Reservations and Waitlist: A Better Way to Book & Manage Diners
January 17, 2023
Turn more tables, stop paying fees and make returning guests feel like regulars.
Like far too many parts of running a modern restaurant, the process for managing reservations and walk-ins can feel disjointed.
Reservation tools themselves leave much to be desired, especially third-party booking apps that cut into restaurants’ profits by charging high cover fees. But beyond that, a typical restaurant might have several platforms for online reservations, another for offline reservations, another for walk-ins, another for table management, another for online ordering, another for online catering — and so on.
It’s too many platforms, too many fees and not enough integration across them.
These products help restaurants capture more direct reservations, stop paying cover fees, manage and turn tables faster — and build a unified database for future marketing and personalization. Contact our team for a demo, or read on to learn how it works.
Reservation Management & Waitlist Management
With BentoBox’s Reservations product, restaurants can add a direct reservation widget to their websites. Diners can easily book, modify and cancel reservations on their phones and computers, all without calling the restaurant.
Restaurants may already offer this ability through third-party partners like OpenTable, but BentoBox’s solution stands out for two key reasons:
No Cover Fees: When guests book a reservation on your website, your restaurant keeps all the revenue. It’s just as “direct” as someone calling the restaurant — but it’s done with technology instead of pen and paper.
Better Integration: Accept reservations from your website, by phone and via Reserve with Google — and integrate them all within the same advanced reservation platform. Save the time and hassle that typically stems from multiple booking channels.
In short, restaurants can keep more revenue from each direct online reservation — and improve how they manage those parties alongside reservations from other channels. With BentoBox’s Waitlist product, restaurants can do the same with walk-in parties, managing them in the same advanced platform as reservations.
This is crucial because it treats reservations and walk-ins as the start of a process (the meal), rather than the end of a process (booking a table). To restaurants, it’s all one experience, but fragmented technologies often focus on one specific area, leaving restaurant staff to connect the dots on their own.
With BentoBox, all seated parties flow into the same table management platform, allowing staff to work faster and with fewer headaches.
With BentoBox’s Reservations and Waitlist products, you can manage all seated parties within a best-in-class table management platform.
The customizable floor plan allows for multiple spaces (upstairs, downstairs, outside, bar, etc.), and each section can be color-coded by server. Drag-and-drop technology makes the system especially easy for hosts and hostesses to manage — even in difficult cases such as a party pushing tables together. During busy shifts where minutes feel like seconds, features like this go a long way toward turning more tables.
But the table management software doesn’t just make manual tasks easier; it automates several tasks entirely. Using real-time cover counts and seated times, it drastically speeds up two critical front-of-house operations:
Server Management: When a new party checks in, the system will suggest tables based on number of servers and shifts, ensuring that workload and tips are evenly distributed.
Automated Wait Times: When a new party inquires about the waitlist, the system will estimate wait times for a table of their size, ensuring the host or hostess gives them an accurate quote.
All of these tools are stored within an easy-to-use dashboard, which is designed to solve many of the host stand’s biggest problems. For example, after quoting a wait time to walk-ins, the platform displays a countdown clock to remind hosts how long each party has been waiting. As the end of their wait time approaches, the clock automatically changes colors — from green to orange to red — to ensure the host acts urgently to get them seated.
That’s one of the many features that make this table management platform so efficient. Schedule a demo today to see everything it can offer.
When it comes to reservations and walk-ins, there are two main components of guest management. First, you need to communicate with guests about their upcoming dining experience. Second, you need to build deep relationships for future dining experiences.
BentoBox’s Reservations and Waitlist products help with both areas.
When it comes to communication, the platform allows for two-way SMS messaging. The host stand can send approved messages when tables are ready (or almost ready), or request confirmation on reservations. Guests can reply to the text if they’re running late, and the system will update to make that clear for the host stand — just like it does with wait times.
But the most unique guest management features pertain to relationship-building. The platform allows the restaurant to add custom tags such as “VIP” or notes such as “Loves red wine” to each party, then stores them in an easily accessed guest database. Guest notes can be printed with a bluetooth connection to Chit printers, or they can be viewed directly in the table management platform.
No matter which approach your restaurant uses, it’s easy for servers to see notes from past dining experiences, then use them to add personal touches and flourishes. The guest book can also be shared across locations, which allows any concept with multiple locations to show that the whole brand values their repeat business.
This gets at a larger idea that makes BentoBox’s products unique: The movement for less fragmentation, and more integration, across restaurant technologies. Our Marketing & Commerce Platform already has unified guest profiles for online activity — takeout orders, gift card redemptions, post-meal feedback and more — along with automated marketing tools such as email campaigns and loyalty programs, which re-engage those customers after purchase.
With the launch of Reservations and Waitlist, restaurants can apply the same type of strategic guest management to on-premises diners. But more than that, they can prepare for a future where a single, seamless view of all past customers lives in one platform — rather than fragmented data that lives across several platforms.
BentoBox is helping them build toward that, and there’s never been a better time to get started.
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