Which is Better: Restaurant Walk-Ins or Reservations?
Both walk-ins and reservations contribute to a restaurant’s revenue. However, you will soon notice (or have already seen) how your restaurant benefits more when leaning towards one or the other. In this article, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of restaurant walk-ins and reservations to help you better understand which is better in managing your restaurant.
The Advantages of Walk-ins
As a restaurant business, you should always expect walk-ins. So, if you have observed that your busiest days are Fridays and Saturdays, you should anticipate that more people will be arriving on those days. In contrast, if you know that your laziest days are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, you can make the necessary cuts.
Many restaurant business owners, especially those with lower check prices, prefer walk-in because of its flexibility. For example, if you need to reserve a table at a specific time, you may not cater to walk-ins for that table during that time. What’s worse is that you may not even be able to seat a walk-in before and after that particular time if the party that made the reservation arrives earlier or decides to extend their stay.
So, find out when those busy and lazy days are for your restaurant. You can do this through analytics. Once you have the data, you can predict the number of walk-ins you could get for each weekday or weekend and open tables for reservations if needed.
The Disadvantages of Walk-ins
What happens if you get an influx of walk-ins? Imagine that this happens when you are also dealing with multiple reservations. Your restaurant would face a great deal of traffic and could face a greater deal of stress, especially if you and your staff are not prepared for it.
When this happens, your kitchen and service staff would likely rush around to address everybody’s needs. As a result, they could commit a few errors here and there. These errors could affect the quality of your service, which also affects customer satisfaction. Remember that a negative customer experience could result in negative feedback. You do not want to lose your customers because of a few mistakes. As such, it is ideal not to rely solely on walk-ins.
The Advantages of Reservations
People would like to know beforehand how full or busy your restaurant will be during their preferred time to dine. Even you and your staff can benefit from knowing just how many guests will be eating on a particular day and time. Then, through reservations, you can make the necessary adjustments to manage and schedule restaurant operations.
Let’s say you have a large party celebrating somebody’s birthday on a particular weekend. With this knowledge, you can make the necessary shifts or arrangements with your staff. You can determine how many people will be joining the party. By this, your kitchen and service staff can know how much food you should prepare and how many people they should serve.
You can also account for your guest’s dietary requirements and other special requests through reservations. For example, if you know a team of executives will be having a business dinner, then maybe you can suggest that you set up a mini-bar for their use. Likewise, if your guests request desserts or want to customize their menu, you can do so if they make reservations ahead of time.
Finally, with reservations, you can know how many seats and tables you have available at a given period. By knowing this, you can determine how many staff you need at a time. As a result, you can prevent scheduling too many staff in a particular shift. Discover the many benefits of using a restaurant reservation system for your business here.
The Disadvantages of Reservations
There will be times when you will encounter no-shows. These people made reservations but did not show up during their reserved time slot. Because you expected many people to come, you ensured that you had enough staff to handle their needs. However, you get an overstaffed restaurant and only a few diners instead because of these no-shows.
However, there are ways to deal with this problem. If you accept reservations through phone calls, you can get as much information on your dining party as possible. If you can get names, then much better. Also, ask about their dietary restrictions, if any. Do not forget to ask if they have any other special requests. If they feel that you care about their dining experience, they are more likely to show up.
Another way to reduce no-shows is through sending reminders or notifications. For example, your restaurant can use an online restaurant reservation system. After they complete the reservation process, the system will automatically confirm their reservation through email or text. You can also send out reminders about their dining reservations. With these, you can reduce the chances of them not showing up. Moreover, because they now have the means to communicate with you, they can tell you in advance if there are changes to their dinner plans. Thus, if they plan to cancel or postpone, you can allot their table to the next guests.
On the other end of the spectrum, reservations could also lead to overbooking. This primarily occurs when you accept reservations manually through phone calls, text messaging, or email when there’s no way to update your restaurant capacity in real-time. As a result, you have received additional reservations, even if your restaurant is already booked. You can handle overbooking with a restaurant reservation system.
Find the Balance
Because each business is unique, you should find the right balance when dealing with restaurant walk-ins and reservations. Fortunately, you can now integrate a WordPress restaurant reservation system with your restaurant website. In doing so, you can easily manage your restaurant reservations and better deal with walk-ins.
See how the eaSYNC Booking restaurant reservation plugin demo can help streamline restaurant reservations and walk-ins today!