Why OpenTable’s Foodspotting Buy Is Good for Restaurants

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foodspotting_iconFoodspotting, a provider of a food-sharing and recommendations app, announced yesterday that it would be acquired by reservations company OpenTable for $10 million. While the two services seem quite different (one is for reservations and the other is a social network organized around food) the acquisition could mean good things for both companies as well as local restaurants.

Foodspotting CEO Alexa Andrzejewski told Street Fight yesterday: “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.” That promise of deeper integration is crucial for this acquisition and is what makes it so beneficial for local restaurants.

The two companies had been partners previously, and users on OpenTable could hit a plus key and see pictures from Foodspotting users. But now potentially Foodspotting users may be able to see a dish they want and instantly get a location, menu, and hours and make a reservation through OpenTable’s services. While it is unclear exactly how the two will work together, this development would close the gap between a user seeing something desired from a local restaurant and being able to go make that purchase, giving the restaurant a new customer and a new channel for marketing opportunities.

In a Q & A with Street Fight last month, Andrzejewski said this year Foodspotting would focus on “connecting those food spotters and seekers with merchants and restaurants,” which is exactly what this acquisition could do in making it easier and simpler for a user to move from seeing a dish he or she likes to going to the restaurant and then sharing information about that item or others.

While the acquisition puts in question some of Foodspotting’s most recent initiatives (like its newly launched “rewards” program for merchants), it seems that any drastic changes or a complete takeover by OpenTable is not expected in the near future. Said Andrzejewski: “We’ll be bringing the best of Foodspotting to OpenTable, but Foodspotting itself will live on as a standalone product and our team will continue to focus on smart, social recommendations.”

So for right now the social recommendations app will remain the same, but it’ll be interesting to see how the deeper integration develops and the effects this will have on local restaurants.

Isa Jones is an editorial assistant at Street Fight.