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How to Schedule and Manage Restaurant Reservations

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By Tim Scott

June 10, 2021

There are limitless options when it comes to scheduling and managing restaurant reservations, ultimately technology is the way to go, especially in a post-COVID world.

It is important to have specific guidelines set with your reservation process to prevent double booking and limit cancellations by swiftly fitting in new bookings. 

You can make your restaurant run much more smoothly with reservation software and this also includes staff management. The purpose here is to work out how many wait staff you’ll need each evening, which times will be peak hours and provide the kitchen staff ample time to prepare and handle the load.

Reservation software also eases the load on staff answering phone calls, as customers can order online instead. The software will organise the booking for you, removing human error and the risk of overbooking; when a customer cancels a booking, the reservation system will automatically know to allocate that time to another customer.

Reserved sign on restaurant table with bar background

How to Manage Reservations in a Restaurant

When it comes to managing restaurant reservations, reservation software is your best friend. The beauty of reservation software is that it simplifies the whole process for your business, whether it be a café or a restaurant.

The software can help limit the number of ‘no-shows’ by providing an easy cancellation method where another customer can slot right into that spot. It’s also a massive time-saver as staff aren’t busy on the phone organising bookings and/or cancellations, freeing them up to take care of other needs in the restaurant.

We live in a world where people prefer less human interaction, they would rather send a text than make a call for instance. Another reason why having a reservation booking system is important, is it removes the human element which deters some people. Of course, the option is still there for those who like the old-school method of picking up the phone.

Making reservations online provides an ease of use for customers which improves their experience and overall opinion of the restaurant.  Further to this, returning customers can save their information to include any allergies, dietary requirements, favourite dishes and repeat orders.

Consider also implementing an online waiting list, which will automatically alert waiting customers if their booking becomes available.

Now, let’s look at Google Reservations and how it is another way your restaurant can schedule and manage its bookings: 

Reserve with Google is a feature which allows customers to book restaurants and other nearby businesses directly through Google Search and Google Maps. The Reserve with Google button appears directly under the business name as a ‘Book Now’ button.

RWG removes the additional need for further advertising via Google to receive these reservations, which is how it has typically been done previously.

Reserve with Google is great as it provides customers with an option of dates and times to book and will automatically suggest alternative dates when another slot is full. It can also help limit the number of ‘no-shows’ through its easy cancellation method, allowing a quick response time for other customers to fill cancelled bookings.

For a business which has not signed up for reservation software, or a Reserve with Google partner, they still have options.

Google provides the ability for users to edit links with their Google My Business listing at any time. Keep in mind that the link has to be tied to a specific purpose, for example: clicking on it will directly open ‘book a table option’ or the menu.

Your Google listing allows the ability to have multiple URLs on your profile, just make sure they’re labelled correctly and link directly to what they’re supposed to.

How to Organise Restaurant Reservations by Streamlining the Process

Most customers know the best time to make dinner reservations and this can vary depending on the event the reservation is for.

Usually, it’s a week or so in advance but it can also be as little as an hour before the reservation. It’s up to you if you want your reservation software to have a cut-off period, where customers must book at least a day in advance.

Your bookings need to also take capacity into consideration, which affects the number of customers and how servers can navigate around the room. Reservations apps can calculate this when it comes to organising your bookings; which is why it’s important to know the average number of seats in your restaurant.

If there is not enough space to move around, customers will feel crammed in. You also don’t want to keep the space so large that customers are too intimidated to come in.

Another thing to keep in mind is how much time it takes to prepare food. This will help in working out how long a customer will spend in the restaurant, coupled with the amount of time it will take them to eat their meal.

You can look at the portions of your food to determine roughly the time it would take for customers to get through their meals. Consider practising preparing meals and work out how long people will be seated and eating. 

Young African cafe owner taking reservations over the phone

As you can see, technology is ultimately the way to go when it comes to reservation scheduling and management. The old-school method of a phone and writing the reservation down in a book worked because it had to, but now the process has been made much simpler.

Taking full of advantage of reservation software greatly benefits your business, allowing you to build on your customer base and not miss out when a booking is cancelled.

Did You Know?

WOWAPPS Offers Commission-free bookings directly from Google?

About WOWAPPS

WOWAPPS is an all-Australian tech company, dedicated to anticipating the ever-evolving needs of restaurants and their diners. We are committed to helping Australian Restaurants reap the rewards of additional revenue and brand advocacy, providing seamless customer experiences that are more delightful and convenient.

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