December 2, 2020  

Thinking about buying reservation software and don’t know where to start? 

Any big purchasing decision requires some research. People don’t just buy a car, or a house without doing some thorough research on all their options and a restaurant booking system is no different.

This is an important aspect of your business and choosing the right one will have a major effect on customer engagement and growth. 

The beauty of a reservation app is that it simplifies the whole process for your business, whether it be a café or a restaurant. Booking apps can help limit the amount 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.

We also live in a world where people prefer less human interaction, they’d rather send a text than call for instance. That’s another reason why having a reservation booking system is important, 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.

Many restaurant booking apps provide little in the way of features and options for the business - it’s not just about what works for the customer, but also what works best for your business. It’s imperative to include multiple features like WOWAPPS, which integrates with platforms such as Google booking, analytics, vouchers, customer loyalty programs and table ordering options. While these are some of the options you would want when choosing your online ordering system, there are key factors which must be addressed when choosing the right app.

1 - Personalisation and Ease of Use:

This comes under the banner of collecting data from customers after a purchase. The goal here is to retain information, specifically to offer a personalised dining and ordering experience for each customer - this familiarity will be something they can enjoy and provide ease of use with navigating the app. 

Ease of use is important for customers, so you might want to test what ordering through the app, or software is like. The interface should be user-friendly and make viewing the booking information simple to find. 

2 - Website Integration:

You want a booking app which will integrate seamlessly with your website. It must not only complement but also provide all the features you require, which can be imported across onto this platform. Think widgets which share similarities with those on your website and link to your business’s external apps, such as Instagram or Facebook.

3 - Costs:

Of course, it’s important to weigh up the price of each app, but it’s not just about which one is cheaper. There is no point in going for the cheaper option if it doesn’t provide all the necessary tools and features you’ll need. This could lead to missing out on more potential customers as a result and ultimately, you’re no better off.

A more expensive app could prove to be the key to real customer gains. There’s also the issue of commitment as some restaurant booking apps require you to sign up for a certain period, so choose wisely. 

4 - Emails:

Another feature you want your chosen booking system to have is email automation. This takes the pressure off having to organise your bookings and respond with confirmation. Email automation can also include sending discount offers and birthday wishes to users who have provided those details.

5 - Analytics:

As briefly touched upon earlier, it’s important for your app to provide you with analytical information. There is an abundance of benefits for having information such as performance, income, most purchased foods and least purchased foods - you can also see the demographic of people ordering from you.

All this information can help drive future efforts, including removing things from the menu and boosting advertising to those demographics.

5 - Calendar:

An absolute must have for any booking software or app, scheduling is immeasurably important. The calendar gives customers a clear indication of what times and when are available, as well as preventing overbooking. 

7 - Pre-Order:

Something else to consider when looking for a solid ordering system is one which gives customers the option to pre-order their meals. This means customers can complete their order on the way to the restaurant, saving them from sitting around waiting for their food. 

8 - Images:

Just like your website, Instagram and any other platform you are using to reach customers, a booking app which provides the option to add images is another plus. Mouth-watering images will entice customers and are more visually appealing than a blank menu. 

9 - The Bottom Line:

Now you have a better idea of what to look for with your booking app, the research phase should be a piece of cake. Remember it’s not about the cheapest, because the old adage of ‘you get what you pay for’ usually turns out to be true.