The small restaurant in question is owned by Tom, a chef of European cuisine. Tom’s restaurant is located in the vibrant city center and has many returning clients.
Despite its success, the restaurant was losing money in the reservation stage, as its team experienced reservation scheduling problems, no-shows, or a big mess in their pen and paper books. Yes, the team had been working from a paper-book log for a long time, but during busy hours, it was so uncomfortable and inefficient.
“Each week, we had over 80 phone calls and e-mails with booking requests. It was joyful until we understood that we lost many reservations when we were busy answering or when the restaurant was closed. We were closed on Mondays, and nobody could take phone bookings, so clients were emailing us on these days, increasing our manual labor even more. Also, we had a big mess on paper, especially when clients changed booking dates several times or when contact details were taken in a hurry “
Tom and his team were also unable to capture customer data. The staff lacked the time to rewrite contacts into an electronic version, and in most cases, they didn’t even write email addresses in their paper books.
“When we had only phone bookings, very few clients left us their emails or asked to be informed about news. Facebook was also not a solution, as posts were not seen by all who “liked” them. We were not using any email marketing apps and we had a very small client database.”
Tom, though a very good chef, wasn’t savvy about computer technology, so he was faced with another big problem: All online reservation systems were complicated and burdened with too many features. So, he needed a simple and easy to use booking system.
Tom began to searching and comparing online reservation systems. Most solutions were too expensive, difficult to learn and use, or overloaded with unnecessary functions. Many of them required the hiring of a host to manage reservations.
“After some research, finally, we found Tablein – a simple, practical online booking system for us, which could save a great deal of time and money. With customer service help, we set up all our settings in less than 15 minutes. We had only functions which are essential for our clients and us. It saved us 1,800 Euros a year, just for a subscription. The team and I quickly comprehended the system functions, so we didn’t need additional training.”
Tom added an online widget to his restaurant website and Facebook, started to promote online reservations, and asked people to book online in every single message – be it on Facebook, via their newsletter, or even by phone.
Since changing from paper books to an online reservation system, Tom and his team’s customer service and reservation management has improved. Now he gets 63% (on average) online bookings. In addition to this, Tom even receives two extremely important benefits when clients book online: He grows his client email database, and gains reviews from his clients. All of this is done automatically.
“We have many more reservations and a better structure in managing our service. Everyone on our team can access Tablein, so now we are much smarter in our staffing levels, as well as planning ahead. We can count in advance how many people will visit our restaurant, and then decide how much food and staff we will need. Also, we get reservations even when the restaurant is closed.”
So, Tom agrees that a manual system is not efficient enough for a modern and contemporary restaurant – especially not one which is prepared to save time and money, and of course, be comfortable for its clients.
Tips for Beginning to Use an Online Reservation System:
– Sign up for an account or try a free account.
– Configure your tables. Create and set up your dining rooms or restaurants areas.
– Integrate the widget on your website.
– Add a link and button in all your channels; Facebook, email, newsletters, or external portals.
– Add a clear booking policy on your website; how long you keep bookings, the dress code, length of stay, etc.
– Add a CTA (Call-to-Action) in every message you deliver to your clients, so they book online. Just remind them and they will get used to it.
– Input future bookings from your pen and paper diary.
– Implement advanced training to ensure staff and management knows how the system works.
– Enjoy using the online reservation system Tablein!