In today’s restaurant landscape, choosing a good reservation system is vital to success. Using an online restaurant reservation system gives potential diners the freedom to make a booking whenever they like, no matter where they are, and without the need to call the restaurant. For the restaurant owner, restaurant reservations systems relieve your staff of the burden of taking reservations over the phone. The online reservation system allows diners to secure a table and lets your staff take care of other business, improving your day to day operations. Table management, a customized floor map, customer service, and waitlist features help you manage capacity, while SMS notifications, emails, and push notifications help you stay in touch with your customers and reduce no shows. Reporting and analytics features can help you increase efficiency by providing access to historical data and revealing patterns.As a restaurant owner, there are a variety of options to choose from when considering a reservation system, but for the best possible customer experience, your restaurant must have an online platform that works for you. The ability to integrate saved customer information such as birthdays, anniversaries, and contact information into a loyalty or rewards program means you can reach out with information regarding any upcoming specials, discounts, and other incentives. You can also create a memorable experience for your regular customers, increasing their satisfaction and loyalty to your restaurant. If you’re looking for the top table management systems, here are a few of the most popular ones for your review.
1. Open Table. This reservation software package allows you to effectively manage reservations, automate reminders, optimize turn times, and designate table categories such as bar, patio, etc., allowing customers to choose where they want to sit. Guests can see real-time seating availability and book a table from your website. Open Table saves useful details such as guest history and customized notes to help your team deliver personalized customer service your guests will appreciate and remember. OpenTable also offers integrations and access to other diners via its diner network to help you fill more seats. Price: Connect Plan has no monthly fee or long-term commitment. You’ll pay $2.50 per seated diner who books via OpenTable or a partner site, and $0.25 per seated cover for reservations booked via the restaurant’s website, email marketing, and Facebook. Guest Center Plan offers the same features as Connect Plan plus custom table management, custom floor plan, shift planning, management, reporting and analytics, and point of sale integration for a cost of $249 per month plus $1 per seated online cover.2. Eat App. This user-friendly cloud-based restaurant reservation system can be accessed using a mobile phone, tablet, or computer. There’s no expensive software to install, and it includes table management, guest database, and customer relationship management (CRM) features that help improve revenue. A website widget shows real-time seating availability so guests can book from your website or social media profiles including TripAdvisor. A credit card hold feature helps reduce no shows, and point of sale integration allows for expanded marketing capabilities. Price: $119 per month for table management, $209 per month for table management plus POS integration.3. Resy. This full-featured system includes a customizable floor plan, two-way text capabilities with customers, shareable guest notes and preferences option, table management, waitlist, mobile booking, and point of sale integration. Guests can share birthday information and indicate any food restrictions and/ or allergies through an app, so you don’t have to ask. Price: $189 per month with POS integration, the Platform tier offers unlimited users, devices, and covers. For $399 per month the Platform 360 tier offers extra branding and hospitality features including customizable guest messaging, and data/ analytics package. At $899 per month, the Full Stack features high volume network configuration and API access.4. Yelp. This restaurant reservation system offers viewers accurate wait times, allows you to assign servers, and lets guests check seating availability and book a reservation on your Yelp business page with just a tap or two. Previous comments and Yelp customer reviews inform potential guests what they can expect. An available booking widget allows you to accept reservations from your restaurant website. Two-way messaging, table management, and waitlist management capabilities round out the package. Price: For a flat rate of $249 per month you’ll get an iPad along with your package. What you won’t get are cover fees, setup fees, and web access fees.5. Dine Time. This system offers reservation management, waitlist management, and off-premise dining management. Electronic Reservation Book (ERB) with intuitive interface manages all your mobile, desktop, and call-in reservations from one central location. Page guests via text messaging. The "Availability" feature avoids overbooking. Customer database tracks personal information including birthdays/ anniversaries, favorite dishes, and contact information for integration with loyalty programs and special promotions. Price: Four rate plans are Pro, Premium, Elite, and Server. Charges flat monthly rate with no cover fees.When deciding on which restaurant reservation system is best for you, its important to consider both the features and the cost. A system that is intuitive and user friendly is one that will make your customers happy. A system that is cost-effective as well as popular with your customers will make your life easier and your restaurant more profitable. At Gilkey Restaurant Consulting, we offer our clients the professional restaurant management services that will help improve your day to day operations and ensure your business remains profitable. Contact us today and learn how our consultants can help you implement the best industry practices and techniques to be successful and cost-effective in your restaurant business.