The small restaurant in question is owned by Tom, a head chef of eating house with European cuisine choices on the menu. Place is located in the vibrant Australian city center and has many returning clients.
Tom Hut, Australia
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.
Mismanagement At the Reservation Stage
Despite our success, the restaurant was losing money in the reservation stage, as our team experienced reservation scheduling problems, no-shows, or a big mess in pen and paper books. Yes, the staff had been working from a paper-book log for a long time, but during busy hours, it was so uncomfortable and inefficient.
We were also unable to capture customer data. The constant lack of time didn’t allow us to rewrite the contacts into an electronic version, and in most cases, or we didn’t even write email addresses in the paper books.
Online Booking System for Small Restaurants
We started searching and comparing various 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, which could save a great deal of time and money. With customer service help, set up of all our settings took less than 15 minutes. We had only functions which are essential for our restaurants and its clients. Moreover, 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. Also, we’ve added an online widget to our 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.
Less Manual Work, Better Planning and Increased Restaurant's Occupancy
Since changing from paper books to an online reservation system, our team’s customer service and reservation management has improved. On average, about 63% of all table reservations in our restaurant are being made online.
In addition to this, we received two extremely important benefits that come automatically: constantly growing client email database, and getting reviews from the real guests.
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.
We get reservations even when the restaurant is closed.
Top Tips by Tom Hut
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 reservation link and button in all your online 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!
Owner of “Tom Hut” thinks 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 convenient for its clients. If you can’t agree more, sign up for a free Tablein trial!