When it comes to restaurant reservation systems, we've heard it all. And I mean all. From the best advice to the worst advice, and that's what you're here for. Because I'm sure along the way in your quest to perfect your booking process you'll have heard more than one of these phrases. So here's a few of the worst pieces of advice we've ever heard about booking systems - and unfortunately they're not only the worst, but also very common.
So buckle up, and get ready to hear the lies that spread like wildfire - but at least this is a start to determining the lies.
"But everyone else is using it..."
Remember "planking"? Enough said. Just because everyone was doing it at the time didn't mean it was the smart choice. If you want to be ahead of the curve and shine above your competitors, do your own research. And not just desktop research, book in as many demonstrations and as many consultations as you possibly can. Not all booking systems were created equal, and not all for the same purpose either. Some systems aren't flexible enough to be tailored to each individual venue type (others are, like BooKBooK). So make sure that you educate yourself and choose what suits your and your venue, don't be a sheep.
"Directories give you more customers and increase loyalty..."
Why would the digital equivalent of The Yellow Pages increase loyalty? People only turn there when they don't know where else to turn, and they are not educated on where to go. So educate them outside of a "directory". The only thing directories are good at doing is slicing the revenue out of venues with cheap discounts on quality experiences. Our research has shown that approximately 90%-95% of venue bookings will come from their own website, so ditch this shameful attempt at getting customers in store with a discount - and provide good quality service, food, and use quality (emphasis on quality) marketing techniques. You won't know what hit you.
"Banning your no shows will help you increase revenue"
Customer = revenue. No customer = no revenue. Capeesh? Then there's the fuzzy line between the customer that was going to be a customer and had a booking... then never turned up. Where do you draw that line? When it comes down to it, don't ever ban your no-shows. We can probably all agree that someone who books several restaurants and "shops around" is probably not all that reasonable to begin with, so don't fight unreasonability with unreasonability. Take a deposit, and educate them. Once your deposit process is seamlessly handled you will have no qualms with asking for millions of them. If they turn up, then great you have a paying customer! If not, you can cover your losses for the empty table. If you use a system that flags previous no-shows when you are putting through a booking this will make the process a lot easier.
"It doesn't matter if the provider has your customers' details"
This is something we hear time and time again can't emphasise enough how you really need to keep tabs on this. Make a booking for your restaurant through the online booking system, and see if you get any or much mail from the provider. Many providers will sign you up to their mailing list unwillingly, or even others if you're not careful. They will use these mailing lists to advertise other venues and discounts via email and text message. Your customers' details are yours. Make them yours. In this day and age, data is key, it's the new currency. So don't give these details out for chump change.
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