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How Your Restaurant Can Benefit From Offering Reservations

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October 07, 2022

Restaurant reservations are nothing new to the culinary world. In the past, they were utilized to book private rooms or VIP spaces. Then they became a popular way for anyone to guarantee a table at a specific time. However, not every establishment relies on reservations. Some choose a walk-in or first-come-first-serve model. As more people return to restaurants they’re met with long lines and unpredictable wait times. If your restaurant hasn’t thought about offering table reservations, it might be time to consider.

What are the Benefits of Offering Reservations?

In 2022, Yelp found that internet searches specifically geared towards indoor dining were up an extraordinary 6,360 percent compared to two years ago. For restaurant owners, that means great things in terms of potential revenue. However, if your eatery only offers walk-in traffic, managing high traffic on the fly can be overwhelming.

Reservations, on the other hand, allow restaurants to know in advance how many guests to expect. This can lead to many benefits, including better food cost margins, managing labor, and more. Plus, operations are improved if a restaurant works with tech-based systems instead of the phone and reservation book method.

When it comes down to it, reservation systems enhance the overall customer and employee experience:

  • Patrons know they will have a guaranteed table without waiting
  • Online reservation options reduce host errors in guest size, contact info, and crucial allergy information
  • Allows customers to create profiles with important information for future visits
  • Helps teams better manage staffing and food costs



More Accurate Wait Times

One of the most noticeable benefits of integrating reservation systems is “wait time” predictability. The last thing guests want to encounter when visiting an establishment is a long, inaccurate wait time. Statistics reveal that 68 percent of patrons are willing to wait up to 30 minutes. However, only 7 percent will stick around after 45 minutes to an hour. An organized reservation system allows hosts and managers to streamline seating, handle table turnover, and forecast wait times to keep guests informed. This leads to an enriched guest experience and helps your staff stay organized. These systems are also great ways to easily remind your guests of their upcoming reservations and allow them to make any necessary changes.

Provide Better Client Insight

Reservations allow customers to provide specific details about their dining visit. They can communicate if their evening out is for an anniversary, birthday, or another celebration. This also gives them the opportunity to alert the kitchen to any food allergies or dietary restrictions. This information before the guest even walks through the doors allows servers to anticipate customer needs and provide a more tailored experience. High levels of customer service go a long way to ensure repeat customers. After one bad experience, 71 percent of consumers say they will not revisit an establishment. However, 70 percent stated they spend more money when a brand gives excellent service. If reservations can increase customer satisfaction through superior service, you could boost your consumer base.

Help Manage Staffing Costs

Restaurants are still navigating labor shortages. Studies suggest the food industry is short 700,000 jobs compared to pre-2020 levels. By utilizing reservations, managers can better predict the number of guests on any given day. This means they can plan staff accordingly, increasing staff on busy shifts and reducing slower days. 

Integrating a technology-based reservation system allows guests to schedule and monitor reservations online. It can also free up hosts to assist on the floor, increasing your service staff during high-volume dining.

Benefits Inventory Control and Food Costs

A strictly walk-in model for restaurants can make predicting food purchases challenging. Over-purchasing can lead to higher food cost margins and food waste. Both of which can hurt an establishment's bottom line. However, since reservations provide customer covers ahead of service, chefs can better coordinate product purchases and manage inventory leading to improved purchasing habits.

Business Resources and More at US Foods CHEF’STORE

From exceptional products to informative business tools, CHEF’STORE  is here to help you make your restaurant a success! Stop by one of our stores near you and see what we offer! You can also get ingredients and supplies delivered via our third-party grocery delivery services.

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