The concept of making table reservations has come a long way from the days of waiting for your favorite establishment to open before calling to book a table. And even then, what were the chances that you could actually get someone on the line who knew how to make the booking? Yes, we’ve come a long way from the seemingly dated telephone reservations process.
Every business sector goes through cycles of innovation, adoption and maturation, often followed by disruption. Without these typical cycles of change, positive guest experiences may decline and a restaurant’s bottom line can suffer. Fortunately, the restaurant reservations landscape is quickly evolving and that’s a good thing for both owners and diners. What’s at the heart of this game-changing shift? In one word: Technology.
These days, restaurant operators have an easier time staying in contact with diners and simultaneously managing the daily operations. Email communication is already commonplace while two-way text messaging and instant messaging (i.e. WhatsApp, WeChat) are gaining popularity because of their more immediate, conversational nature. These new communication channels found in modern reservations systems help foster guest relations whether selling tables online in real-time, managing bookings or auto-confirming with guests. Perhaps more importantly, restaurant owners can bypass those costlier reservation platforms with excruciating fees in exchange for systems that offer more than just bookings, such as guest profile management tools and real-time alerts once a guest’s table is ready.
Some technology may even help limit revenue losses due to no-shows. Such reservation systems collect credit card data to secure a reservation, particularly useful in cases where demand is high, but space is limited – or at establishments with upcoming special events and prix-fixe menus. In the case of a no-show, the guest’s card can be charged automatically.
The restaurant reservations game is changing, and owners stand a greater chance of increasing guest recruitment with better technology.