I am a huge fan of the the free OpenTable program which rewards restaurant loyalty and generally makes dining out a lot easier to plan. By using them every time I dine out, over the years, I have earned several “restaurant cheques,” which are gift certificates for Open Table restaurants, and saved countless hours by not having to wait in line behind other customers. While their website and app are great, there’s one major feature that’s missing that I wish they would add: the ability to search for specific food by price. A search engine for restaurant food cost, if you will. They do have star and $ ratings, of course, but what if you wanted to search for a very specific food item, such as New York strip steak, and find the lowest price on it? That feature is not readily available at the moment. OpenTable, Food Network, someone, can you develop this feature please?
Price shopping work-around on Open Table
While I wait for someone to develop this capability, on the Open Table site now, you can narrow a cuisine selection by the number of $ ratings as an initial work-around for finding the “best” or “lowest price” on a particular food item. Say you were bent on getting a steak or some other entree, and you had a general idea of prices. After you have narrowed down the cuisine type, filter out by $ ratings. Now, with much fewer options to choose from, go to the restaurant’s webpage link and look up their menu. A quick scan should show you the food item and price. Keep that in mind and then go back to the other restaurant menu options and compare.
Then, if the prices are virtually the same, think about the neighborhood where the restaurant is, distance from your home, and other factors. Trendier areas may result in more inflated costs for other menu items, like drinks. So, you will want to keep that in mind in your search, too.
I am hoping that Open Table or someone else will design an ideal restaurant food price searching feature. After all, we can easily compare the cost of mortgages, televisions, and now even healthcare using very effective search engines. We should be able to compare the cost, easily, for restaurant food as well.