5 Ways to Efficiently Manage Restaurant Reservations
Managing reservations at your restaurant can be challenging. It does not matter whether you have been at it for years or are new to the industry. For one, you must strike a balance between handling restaurant reservations and walk-ins. As such, you must take the necessary steps to improve how you manage restaurant reservations.
5 Ways to Manage Restaurant Reservations Efficiently
ONE: Organize Reservations
Having a proper restaurant reservation system in place is the most crucial step toward gaining control over your reservations. Take note that there is no perfect solution in managing reservations. As the owner or manager, you have to determine which strategy works best for your restaurant’s overall operations.
You may use the more traditional pen and paper methods or have spreadsheets to manage your reservations better. However, we believe it is best to use an online restaurant reservation system to handle reservations for you. In doing so, you can better manage your reservation and avoid overbooking or double-booking.
Another way to organize your reservations is to assign a particular staff to manage them during a shift. Double bookings often occur because restaurant managers allow anyone to handle reservations. With a reservation system, you can provide specific access to certain employees during a particular shift.
TWO: Streamline Reservations
Next, you need to streamline your reservations. A great way to achieve this is to determine your restaurant’s average dining time per table. Of course, you also have to know how many tables you have in total in your establishment. Knowing these will help you identify how far apart your tables should be for your bookings.
Furthermore, you need to set clear policies for large parties. For instance, many restaurants do not accept reservations for parties that exceed ten people, especially during peak hours. In doing so, you can prevent cramming your dining room. So, the best way is to schedule their reservation during your off-peak hours.
Thus, it is vital to know specific key points about your restaurant. Such key points include your restaurant’s peak and off-peak hours. You should also know the difference between your reservations and walk-ins.
THREE: Reduce No-Shows
The third way to improve how you manage restaurant reservations is to reduce no-shows. These people made reservations but did not show up during their reserved time slot. You can reduce no-shows by sending notifications reminding them of their reservations. You can do this through email, text, or call. However, it is best to use an online restaurant reservation system with a built-in email capability that automatically sends booking confirmations and reminders to guests about their reservations.
You can also reduce no-shows by imposing a booking deposit for every reservation. Clearly state in your no-show policy that you will be charging the booking deposit as they make reservations. Also state that you will deduct said deposit from their total bill upon dine-in. As such, booking deposits will help ensure that only those sure to show up will make a reservation. Otherwise, they lose their deposit. In addition, booking deposits protect your business from possible loss of revenue because of empty tables.
Lastly, you can offer incentives. If you give your customers freebies or discounts, you can encourage them to come on time. You can provide complimentary drinks, appetizers, and the like. You can even ask them to share it on their social media, significantly increasing brand awareness and expanding your market.
FOUR: Guarantee Customer Satisfaction
After that, you have to guarantee customer satisfaction. How do you do this? You can use a waitlist to let your customers make reservations while they are on the way to your restaurant. Again, you can use an online restaurant reservation system to manage your waitlist. Your customers can determine your availability, including your menu and unique offerings for that particular day. As such, your customers will know that they no longer need to wait in line. Their table will be ready once they reach your establishment.
Now, you should also keep some of your tables free, especially for your walk-in customers. By keeping some of your tables free, you can entertain walk-in customers even if it is during your peak hours. You can use your online restaurant reservation system data to determine your busiest time slots. In doing so, you can identify how many tables you can leave available for respective periods.
Another way to ensure customer satisfaction is to implement reservation slotting. For this, you need guests willing to shift their reservation to an earlier or later time. Reservation slotting allows you to spread demand and increase the number of shifts you operate at full capacity. With reservation slotting, you can reduce wasted space and accommodate more guests.
FIVE: Use Automation Technology
As mentioned above, one great way to improve how you manage restaurant reservations is through an online restaurant reservation system. With a WordPress restaurant reservation plugin installed on your booking website, you let customers make reservations at their convenience. It also allows your staff to focus on other tasks instead of managing bookings. Thus, you help streamline your reservation process and improve staff productivity with a booking system.
You can also use a table management system to help better balance out how you handle walk-ins and reservations. These systems provide shift outlines and table clocks that restaurants can utilize in streamlining their table turnover.
Finally, you can integrate your POS system. Doing so will help you get real time spend data regarding your guests that dine at your establishment. With this information, you can calculate the revenue share of walk-ins and reservations. Knowing their respective revenue shares will help you decide whether you should cater to more walk-ins or reservations moving forward.