Yelp acquires online reservation startup SeatMe

Online business listings and reviews firm Yelp is acquiring startup SeatMe, in a deal believed to be worth over $12 million (£7.9 million) in cash and shares.

SeatMe has developed a web and app-based system to enable online reservations for restaurants and nightlife locations. Yelp said SeatMe’s "low-cost offering" is targeted at establishments that still rely on pen-and-paper to manage their reservation book.

"It provides great consumer-oriented features, as well, such as the ability to provide accurate wait times and to text guests when their table is ready," said Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman.

He said, "By bringing SeatMe to Yelp we can further enhance the consumer experience by extending the convenience of easy, online reservations directly through Yelp to thousands of currently unserved businesses."

Stoppelman said the deal "follows nicely" on its recently announced Yelp Platform, which is currently launching. The Yelp Platform gives users the ability to order food deliveries or pick-ups on Yelp business pages through partners Eat24 and delivery.com.

And Yelp said the ability to make appointments at spas, salons and dentists is scheduled to follow, via partnerships with Booker, Demandforce and MINDBODY.

"All of these options, along with our recently announced Call to Action feature for advertisers, also further our initiatives to close the loop between local businesses and their customers that find them on Yelp," said Stoppelman.

SeatMe competitor OpenTable has been working within Yelp’s integrated reservation since 2010, so it will be interesting to see whether that relationship has any future after the acquisition.

The SeatMe management team are set to stick around as Stoppelman said he was "looking forward to working with them".