Technology is quickly taking over reservation systems. Sadly, many restaurants are still reliant on manual methods for taking and tracking reservations. Pen, desk calendar, and a phone at the hostess stand has long been a staple for taking table reservations. However, this outdated process is way overdue for an overhaul, and following the trend to digitize the reservation process will be rewarding when all is said and done. This is why restaurant reservation software programs can be so helpful.
The Digital World of Restaurant Reservation Software Programs
It’s the getting there that is the problem for most. 32% of restaurateurs are lagging behind in terms of technology integration. Almost 75% of diners stating that restaurant reservation software programs a necessity to improve their dining experience. It’s time to take a closer look at restaurant reservation software programs.
The numbers are there to back it up. Recent polls show some striking data points:
- 47% of restaurant customers see online reservations is an easier process
- 44% saying that they are more likely to make reservations with an online system than a phone system.
- 34% are more likely to dine in a restaurant with an online reservation system than one without.
While only 25% of respondents presently make online reservations with regularity, this is expected to rapidly grow as next-gen reservation program options make inroads. This presents you with the opportunity to identify the appropriate selection for your restaurant, and in doing so step ahead of those that have not dived into the latest reservation software trends.
To Be or Not to Be…in the Cloud
The first step in upgrading your restaurant’s reservation process is to determine whether or not to move this to an internet presence. While both options present benefits unique to each respective platform, it is important to consider customer convenience and costs when making this decision.
Keeping your reservation software in-house may be easier for staff to learn and to use, and is readily accessible right at the terminal. This does, though, slow down the customer experience, and you will need to determine where the data from your reservation calendar is going to be stored. On-site storage is both a business and security risk, whether from equipment theft or losing your reservations due to a system crash.
The benefits of moving to an online reservation solution are plentiful. Data is securely stored in the cloud. Customers are now able to make reservations via a website, and in some cases, a mobile app, quickly and the convenience of 24/7/365 accessibility. Limiting staff requirements in making reservations frees them to focus on the customers in the seats, while your cloud-based reservation solution takes care of the rest.
Online restaurant reservation solutions can also provide customers with menu information and reviews, some even allowing reviews and comments to be posted directly to your social media platforms. When this is combined with a modern POS solution, you gain an additional outlet for enhanced customer engagement through targeted specials and promotions on commonly purchased menu and drink items. This provides you with the ability to create a personalized dining experience, based on data acquired during the reservation process and seen in prior transactions.
Do Restaurant Reservation Software Programs Improve the Customer Experience?
Instead of thinking of reservations as a customer service offering, start to view them as part of your guest management philosophy. When your reservation software brings with it an online presence, you are able to develop a customer lifecycle strategy on a wider scale. This takes guest relations to a new level beyond the simple sit, dine, and pay flow through your restaurant.
Online reservation management solutions handle the planning and seating phases of the customer restaurant experience, especially if you allow diners to reserve specific tables or to request their favorite server. In addressing these early stages of their interaction with your establishment, your branding voice gets a decisive boost. This boost is further elevated when your reservation solution can be integrated into your web and social media presence, driving more traffic to your website and encouraging interaction on multiple fronts.
It is important to note that the restaurant reservation solution you select must seamlessly blend into your web presence and the dining atmosphere you present. Typically this is done via web widgets which work to take your marketing strategy to the next level. This makes it imperative that your reservation software be easy to use, possess a clean UI, and be technically advanced.
What Fees or Commitments Are Involved With the Reservation Solution?
One item you need to pay particular attention to when choosing reservation software is the catches. Lack of transparency around fees, locked-in contracts, or support SLAs might be a red flag. You will need to look at the fine details of any agreements before committing to a product. It should be explained in detail about what rights you have to switch to another product, who is responsible for data and product maintenance, and what fees can be expected and under what situations.
Restaurant Reservation Software Programs Expertise
Understanding what it is you are signing up for can be a daunting task on the to-do list for a busy restaurant owner. Knowing how and if the software you are considering can integrate into your web presence, social media platforms, and POS solution takes a high level of technical knowledge. You want the best solution, but your time is valuable. This makes it a requirement to engage the services of an experienced POS implementer.
When you reach out to talech, you gain more than a POS solution provider. We take the time to learn your business inside and out so that the solution we recommend and implement for you represents exactly where you are and where you want to be down the road. You will feel confident in your efficiency and will enjoy your increased profit margins. Reach out to us today to sign up for a free demo and find out how we can revolutionize your business.