Groupon starts restaurant reservations tool

In challenge to OpenTable, Groupon launches online reservations tool for restaurants

Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) -- In a challenge to OpenTable, Groupon has launched a service to let people book restaurant tables at a discount.

Chicago-based Groupon Inc. said Monday that the feature, called "Reserve," is available in 10 markets, including Chicago, New York City, San Francisco and Washington.

It's only available for restaurants reservations now. Groupon says it plans to add deals for travel, entertainment, beauty products and other items, along with reservations capabilities for spas, salons and hotels.

Reserve offers deals for people willing to book a table at less popular hours. Customers will get a discount off their final check without having to buy vouchers ahead of time. Groupon's emailed deals require customers to buy a voucher.

The service grew out of Groupon's acquisition of restaurant reservations website Savored.com last year. Groupon makes money from taking a cut from the discounted deals it offers, but the company has been trying to broaden its reach to become an e-commerce company in the footsteps of Amazon or eBay. Struggling with its stock price since its 2011 initial public offering, Groupon fired its CEO Andrew Mason earlier this year.

Groupon's stock added 4 cents to $8.59 in afternoon trading. After a steep fall last year, the stock is up 78 percent in 2013.

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