You’re in the restaurant trade, so your business lives or dies on the amount of bookings you get.
But how do you boost your bookings? How do you get more customers through your door, sitting at your tables and paying for your food?
Well, in the digital age you need look no further than the online booking app. Gone are the days when customers had to rely on the phone to make a booking with you. Now they can do it all through their computer or smartphone.
Which is great news for you, as it makes booking infinitely easier. A few clicks and a bit of typing and, hey presto, booking made and confirmation emails sent.
But online booking apps offer a host of other benefits to you, some you may not even have thought of. Here’s our top four:
Keep in contact with your customers
When people book online they supply you with something very valuable – their email address. This allows you to build a database of people who have eaten in your restaurant and – if you’re good at what you do – like your food. This is incredibly powerful, as it allows you to send out marketing emails to all your existing customers. This could be to promote a special offer, publicise a new menu, announce a chef appointment, or wish them season’s greetings. The possibilities are endless and each time you send an email you remind your customers of your brand and your food.
Make money even when you’re shut
Even with lights out and blinds drawn, you can still be making money – as an online booking app is operational 24/7. So, while you relax or sleep, your digital booking partner is pulling in the customers and setting you up for a busy service.
Get on with what you’re good at
If you take a lot of phone bookings, then you know how time-consuming it can be – not only must you have a conversation, but you then have to record the booking. An online booking system cuts out the need for the telephone and records everything automatically, leaving you free to get on with something more useful.
Cut back on empty tables
There’s nothing worse for a restaurateur than an empty table, particularly when it’s the result of a no-show. Online systems help with this problem as they make cancellations easy – it can all be done with a few clicks – rather than picking up the phone and calling, which so many people either can’t be bothered, or simply forget, to do. You then receive instant confirmation of the cancellation, allowing you to take on a new booking.
The advantages of online booking are obvious. But, you must be careful – as not all booking systems are the same. So, what sort of features should you be looking out for?
This is what a good, efficient and versatile online booking system should be able to do for you:
Be quick and easy to install on your website
Integrate with online payment systems such as Paypal, Stripe and Paysera. This boosts your cash flow as you can take deposits online and receive payment in advance for special dinners and events. Some systems can even take deposits from groups, with each individual able to pay their own share directly.
Allow you to create templates for specific times and dates. This can help your kitchen by stopping diners from all arriving at once, or allow you to set separate sittings for a service, e.g. at 6pm and 9pm.
Integrate with TripAdvisor, so you can boost your rating by encouraging customers to leave reviews. It’s also useful if this can be done selectively, for example by automatically sending an email to customers who have sent you a five-star rating via your own feedback system.
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to use an online booking system, with the overall advantage of encouraging more people to use your restaurant.
To allow you to test these benefits, we’d like you to try our own booking system – Tablein – free for 14 days. There’s no cost, no catch and no obligation – just fill in the simple form below to get started.
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