OpenTable buys restaurant recommendation service Ness

Steven Loeb · February 7, 2014 · Short URL:

Company paid $17.2 million in cash, Ness team will come to work at OpenTable

I have found OpenTable to be pretty useful for when I know what restaurant I want to go to, or where I am going to be. Honestly, I have never found to be any good at recommending place for me to go, though. 

The company wants to change that and so it has purchased personalized restaurant recommendation service Ness for $17.2 million in cash, it was announced on Thursday.

As per the deal, the entire Ness team, which consists of 11 members, will be joining OpenTable and will be based out of the company's headquarter offices in San Francisco. 

As for the Ness app and website, both will be shut down and discontinued "as the team focuses on bringing the Ness technology to the OpenTable product and on other development efforts."

Founded in 2009, Ness was a service that allowed its users to get instant restaurant recommendations based on their unique tastes. The idea was basically to get people smarter recommendations based on their activity, what they liked and did not like.

The Los Altos-based company raised $20 million. It raised $5 million in Series A funding in June of 2011, and then another $15 million in Series B funding in August of 2012.

OpenTable says that it will be using the Ness team's expertise in recommendations to help enhance its own service going forward.

"The Ness team is as passionate about restaurants and helping people find the perfect table as we are, and we have tremendous respect for their talented team of data scientists, engineers and experience designers," Joseph Essas, Chief Technology Officer of OpenTable, said in a statement.

"We're looking forward to leveraging the Ness team's expertise to enrich the experience for diners and deepen the relationship between restaurants and their guests." 

OpenTable is the largest restaurant reservation service on the planet. With an installed restaurant base of nearly 31,000 around the world, and more than half of all the reservation-taking restaurants in the United States, it basically has a monopoly on the online-reservation space, over companies like LiveBookings, SaveTable,, Restalo, and Eveve.


The news comes on the same day that OpenTable announced its Q4 and full year 2014 financial earnings. 

The company reported consolidated net revenues for Q4 2013 of $52.3 million, a 22% increase over Q4 2012.  For the entire year, total revenues were $190.1 million in 2013, up 18% over 2012 revenues of $161.6 million.

In North America, it now has 23,824 installed restaurants a 20% increase year to year, and it seated 39.8 million diners during the quarter, a 33% increase. OpenTable's installed restaurant base internationally is 7,729, and it seated 4.2 million diners, a 43% year to year increase. 

Since it was founded in 1998, OpenTable has seated over 385 million diners around the world, and 44 million diners were seated in the last quarter alone. 

VatorNews has reached out to get a comment from Ness on the deal, but the company was not available for 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.