ideas around surfacing Foodspotting recommendations before, during and after your meal -- but realized we could bring this vision to life a lot faster if we could integrate more deeply," Alexa Andrzejewski, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Foodspotting, told VatorNews.
"Our expertise is in social, mobile and design. We've built a beautiful, social app that people love, catalogued over 3M dishes around the world and our tech team is passionate smart, social recommendations. We'll be able to continue to focus on solving these problems at OpenTable and continuing to create apps that are not only functional but smart and beautiful as well!"


Founded in 1998, San Francisco-based OpenTable is a supplier of reservation, table management and guest management software for restaurants.  The network assists diners with discovering and booking a table and helps restaurants deliver personalized hospitality to their guests. Diners are able to see which restaurants have available tables, select a restaurant based on verified diner reviews, menus and other helpful information, and easily book a reservation. For restaurants, the OpenTable allows them to manage their reservation book, streamline their operations and enhance their service levels.

The service seats nearly 10 million diners per month through online bookings across more than 26,000 restaurants. Since 1998, OpenTable has seated over 385 million diners around the world. In addition to the company's website and mobile apps, OpenTable powers online reservations for nearly 600 partners, including many of the Internet's most popular global and local brands.  The Company is available in the  United States, CanadaGermanyJapanMexico and the UK. OpenTable also owns and operates toptable, the leading consumer destination site for restaurant reservations in the UK.

OpenTable raised $48 million before going public in 2009. The company stock is currently trading at $54.38 a share.

"We're proud to welcome the talented Foodspotting team to the OpenTable family," Matt Roberts, Chief Executive Officer of OpenTable, said in statement  "The Foodspotting team is as passionate about dining as we are, and we're looking forward to leveraging their unique expertise in the areas of imagery and social sharing to enrich the OpenTable experience for diners and restaurants in new and exciting ways. By adding more visually compelling content to help people decide where to dine and discover dishes they'll love, we hope to make it even easier to find the perfect table for any occasion."   

San Francisco-based Foodspotting was founded in 2009. The company describes itself as "a visual guide to good food and where to find it. Instead of reviewing restaurants, you can recommend great dishes and see what other recommend wherever you go."

Users who visit the website can follow people, dishes, and places. Mobile users can see if their friends are on Foodspotting, follow their friends’ recommendations, follow their favorite restaurants and dishes, and follow experts.  A number of prominent chefs and food experts have specialized pages on Foodspotting that users can follow on their mobile devices, including renowned chef Wolfgang Puck, chef and cookbook author Marcus Samuelsson, and chef and restauranteur Mario Batali.  Users can also follow the Travel Channel and get Foodspotting recommendations from Man Vs. Food and Bizarre Foods. 

What separate Foodspotting from its competition, Andrzejewski says, is that it is both visual and positive. 

"Because even a 'one-star rated restaurant' can have one amazing dish, we want to know what you love, not what you hate. We encourage spotters to share only the foods that they like or love. While you can hide dishes you’re not personally into, there’s no visible negative rating," she said.

"It’s about dishes, not just restaurants: Foodspotting helps you decide what to eat, not just where, by enabling you to find whatever you’re craving, see what’s good at a particular restaurant and discover the best foods around you wherever you go."

In 2012 was Foodspotting crossed 3 million photos in almost every country around the world. Its mobile app has been downloaded  by 4 million people.
In December, Foodspotting piloted its first revenue focused program, "based on our observation that business expressed willingness to reward customers or even pay to have them talk about their food online." Andrzejewski says that the program "was a great success in driving traffic and promotion for featured restaurants." On average, restaurants saw four times more photos during December, and some saw as many as 10 times more.
"Our main focus over the past few years has been scale, however, as that's what it would take to make this rewards model viable."

Foodspotting has raised $3.75 million. In August 2010, the company raised $750,000 in seed funding led by Aydin Senkut’s Felicis Ventures, and with participation from Dave McClure’s 500 Startups, Shana Fisher’s High Line Venture Partners, Zelkova Ventures, and 2020 Ventures.  Several angel investors also chipped in, including Dave Morin of Path, product manager of Google Latitude Steve Lee, Derek Dupes of Dipity, and Dan Martell of Flowtown.

In January 2011, Foodspotting secured a $3 million in Series A funding led by BlueRun Ventures with follow-on participation from seed round investors. 

OpenTable was unavailable for further comment.

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OpenTable is the leading supplier of reservation, table management and guest management software for restaurants. In addition, the company operates, the world’s most popular website for making restaurant reservations online.

With more than 8,000 customers throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain and Japan, the OpenTable hardware and software system replaces pen-and-paper at the host stand. It automates the process of taking reservations and managing tables, while allowing restaurants to build robust diner databases for superior guest recognition and targeted e-mail marketing.

For diners, concierges and administrative professionals, the website provides a fast, efficient way to find available tables that meet desired criteria for cuisine, price and location at a specified time. Reservations are free and can be made around the clock. The website is directly connected to the thousands of computerized reservation systems at OpenTable restaurants. Search results reflect actual, "real-time" availability and reservations are immediately recorded in the same electronic reservation book used by the maitre'd.
OpenTable works with many distribution partners, including AOL CityGuide, Chicago Tribune's,, DiRoNA, Los Angeles Times', NYC & Company, Time Out New York, San Francisco Chronicle's,, and Yahoo! Inc.
OpenTable Europe Limited is a company registered in England and Wales with company number 5266444 and with a registered address of Carmelite 50 Embankment Blackfriars London EC4Y 0DX.