OpenTable wants to let you reserve shopping times at supermarkets to help decrease overcrowding and make stores safer for shoppers.

OpenTable’s new tool will allow you to choose a vacant time slot or join a waitlist at partnered supermarkets and other essential businesses, much like setting up a reservation at a restaurant. Currently, six restaurants turn pop-up markets plus one local grocery store located in Los Angeles and San Francisco are using the new feature, but OpenTable told The Verge it is in “active talks with other national grocers/retailers.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a significant strain on grocery stores. As an essential shop, they can receive a high volume of customers, which can be dangerous for many individuals and can increase the probability of spreading the virus. Some businesses, such as Walmart, have imposed special shopping hours to allow people over the age of 60 to come in and shop one hour early before opening officially for the public. OpenTable’s tool could help alleviate the high volume of customers, while also providing a safer environment for shoppers picking up essential household staples, if it can get more stores (and customers) to use it.


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