Apple has submitted a patent application revealing plans to implement their own restaurant reservation system, which was ceremoniously filed as “Systems and Methods for Processing Orders and Reservations Using an Electronic Device.” The news was followed by a 3.51 percent drop in OpenTable’s stock late last week, as investors no doubt fretted over the possibility of Apple taking over the realm of online food reservations. Although Patently Apple seems to think this is the company’s first step towards total online ordering domination, the Verge points out that isn’t quite the case.
Apple is constantly applying for patents and while there are some similarities between their ordering concept and OpenTable’s, there’s no guarantee that the patent will be accepted as-is. “Applications almost always change significantly before a company is formally awarded the patent it’s seeking, and this is likely to be no exception. Especially when you step back and look at how overly-ambitious it is,” the Verge reasons.
The comprehensive system aims to provide a cloud-based solution that would help restaurants and other businesses (theaters, museums, etc.) run more efficiently. Using mobile devices, customers will be able to update wait times based on dishes they order, generate menu recommendations based on allergies, and even order food directly from their phones. The more people participate, the more accurate the system’s predictions get.”The estimated consumption period can include a plurality of estimated time segments, such as the period of time to process an order for the item, create the item, deliver the item, and consume the item,” Apple states in the abstract.
Similar to Yelp’s filter by star ratings, Apple would also allow customers to search for restaurants based on available reservations and wait times. The patent application explains the concept:
The recommendations provided to the customer can be based on the wait time for the next available table at the restaurant. For example, the recommendations can contain only restaurants with a table available within a predetermined period of time. As another example, the recommendations can contain only restaurants capable of providing the customer with a table within a period of time after the customer arrives at the restaurant. These examples can take into consideration the wait list at the restaurants and the distance between the customer and the restaurant when recommending restaurants.
Again, Apple’s all-encompassing design has yet to be built, and even an awarded patent doesn’t make it a sure-fire success. If it does however, hit the market and gain popularity, this could mean a cut to restaurants’ floor staff and an entirely new dining experience.
H/T The Verge + Picthx Apple