Online reservations platform OpenTable has partnered with Virginia Tourism to introduce the new OpenSeat programme for diners.

Intended to turn open seats into chance meetings, the OpenSeat programme will allow customers to share their table with someone new at more than 30 restaurants across the Commonwealth.

Virginia Tourism president and CEO Rita McClenny said: “Virginia has quickly become one of the most celebrated destinations in the country for culinary enthusiasts.

“Visitors are travelling to Virginia to experience our world-class restaurants headed up by talented, award-winning chefs.

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“The OpenSeat programmes allows diners to meet new people over a shared meal at our most beloved restaurants.”

“The OpenSeat programmes allows diners to meet new people over a shared meal at our most beloved restaurants, and discover for themselves why Virginia is for food lovers.”

Restaurants participating in the programme include Alexander’s, Brine at Mosaic, Little Saint, The Majestic, Mermaid Winery, Pasture, Rappahannock and RockSalt.

These restaurants are located in various areas across Virginia, including Charlottesville, Richmond, Norfolk, Roanoke, Fairfax and Alexandria.

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Customers can book their reservations at any of these locations online through OpenTable platform and opt for the OpenSeat option in the notes section before completing the process.

OpenTable chief dining officer Caroline Potter said: “To paraphrase William Butler Yeats, there are no strangers, only friends we haven’t yet met. And what better way to get to know people in the community than by sharing a delicious meal in a welcoming setting.

“We look forward to hearing about the connections made around the table through this programme.”

A part of Booking Holdings, OpenTable offers online restaurant reservations to more than 26 million diners a month across 47,000 restaurants.