Restaurant owners, who wish to stay organised, reduce the waiting time of their customers and increase table turnover, should maintain an efficient and reliable restaurant reservation system.
There was a time when restaurant reservations were limited to managers or staff members taking phone calls from customers and pencilling in their name and time of arrival on paper. Restaurant reservations taken on paper consumed precious time of staff members, which could be better utilised helping customers or clearing tables. As technology advanced and access of customers to the internet grew, companies began to develop restaurant reservation systems to optimise the reservation process and make it more convenient for not just the restaurant managers but customers as well.
There are several benefits of using a restaurant reservation system. In this post, we’ll highlight the benefits of restaurant reservation system and demonstrate how a restaurant reservation system can prove to be a good investment for your business.
Benefits of Restaurant Reservation System
Restaurant owners hate it when the seats in their restaurant’s dining room stay empty. That’s because they are required to pay for utility charges, rent and food up front. If seats are left unfilled, it means that they lose their profit since the bills the restaurant has to pay, remain the same no matter how many customers it serves. Restaurants take reservations to reduce the number of empty seats in a restaurant. Restaurant reservations provide the following benefits to restaurant owners:
1. Reduce Customer Waiting Time
Restaurant reservations reduce the waiting time of customers, which makes their dining experience more enjoyable. When a customer books a table before going to the restaurant, they can get seated close to their booked time. This means that they don’t have to wait for hours before they could enjoy a tasty meal.
2. Better Idea of How Many Customers will be coming in
Taking reservations give restaurant managers a better idea of how many customers will be coming in. For example, a restaurant’s reservation schedule may show that many customers will be coming in on a Friday night and the restaurant will be packed. In this case, the restaurant manager can tell the kitchen staff and chefs to stay on their toes to tackle the incoming rush.
Third-Party Sites For Reservation
A lot of UK restaurants are using third-party websites which have a restaurant reservation system. These websites aim to reduce the number of empty tables in a restaurant by promoting the restaurant business on their websites. Customers can filter through restaurants they are searching for by cuisine, city or rating etc. Then they can make a table booking via the third-party reservation system. There are several websites that are offering restaurant reservation system solutions. Some of them include OpenTable, Book A Table and Quandoo which are popular in the UK. Every restaurant reservation system has its own unique benefits, however, these systems are not for everyone. Moreover, there are some downsides to using third-party restaurant reservation systems.
The Disadvantages of Using Third-Party Restaurant Reservation Systems
The first disadvantage of using a third-party restaurant reservation system is that they charge a commission on each booking. Moreover, some commission-based restaurant reservation system providers pay Google or other search engines to have a link to their website feature at the top of search results on specific search terms. If someone types the name of a restaurant into a search engine that is using a third party reservation system, the top result is likely to be the link of the commission-charging website. The customer is more likely to click on this link, then that restaurant will have to pay a commission for the booking.
The reason the restaurant will have to pay a commission, in this case, is because people who click on these paid advertisements did not make the booking via the restaurant’s own booking system/website. This means that the third-party website is stealing the web traffic of your restaurant and on top of it making the restaurant owner pay commission for the bookings, which could have been directly made through the restaurant’s own website. To make matters worse, these bookings could be made by the regular customers of that restaurant who could have made a reservation via the restaurant’s own website. If this is the case, which is (highly likely), the third-party website has not delivered much value to the restaurant business, as it has not supplied a new customer, just return a regular customer which could have book via the restaurant’s own booking system for free!
Online Restaurant Booking System
Restaurant owners can set up their own website to allow reservations. They can use an online restaurant booking system for this purpose. There are several benefits of using an online restaurant booking system on the restaurant website. These include:
- Ability to confirm or reject reservations of customers through email
- All bookings are free and unlimited
- Keep all reservations in one place
- More convenient for both the customer and restaurant staff
- Website visitors can turn into reservations with ease
- Email addresses can be collected automatically for future marketing campaigns
- Doesn’t require customers to wait for a staff member to answer the phone
- Allow bookings 24/7 even when the restaurant is closed
Restaurant Reservation System Example
When a restaurant has its own restaurant reservation system on its business website, they don’t have to pay any commission. The savings are huge. Furthermore, they can configure their restaurant table booking system to meet their own individual requirements. The restaurant booking system on a restaurant website can also collect booking details, including the name and details of diners who book and these details can be used for future marketing purposes. MailChimp is a great email marketing platform to start off with and offers a forever free plan!
Another good thing about having an internal restaurant reservation system is that a custom reservation link to the system can be added to a restaurant’s business listing on Google My Business. This makes it easier for customers to make reservations through the system directly from the homepage of Google. Restaurant owners don’t have to pay any commission on reservations made through this link.
In a nutshell, when it comes to restaurant reservation systems, restaurant owners have two options. They can either choose a third-party site’s reservation system or employ a restaurant booking system on their own website. Using third-party reservation systems can prove to be costly because of the commission associated with the bookings. Having a restaurant booking system on their own website saves restaurant owners from paying commission for reservations made by customers. Therefore, it is better for restaurant owners to have a restaurant reservation system on their own website.
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