How Reservation Tech Can Give you an Edge

Most of your customers want to book a restaurant online and 60% will make a reservation on a Smartphone app. With this in mind, it is no wonder that many restaurants have embrace reservation technology. It makes sense to make it easier for your customers to make a reservation with you. But as most restaurant owners will tell you online reservations can sometimes lead to an increase in no shows which is not good for business.

But as it is with every tech problem, this one has a solution. Restaurant owners can easily tokenize a credit or debit card during booking to significantly reduce the number of no shows or walk outs. But this is not the only way to go. As a restaurant owner, you can also choose to use an online booking service that will establish communication with the customer. These can send automated emails or SMS to remind the guest to confirm their booking with a press of a button or by clicking on a special link.

Use Online Reservation Services to Drive More Business

There are also some online reservation tools that can help you drive more business to your restaurant at quiet times. They do this by allowing restaurant owners to promote discounts in off-peak periods. But most restaurant owners are wary of these off-peak discounts since a discount on top of food prices, increasing staff costs may not be very good for business.

But there are certain online booking services that have taken this into account and have come up with a great solution. A good example is ResDiary Off-peak where you can set different prices at different times, going higher when its busy and offering a discount for quiet times. The company then promotes the discounted prices via email and social media.

Be Smartphone Smart

Because diners are looking for even easier ways to make restaurant booking, many prefer to make the booking on an app on their smartphone. In 2018, a rising trend has seen diners use Applemaps and Googlmaps to book restaurants directly. Knowing about and finding a way to get your restaurant listed on these apps is one way to ensure you remain ahead of the completion. One of those apps is Quandoo, an app that integrates maps its features, allowing customers to find restaurants easily.

These smartphone apps can also be crucial for to easing restaurant congestion. For example, DineTime Host is an app that will not only allow diners to book a restaurant on their smartphone but will also populate the restaurant waiting list and inform the guest of the estimated waiting time.

Allowing Customers to Pay for Meals Online

Restaurant booking technology has also evolved to allow diners to pay for their meals online. This solution is also designed to make the dining experience as convenient for the diners as possible and with over 67% of 16-20 years olds preferring to pay for their meals online, it is a route you may want to consider especially if you serve the younger generation.

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How to Use Online Tools to Control No-shows and Late Cancellations

No-shows and late cancellations can be a nightmare for restaurants especially since you know with advance warning the diners could have been replaced. This form of loss in revenue is one most restaurants will experience at some point in their lifetime. And in recent times online booking technology has been blamed for the large percentage of no-shows from online bookings.

But this same technology can also be utilized to prevent no-shows and cancellations. There are certain circumstances that are difficult to navigate and you may never be able to fill all tables every day. But the following measures can help you reduce the number of cancellations you experience;

  1. Make Your Cancellation Policy Very Clear

The first step is to have a very clear cancellation policy that can be displayed either on the restaurant’s website or on the webpage on the online booking service you use. Make sure that your customers and potential customers are aware of the cancellation window and penalties they may incur for late arrivals or late cancellations. It is also important to take every opportunity to ensure that your customers are familiar with your policy. For example, you may present them with the policy as soon as they make a reservation or every time you send them a reminder of their reservation.

  1. Send an Email Confirmation of the Booking

Ensure that your service sends an email to the customer confirming the booking. Some online booking tools will even send the customer an SMS to confirm the booking. Many will ensure the email or SMS is customized to your branding and colors. The main purpose of this confirmation is to eliminate booking mistakes regarding time and date that can also cause no-shows and cancellations.

  1. Call to Confirm the Booking

While it may not always be possible, it is important to take the time to follow up the reservation with a phone call. If you have too many customers, this may not be practical. But if you can, calling to confirm the reservation may go a long way in preventing a cancellation and the customer will appreciate it very much.

  1. Reserve the Right to Block Repeat Offenders

Even with all of these reminders, recognize that some people will fail to turn up. If the same customer is a no-show once or twice, you may put it down as unforeseen circumstances. But you want to be wary of repeat offenders; people who book reservations every other day and fail to show up. These people are causing you to lose revenue significantly. Fortunately, with online booking systems, there is something you can do. For example, ResDiary allows you to block these repeat offenders, ensuring they can never reserve your restaurant online.

With most people choosing to reserve restaurants online, there is increased risk or no-shows. But the same technology gives you adequate follow-up options to help reduce the risk and you begin by having a clear cancellation policy.

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