Are Online Table Reservations Better than Offline?
With reservations, diners can pick a place, a table, and a time to eat. Though Online Table Reservations or Bookings are becoming the norm, not every restaurant diner will reserve a table every time they go out to eat. Customers can make restaurant reservations either online or offline.
The great thing about restaurant reservations or bookings is that they boost customer satisfaction and reduce operating costs. In addition, customer bookings allow restaurants to:
- Reduce food waste;
- Plan staff better;
- Make accurate revenue forecasts;
- Reduce customer wait times;
- Allow diners to plan special occasions;
- Accommodate larger groups of customers;
- Personalize the dining experience;
- Allow special requests;
- Reduces diners’ stress;
- Gain more customer reviews; and
- Increase sales.
Of course, depending on your dining establishment’s needs, you can allow customers to make table bookings through online or offline methods.
Why Online Restaurant Reservations are Better than Offline Ones
Though not every customer makes reservations, offering such an option is vital. As a restaurant owner, you want to cater to people who intend to reserve a table. Here are additional reasons to provide Online Table Reservations:
Greater Convenience for Customers.
You must ensure your booking process is convenient to attract more people to your restaurant. People who can easily book a table online will want to continue eating at your restaurant in the future.
So, with the ideal online table booking system, they can make a reservation at your establishment anytime! They won’t have to wait to speak to you on the phone or in person. Also, your diners will appreciate that they can enter the booking details themselves.
Allows Restaurant Staff to Optimize Their Efforts.
Of course, by offering Online Table Reservations, you can make your customers’ lives more convenient. But did you know that online bookings can optimize staffing and improve overall productivity too? Because the restaurant knows that a table is reserved, they can focus on making a diner’s experience more memorable. Additionally, many systems allow customers to order their food in advance.
As a result, restaurant staff has more time to serve customers during peak hours. With an automated system handling routine processes like reservation tracking, they can focus on more critical tasks. If your diner accepts online reservations with a booking system, it can further lighten the restaurant staff’s workload!
Online Booking Systems Minimize Human Error.
Again, a restaurant juggles many tasks, such as preparing food, cleaning the restaurant, and satisfying customers. Fortunately, automated systems are excellent at reducing errors due to human oversight.
For instance, a booking system can record a customer’s reservation details. You won’t have to worry about misspellings, overbookings, or even logging the reservation on an incorrect day. The reservation system can also notify restaurant staff of any errors and overlaps.
Allows Customers to Cancel Reservations.
If you’re offering Online Table Bookings, you can also allow customers to cancel bookings ahead of time. An estimated “20% of diners” in big cities don’t show up to their reservations. The best part is that diners can cancel without having to face (or call) the restaurant!
On the restaurant’s side, it’s great to have a heads-up that your diner won’t be appearing, and you can free the table for other bookings or walk-ins.
Records Diner Details and Preferences.
Customers who make an online reservation tend to submit booking details. This way, restaurant owners can get an idea of dining preferences. Also, by logging customer preferences, you can make a record of frequent diners. Thus, you can encourage customer loyalty with targeted special offers or rewards.
Why Offline Restaurant Reservations are Still Necessary
Again, online bookings offer your customers various benefits. But even with all the perks we covered, there are times when offline reservations can be the preferred option. Here are some examples of situations where offline bookings are better:
Some Diners Aren’t Tech-Savvy.
Most diners have turned to convenient technology to improve their dining experience. However, some diners may not be familiar with making reservations through booking systems! If the only way your diners can book a table at your restaurant is through an online system, you might turn away the customers who aren’t tech-savvy.
So, not only should your establishment accept Online Table Reservations, but Offline ones too. You can allow people to make a reservation in person or over the phone.
Offline Reservations Allow for Immediate Responses.
With offline reservations, customers can be sure they can get immediate answers to their questions. Whether they’re speaking with staff or through a phone call, diners can get directions, a look at the menu, and clarification for any questions they might have. Not only does this allow your restaurant to interact with diners, but the staff can also be more accommodating.
They Don’t Require an Online Reservation System.
Online Booking Systems for your Restaurant can make your routine tasks more efficient! However, such systems come at a price, depending on how advanced their features are. But fortunately, you don’t need a reservation system if your restaurant’s foot traffic is manageable.
They Don’t Need Internet Connectivity.
There may be diners who don’t have access to smart devices or a network to make online reservations. Without one or the other, customers can’t make reservations online. However, there’s nothing wrong with simply calling or talking to restaurant staff.
Go the Extra Mile with Online Reservations!
Consumers prize convenience, and as long as your dining establishment meets customer expectations, you can be sure you’ll have a steady stream of diners. One way to make your customers’ lives easier is by giving them the option to reserve a table at your restaurant.
Not only can you help out your customers, but reservations allow your staff to focus on the tables occupied, especially by customers who made reservations.
Though customers often want to make online reservations, there’s still merit to allowing offline reservations. Some people aren’t entirely used to the idea of making a booking online.
But to better manage your table bookings, consider utilizing an Online Reservation System. A WordPress Restaurant Reservation Plugin is an excellent example of such a tool.