We provide solutions that form an online network connecting reservation-taking restaurants and people who dine at those restaurants. For our restaurant customers, we provide our proprietary Electronic Reservation Book, or ERB, an integrated software and hardware solution that computerizes restaurant host-stand operations and replaces traditional pen-and-paper reservation books. Our ERB streamlines and enhances a number of business-critical functions and processes for restaurants, including reservation management, table management, guest recognition and email marketing. The ERBs at our restaurant customers connect via the Internet to form an online network of restaurant reservation books. For diners, we operate www.opentable.com, a popular restaurant reservation website. The OpenTable website enables diners to find, choose and book tables at restaurants on the OpenTable network in real time, overcoming the inefficiencies associated with the traditional process of reserving by phone. Restaurants pay us a one-time installation fee, a monthly subscription fee and a fee for each restaurant guest seated through online reservations. Our online reservation service is free to diners.
We initially focused on acquiring a critical mass of local restaurant customers in four metropolitan areas: Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. These markets have since developed into active, local networks of restaurants and diners that continue to grow. We have applied and continue to apply the same fundamental strategy in developing and penetrating our other markets. As of December 31, 2008, the OpenTable network included approximately 10,000 OpenTable restaurant customers spanning all 50 states as well as select markets outside of the United States. Since our inception in 1998, we have seated approximately 90 million diners through OpenTable reservations, and during the nine months ended September 30, 2008, we seated an average of approximately 2.8 million diners per month. For the twelve months ended December 31, 2007 and the nine months ended September 30, 2008, our revenues were $41.1 million and $41.3 million, respectively.
We target our solutions towards both reservation-taking restaurants and diners. We believe based on our internal estimates that there are approximately 30,000 reservation-taking restaurants in North America that seat approximately 600 million diners through reservations annually, though this number fluctuates with economic and other conditions.
The ability of the restaurant industry to leverage the power of the Internet for reservation transactions has been inhibited by two key characteristics. First, the reservation-taking restaurant industry has been slow to computerize host-stand operations. Restaurant reservations historically have been largely handled by the traditional pen-and-paper reservation book, despite the inherent operational inefficiencies and potential for error. Second, the reservation-taking restaurant industry is highly fragmented, with independent restaurants and small, local restaurant groups comprising a significant majority of restaurant locations. The restaurant industry is also inherently local, making it time-consuming and costly to aggregate the breadth of local restaurant table inventory required to attract a critical mass of diners to make reservations online and create an online restaurant reservation network."