It can be stressful to run a restaurant. Staying on top of everything while managing workers, developing menus and maintaining the overall client experience is difficult. Managing phone reservations is yet another activity that takes a lot of time. It can become too much to constantly answer phones, record data and keep track of reservations, especially during busy times.
Inefficient and time-consuming
Calling a restaurant to make a reservation typically takes three to five minutes, but at peak times it can take even longer. Customers are frequently placed on hold while the restaurant staff is preoccupied with other activities, which can be frustrating for both parties.
However, there are other issues besides calls made at busiest service times. What happens if you answer the call on your phone after business hours without having the reservation book nearby? You’d need to make a second phone call to whoever has the diary in order to receive the correct information, or remember to write it down once you are at the restaurant… risking errors, misunderstandings, and double bookings!
Even if YOU are handling phone reservations well, can you say the same for your staff members? Finding waiting staff these days is challenging enough; even more so, finding ones who can communicate effectively. Even if language is not an issue, the younger generation is tragically losing the art of proper phone etiquette. Many millennials find it difficult to answer a traditional phone call, much less engage in conversation, as their main forms of communication are texting and social media.
Restaurants must overcome staffing issues to ensure that they connect with patrons whenever a reservation is made. Does that mean they have to hire someone capable to answer their phone 24 hours a day? Certainly not! Here is where there has to be a push for online reservations.
This change in the way patrons reach out to restaurants has already begun, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. Nowadays, many customers, especially millennials, prefer to make reservations for restaurants online, including through Facebook and Instagram.
Make it simpler for customers to take action online
Convinced but finding it difficult to switch? Here are some pointers on how to quit managing phone reservations and facilitate online bookings for your clients:
Invest in an online reservation system
Time can be saved and booking errors while accepting reservations over the phone can be reduced by using an online restaurant reservation system. Customers are able to make a reservation at any time, they don’t need to wait for the restaurant to be open in order to make a reservation.
Allow direct reservations from social media
Restaurants can raise their online visibility, customer interaction and profitability by giving customers the option to reserve a table straight through Facebook and Instagram. Customers don’t have to switch between several apps to make a reservation using their mobile device. Restaurants can simply add a ‘Book Now’ button to their social media profiles that integrates with the restaurant management system.
Get your 'Reserve a Table' button on Google
Similar to this, adding a ‘Reserve a Table’ button to Google can do wonders for a restaurant’s online visibility and customer growth. It enables users to quickly book reservations from Google search and map results. It works well for attracting new clients who could be looking for “restaurants near me” or similar queries. Additionally, having a ‘Reserve a Table’ button on Google can improve a restaurant’s search engine optimisation (SEO), making it more visible to potential customers searching for a place to eat.
Encourage online bookings
Promote your online booking platform on your website and social media pages to entice clients to use it. When clients contact, make sure your staff is taught to encourage online reservations. They ought to be capable of convincingly outlining the advantages of making reservations online and directing clients through the procedure.
Limit calls. Maximise your online reservations
By implementing these strategies, restaurants can reduce the number of phone calls they receive and free up staff time for other important tasks. Additionally, by offering alternative booking methods and promoting online reservations, restaurants can provide a more convenient and streamlined booking experience for customers, which can lead to increased customer satisfaction and repeat business.
Get a free restaurant reservation system
Tableo is offering a free restaurant reservation system for smaller restaurants with less that 50 bookings per month (or larger establishments wanting to try out Tableo before purchase). Get yours by simply filling in the form here.