The need for reservations in the food and beverage industry has been amplified following restrictions and limitations on dining during the COVID-19 pandemic. As OpenTable indicates, over 80% of open restaurants globally are now taking reservations to help manage their influx of guests.
Reservation modules allow restaurants to effectively manage incoming guests while still ensuring they are within guidelines, staffing appropriately, and preparing the right amount of food and beverages.
Reservations at their core are a simple tool that allow a guest to ensure guaranteed seating for a party at a given time, such as reserving a table for 2 at 5:00PM. They’ve evolved into sophisticated mechanisms that drive loyalty and help customers engage with restaurants, all while keeping guests safe and restaurants well-prepared.
Whether you have no reservations platform, you are using reservations to manage call-ahead or telephone reservations, or if you have a full online platform set up, it’s always good to re-evaluate the way it’s being done now to see where things can be improved.
If your restaurant currently doesn’t have a reservations platform, here are a few great reasons to consider implementing one:
- Increases your brand awareness by allowing your restaurant to show up in reservation engine searches
- Allows your restaurant to better plan by allowing insight and control over guest numbers
- Allows you to host a waitlist at your restaurant for those who decide to walk-in
- Ensures you manage capacity effectively to keep staff happy and to remain in accordance with any capacity restrictions or guidelines
- Helps you gather more data about your guests and garner reviews and feedback
If you have an existing reservations platform, ensure that it still meets your needs and is functioning as well as it can for you and your hospitality business. Consider the following questions about your reservation system to see if it’s still meeting your business needs:
- Is it integrated with my POS to help streamline the process? If not, can this be done or can I select a POS with integrated reservations?
- How user-friendly is the reservations page? There’s a chance that potential customers and reservation-makers are dropping off if the page is difficult to access or use. Make sure it’s optimized for mobile, as well.
- Should I consider adding myself to third-party reservation portals like OpenTable? This can be a great addition for a variety of reasons, should you wish to forego a built-in reservation platform.
- Am I gathering and using the customer data that I’m getting? You can learn more about your guests through reservations, understanding their purchases, favorite meals, and dietary restrictions depending on how you’ve got the module set up. Take advantage of this data and turn every guest into a repeat guest.
- Is your Reservations link readily accessible on all your social media channels? Make sure you’re adding Reserve Here and other flags so customers know that they can book in advance.
- Can customers opt-in to your marketing mail lists through reservations? Once you have their email on file, be sure to include a box that allows them to subscribe to your promotional offers and blogs. It’s a great way to encourage loyalty and drive traffic to the restaurant.
- Is your platform mobile friendly? As mentioned above, this is critical to ensuring guests can successfully make a reservation. If your current reservation system is not optimized for phones, tablets, and other mobile devices, you’ll want to find one that is.
Reservations help guests feel safe, confident, and organized while also providing restaurants with the immense benefit of planning ahead and traffic management. Implementing reservations allows you to staff appropriately, drive loyalty, and increase your visibility through more of an online presence, so talk to us today to see how our reservation system can help.