Photo: Hispanolistic / Getty Images

Photo: Hispanolistic / Getty Images

Journalists and teachers might not be the only ones feeling uneasy about the performances of ChatGPT. It now looks likely that restaurant guides and rankings may need to redefine their role in the world of restaurant recommendations, since the AI chatbot is now able to generate a list of recommended spots based on the user’s criteria.

For example, it can be asked to find a restaurant serving brunch or one with a vegetarian menu, for a spot to eat oysters or an eatery that can accommodate a large group of diners.

In fact, the bot has been given access to data from the restaurant booking platform OpenTable, which includes more than 50,000 restaurants worldwide. The site claims to seat more than one billion people each year through its software.

The San Francisco-based platform is something of a pioneer in online restaurant reservations. It launched in 1998 and went public in 2009. Now, the co-founder of OpenAI himself, Greg Brockman, has taken to social networks to explain how the integration of the platform with ChatGPT works.

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This new capability is actually part of OpenAI’s drive to launch a slew of plugins so that ChatGPT has access to new sources of learning. Not only is the bot able to give ideas on where to dine, but it also provides a link, via OpenTable, via which users can book a table.

For the moment, only members with a ChatGPT Plus account, costing US$20 (S$26) a month, can test this new feature. However, it should gradually roll out to more users, says OpenTable.

As for restaurants, ChatGPT’s ability to suggest ideas for outings is a new kind of exposure to take into account. Just as they had to adapt to the success of TripAdvisor in the early 2000s by responding to customer reviews in order to better control their online reputation, restaurant owners will now have to check what ChatGPT might say about their establishment.

Here, restaurants should be able to improve their visibility by making sure their OpenTable profile features as much information as possible. “The more details like menus, tags, photos, and reviews, the better,” OpenTable Chief Growth Officer Susan Lee told trade website Restaurant Business.