Shares of OpenTable -- the leading online dining reservations specialist -- have fallen 7% through the first two trading days after Groupon announced that it would be acquiring Savored. Groupon has actually seen its stock tumble nearly 9%, though that's not likely the result of the opportunistic acquisition.
Savored offers a new spin on the Groupon Now model, catering solely to restaurateurs with excess capacity during off hours. Eateries offer up to 30% off the tab on a reservation's food and drink order at times and days of the week when they know that they won't be busy. There are currently roughly 1,000 participating restaurants in 10 different cities, though nearly half of the establishments are in New York City.
The initial market reaction has been to categorize Savored as a competitor to OpenTable, suggesting that Groupon is now muscling in on the company's dining reservations stronghold.
That's not right.
OpenTable abandoned its own Groupon-like offering last year when it shelved OpenTable Spotlight. Jumping into the daily deals niche by selling discounted prepaid restaurant vouchers may be working profitably for companies including Travelzoo (Nasdaq: TZOO ) , but it just didn't fit OpenTable's model. Whether the numbers didn't add up or the markdowns proved to be a conflict of interest with its existing client base of more than 25,000 restaurants, it just didn't pan out. OpenTable chose instead to simply outsource the deals -- through Savored.
A source tells Forbes that Groupon is paying no more than $20 million for Savored, so clearly this isn't a big deal. There must be a reason why OpenTable -- which has partnered with Savored in the past -- or dining reviews website Yelp didn't put up much of a fight.
Savored may work out well for Groupon. It fits the discount mind-set in attracting eateries willing to sell food and drinks for fractions on the dollar. However, comparing OpenTable -- a full-fledged reservations platform -- to a low-tech discount platform doesn't make sense.
OpenTable will be just fine.
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