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Taking a deposit for a reservation means that, as a guarantee, the customer will show up – or that the fee will cover the costs of last-minute cancellation. However, not all restaurants require an advance deposit, because they are usually afraid to annoy or frighten off customers. You can manage payments easily by setting up a deposit with TableIn, but before doing so, we suggest you to weigh the pros and cons of asking your clients for deposit.

The Pros:

Reducing No-Shows. No-shows are an age-old problem for every restaurant. Some restaurants handle this problem quite easily, while others suffer losses. Many customers don’t realize how harmful a no-show could be, especially for small restaurants that only have a few tables. Asking for a deposit can reduce your no-show rate. The prospect of losing money focuses clients on making sure they turn up, or will at least encourage them to think twice before canceling the booking.

A Secure Way of Protecting Restaurant Revenue.

Some restaurants store customer card details, even if they don’t show up. However, the practice shows there is no way of knowing if these numbers will still be available on the reservation day. Also, many restaurants use these numbers just to threaten customers, but fail to charge no-shows, because they are afraid to annoy them. Clients who receive a surprise fee can turn hostile, leave bad reviews, or share their experience, which means losing out on multiple potential sales. Asking for a deposit is a much more secure payment method, as you receive the deposit directly into the restaurant’s account with the customer’s consent.

Charge Group Bookings. A no-show of large groups could be damaging for any restaurant. For example, if the restaurant gets a reservation for a 15-20-person party, they have to prepare for it – scheduling an appropriate amount of staff in the kitchen, paying for chefs, buying more food, and so on. Commonly, it is impossible to seat all the tables if you get a cancelation one or two hours before. Asking for a deposit upfront means greater security for your restaurant, ensuring the large group is more likely to show up, or at least covering a portion of your losses should they not.

Using Deposits for Special Events. The number of reservations increases greatly during special events, busy nights, or parties. Also, during these occasions, customers tend to spend more, so every no-show can be a great loss. It is necessary to ask for a deposit, because more customers are appealing to the same table.

It’s Simple to Take Reservations with Tablein. When you need to ask for a deposit, it is additional work for the team during a busy time, because they have to write a money receipt, while also refilling information for the right date and customer. However, it is a simple and easy process using online reservation systems such as Tablein. Clients do not have to come into the restaurant early, because they can pay instantly via the Internet from home. When reserving the table, all payments are directed to restaurant’s bank account. If a client does not pay a deposit within 24 hours, the reservation is canceled automatically.

The Cons:

Reducing the Number of Customers. Deposit fees may drive away some customers, as they don‘t want to pay in advance, or are not sure about their reservation and may choose another restaurant which doesn’t ask for a deposit. However, these clients tend to be no-shows.

More Walk-Ins Than Reservations. If the restaurant is in a special location, they may have more walk-ins and can easily refill their seats with customers from the street. Because of this, requiring a deposit is likely to lead to NO reservations.

The Restaurant Does Not Have a Strong Policy. If a restaurant has fees, they should always be upfront about the policies and procedures surrounding any charges; for example, how many days of cancellation deposit will be refundable. There is always a risk that someone has good excuses, even if you were the victim, so it is important to prepare for all these events.

There is no right or wrong answer. Although we found more pros for requesting a deposit, it all depends on the type of restaurant you own, the size of the dining room, the restaurant’s location, and sometimes the customers’ culture. One thing is clear: Taking a deposit via an online reservation system is comfortable for clients and saves the team some work.

At Tablein, we always listen to our clients. And that’s why – when some of our free trial customers asked about a Tablein app – we considered it.

But after doing some research, and consulting our long-standing clients, we decided against an app and instead will continue with our web-based system.

Why?

Because, although apps are everywhere at present, they don’t always work as well as a web-based tool. And this is definitely true in the restaurant booking sector.

Here’s why a web-based booking system beats an app:

Automatic updates 

Any digital tool needs updates. But with an app that means you’re always being pestered to download the latest version – and you must have space on your device to store it. Also, you have different updates for iOS, Windows and Android devices.

With a web-based system like Tablein, updates happen without you even knowing about it. You don’t have to click buttons and wait for the latest version – all the updating happens behind the scenes– so you don’t have to do a thing. And because the tool isn’t actually installed on your machine, you don’t have to worry about space.

Access anywhere, from any device

You must download an app to any device you want to use it on. Which is fine until you lose, or break, the device that’s storing the app – or simply run out of battery. That could spell trouble.

But with a web-based system, all you need is an internet connection – so you can access it easily and quickly from any device or computer.

Greater functionality

Tablets and mobile phones are smaller and don’t offer the same screen resolution as a computer, making it complicated to use multi-featured tools such as Tablein. In fact, the optimum resolution starts from 1370px and the system works best on the Google Chrome browser. As most eateries have a computer onsite – with a nice wide screen that makes it easy to accept and manage bookings – this is by far the best option for your reservation management.

It’s also quick and simple to see the newest reservations on a computer screen, rather than all the pinging and tapping involved with an app.

Conclusion

Let’s be clear, you can access Tablein from a tablet or phone – and any other device with an internet connection.  But for maximum flexibility and functionality, a desktop computer or laptop is best, just as it is for many business management systems across lots of sectors.

So, this is why you’re not going to see a Tablein app any time soon – it’s just not right for our business model, or our customers!

See for yourself just how well our web-based system works – sign up for our 14-day free trial. Just fill in the simple form below to give us a try.

 

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