What restaurant owners need to know about reservation management systems

Reservations are nothing new. Restaurants at every level benefit from reservations systems that lead to a fluid all-round service. Thanks to restaurant technology, restaurateurs can now take reservation management to a whole new level.

The benefits of mastering reservation booking platforms are plenty and can lead to more revenue, better service, smoother operations and shifts that run like a well-oiled machine. Here’s everything restaurant owners need to understand about reservations today and how a booking system helps.

How do restaurant reservations work?

Until the late 1990s, all reservations were taken over the phone and manually recorded in a reservation log. This analog method meant restaurants had to employ dedicated reservationists to handle the incoming calls and write things down. Guests dealt with busy signals, double-booked tables and transcription errors. In spite of these issues, some restaurants still do it this way.

Most modern restaurants work with reservation software. People can easily view and book available tables online or via an app, and they don’t need to call to modify or cancel their reservation. With the best reservation software, restaurants can control the pacing from behind the scenes to ensure the front of the house and kitchen teams never get overwhelmed by too many guests being seated all at once.

Would your restaurant benefit from using a reservations booking platform?

When considering whether reservations would work for your restaurant, it’s helpful to understand the ways your business may be impacted. Here are some examples of what you can expect.

How to improve restaurant planning and scheduling?

Reservation numbers on the books can tell you a lot about how much food you should order. Over time, patterns emerge and you can make increasingly accurate predictions about the number of covers you’ll actually do based on the number on the books. This can cut down on food waste.

Reservations make employee scheduling more accurate. You’ll know how many line cooks and waiting staff you need for upcoming shifts, cutting down on the need to cut team members during slow times. The result is money saved on labour costs, not to mention happier employees as well.

Reservations make scheduling more accurate. You’ll know how many line cooks and servers you need for upcoming shifts, cutting down on the need to cut team members during slow times. The result is money saved on labor costs, not to mention happier employees, too.

How to succeed with a lean restaurant team?
With intuitive restaurant reservation software, team members can accomplish more even when fewer of them are working. With an easy-to-use system, a server needs no special training to seat tables in a pinch. A bartender can stand in for a host on the fly.

How to maximise revenue with a restaurant reservations platform?
Reservations can bolster the bottom line because they help maximise covers. They can also go a long way toward keeping a steady flow of guests coming and flowing throughout a shift. Past reservation data can reveal where turn times could be tightened so you can have more seatings over the course of a day.

Reservation systems to run smooth shifts
Reservations software allows you to be more strategic about how, when and with what server each group is seated. This level of control over the dining room means shifts can be more thoughtfully planned to run more efficiently.

How to improve restaurant service
With the right reservations software and restaurant platform, front-of-the-house staff has rich guest data at their fingertips. When you know a regular’s favourite area in the restaurant, you can intentionally seat them there without them having to ask.

When someone has mentioned previously that they’re allergic to eggs, their server can automatically fill them in on what menu items to avoid. Birthdays, anniversaries, water preferences and favourite desserts all become part of the permanent record that informs service when restaurant reservation software is implemented.

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How to improve restaurant reservation management?

Having the right restaurant technology tools in place is just the first step to managing restaurant reservations. Here are some other things to think about doing if you want to maximise the value you get from reservations.

Reduce no-shows
One possible downside to accepting reservations is the prevalence of no-shows. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon. There are many ways restaurants can help guests honour their reservations and drive down no-shows, like sending confirmations, requisition deposits and offering prepaid experiences.

Keep some tables available
A fully booked restaurant is a beautiful thing, but you may want to consider holding just a few tables back. This can keep the shift on track when a table decides to camp out way past the typical turn time. If a VIP wants a last-minute table, you’re covered. And if nothing out of the ordinary happens, you have seats for a few lucky walk-ins.

Integrate your POS
To really maximise the power of reservations, it’s smart to integrate reservation software with your POS system. Together, these two powerful pieces of restaurant technology can give you granular information about revenue and trends. You’ll learn more about guests and spot patterns. It’s an opportunity to level up your business with data-based decisions.

Hold that table

Reservations put a lot of power into a restaurant’s hands. When you leverage the power of technology with restaurant reservation platforms, it has a positive ripple effect on every aspect of your business.