Boston restaurant technology company Toast is expanding into the reservations business, taking on OpenTable and Resy, popular apps with deep-pocketed owners.
The new feature, dubbed Toast Tables, extends Toast’s cloud software so that restaurants can let diners make reservations or join a waiting list from a website or app. The feature can also be integrated into a restaurant’s listings on Google Search and Google Maps, Toast said.
“Reservation and waitlist management capabilities have moved from ‘nice to have’ to ‘must have’ for many restaurants in recent years,” Toast chief operating officer Aman Narang said in a statement.
Since the pandemic eased, Toast’s business has been booming, driven in part by new features it added for restaurant clients like taking catering orders, employee scheduling, and ingredient price tracking. The company brought in $2.7 billion in 2022, up 60 percent from 2021; analysts forecast another 33 percent gain to $3.6 billion this year.
Breaking into the reservation space, already dominated by the two top players, won’t be easy.
Founded in 1998, San Francisco’s OpenTable was the pioneering online reservation service. The company was acquired for $2.6 billion in 2014 by Priceline, now known as Booking Holdings. Resy was founded in 2014 in New York and acquired by American Express in 2019 for an undisclosed amount.
OpenTable is the market leader by volume, with 36.1 million visits to its website and mobile apps in March, up 3 percent over the past six months, according to data from research firm Similarweb. Resy had 10.6 million visitors in March, up 2 percent.
Toast, which takes online orders for restaurants, already has more Web traffic with 42.1 million visits in March, according to Similarweb.
Analyst Eugene Simuni at SVB MoffettNathanson, noted that Toast has been successful in the past by adding new services such as online ordering and operations management.
“This is just another one like that will also help them grow,” he said. “It strengthens their platform and a makes it a little more attractive. The revenue stream is small, though. It’s not game changing.”
Shares of Toast fell 2.43 percent to $17.25 in market trading Tuesday. Shares have declined 2 percent so far in 2023.