Why Are Reservations Getting So Popular?
Why Restaurants Love Reservations
As restaurants gladly reopened service floors this summer, they had to find safe ways to offer dine-in. Nobody wanted to jump the gun and have to shut down for another COVID-19 outbreak. Often, reopening doesn’t happen all at once: Capacity restrictions remain in place and even when they don’t, some restaurants choose to follow CDC recommendations. To capitalize on all their tables every day, many businesses turned to reservations.
A lot of small businesses are still struggling financially from the pandemic. Meanwhile, restaurants are also contending with a labor shortage. Thus they would benefit from booking as many tables as possible each night, which also informs the schedule. Relying on walk-ins is neither as profitable nor feasible as planning out the day through reservations.
Customers Get on Board Too
Reservations are convenient for everyone; guests also want to organize their day. If they can guarantee a spot for dinner with no wait, it helps them plan their night better. It’s always unpleasant when you show up to your favorite restaurant and the estimated wait time is an hour and a half.
Lots of reservation systems focus on good customer communication. It improves the overall guest experience. For example, notify them when their table is ready via SMS message or send out email reminders about their appointment the day before. You can also go above and beyond by incorporating customer profiles and leaving profile notes about their favorite wine or when they came in for an anniversary. Then, maybe you have a bottle waiting next year. You can use the reservation system in interesting ways to make a memorable experience.
For all these reasons, the restaurant reservation industry is on the rise. In fact, it’s become so prevalent that customers can sometimes have a hard time getting a table at all. When things finally settle, restaurants that never took call-aheads before could very likely keep their booking systems in place even when accepting more walk-in guests.
Reservations the Right Way
When you take bookings, there’s always the chance that customers will cancel at the last minute. Worse, what if they never show at all? That’s money you could be making on other reservations or walk-ins. Protect yourself by charging for late cancellations, so you don’t completely lose out on the table. Especially now, while restaurants try to recover from the pandemic and labor shortage, it’s important to improve the bottom line where you can.
As we look toward the busy autumn season and potential COVID-19 variants, reservations will remain popular. They’re an opportunity to keep customers safe with capacity restrictions, limited queues and streamlined service. Create a smoother workflow when you get a reservation system that you can rely on.
Answers, advice and everything about the restaurant business.