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10 Reasons Why You Need a Restaurant Reservation Management System

10 Reasons Why You Need a Restaurant Reservation Management System



October 18, 2023

October 18, 2023

Whether you run or own a restaurant, chain of restaurants, or a hotel restaurant, managing reservations can become a hassle.

But with a restaurant reservation management system, you can easily manage your reservations, servers, and your operations. In other words, managing your entire restaurant can be less of a headache and more of a well-organized process.

So, why is a restaurant reservation management system so valuable to restaurants these days? How does it help restaurant managers and food-and-beverage directors? How does one software work for a single restaurant and a multi-location restaurant or even a multi-chain group?

In this article, we’ll be diving into the benefits of using a restaurant reservation management system. We’ll also be looking at ways to increase restaurant reservations.

What is a restaurant reservation management system?

What is a restaurant reservation management system?

A restaurant reservation management system is software restaurant operators use to manage reservations and walk-ins in their restaurant.

Although its name suggests that it manages reservations and bookings, a modern restaurant reservation management system offers tons of perks.

For example, a major benefit of using reservation software is being able to make data-driven decisions based on measuring various guest and restaurant analytics.

Why use a restaurant reservation system?

Why use a restaurant reservation system?

Data shows that more people are dining out again–on a global scale.

Roughly 49% of people in China dine out several times a week. In Hong Kong and Singapore, 48% of respondents say they dine out more than once a week. Meanwhile, in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Taiwan, 43% of people aged 16 and above dine out several times per week. (Rakuten Insights)

When making restaurant reservations, 50% of people in Hong Kong and 40% of those in China prefer to use apps. Meanwhile, 59% of people in Taiwan and 56% of people in Korea call the restaurant to book a table.

Moreover, 39% of guests in the United States and 24% of people in Japan prefer to make reservations via the restaurant’s website. (Rakuten Insights)

This shows that there are many sources and ways for guests to book reservations. Done manually, this opens the way for many errors, double booking, overbooking, and limited-to-zero-ways to confirm those reservations.

In other words, getting reservations becomes a hassle. It’s why managing reservations manually is no longer feasible. Especially if you have limited seating, multiple branches, or simply if you want to manage a successful restaurant business.

The best way to manage all of these reservation methods – and more – is using reservation management software.

Benefits of using a restaurant reservation management system 

Benefits of using a restaurant reservation management system 

So, what can a restaurant reservation management system do in the face of all of the above?  

1. Manage reservations and cancellations in real-time 

As the name suggests, a restaurant reservation management system helps you manage your reservations.

Whether you’re taking bookings over the phone, or letting guests book tables via your website, mobile app, third-party apps like Trip Advisor, social media, or something else, a reservation management system manages all of that.

Reservation management software, like SerVme, also helps you manage cancellations and waitlists. So, if you’re fully booked, you may use your reservation management system to create a guest waitlist.

If a guest makes a reservation and then cancels it, this gives you time to move people from the waitlist to a previously reserved table. 

2. Table management based on guest preferences 

Managing reservations is only the tip of the iceberg for reservation management software.

Depending on the type of reservation management software you’re using, you can manage tables based on reservations made and seat guests based on their preferences and needs.

For example, if guests prefer to sit in a non-smoking area, you can accommodate their needs ahead of their arrival by booking their table in the non-smoking section or indoor section of your restaurant.

Moreover, if your restaurant is divided into several sections, you can let guests choose the section they prefer while booking.

This helps you speed up seating and improves your guest experience from the moment your guests step into your restaurant.

Table management also helps you estimate table turnover time. That way, you don’t have guests waiting to be seated, while others are enjoying their time.

3. Manage server shifts based on peak times 

Some restaurant reservation management systems today, including SerVme, let you manage your servers based on peak times and number of bookings.

For example, by looking at your reservation management software, you can see that you have a full house between 6 and 9 p.m. on Thursday and Friday.

This helps you plan by increasing the number of servers or having your best servers during those busy hours.

4. Measure guest analytics 

A major perk of using a restaurant reservation software is measuring guest analytics. Important restaurant analytics include revenue per available seat hour (RevPASH), average check per individual and table, among others.

Measuring restaurant analytics helps you improve service quality, provide in-person and digital guest experiences, and increase guest retention.

5. Create digital and seasonal menus 

As a restaurant, you’ll likely create seasonal dishes and beverages. The best way to present these to guests is using digital menus.

With a digital menu, restaurant operators can create or add categories, tags, images, and more to customize the look and feel of a menu. 

If you’re using SerVme’s digital menu feature, you can create multiple menus and share them with your guests when you want. For example, you can create a dessert menu, a winter specials menu, …etc., apart from your regular menu.  

You can even assign specific menus to specific shifts like the breakfast menu.  

6. Conduct quick customer satisfaction surveys 

An important benefit and feature in a restaurant management system and reservation software is conducting customer satisfaction surveys.

Once a guest finishes their meal, pays, and leaves, you can automate sending them an SMS or email to rate their experience.

Depending on the strength* of your reservation management system, you can get complete guest profiles with information such as

  • Date of previous visit

  • Review/rating of previous visit

  • Guest comments from their last visit

Among other items.

SerVme’s reservation management software provides all this information and more in dynamic guest profiles. You can even pull up information like how often a particular guest visits your restaurant or chain.

7.    Benefit from marketing automation features 

Some advanced reservation management systems offer restaurant marketing automation features, helping you automate many marketing activities.

For example, restaurants, chains, and hotels using SerVme can automate all their email marketing and SMS needs directly from the SerVme dashboard. They don’t have to create external email lists or send SMS from a third party. It’s already built into SerVme. Fewer screens to view and lots of time saved. 

8. Send automated reservation reminders 

One of the major reasons restaurants use robust reservation management systems, like SerVme, is to send automated confirmations and reminders to guests.

Once a guest makes a reservation, you can send them an SMS or email confirming their booking. You can also automate sending them a reminder 1 or 2 days ahead of their upcoming reservation.

If they book 1 month in advance, you can automate sending several messages.

Grab our free templates for reservation, cancellation, and no-show policies.

 9.  Customers can book from multiple sources 

Many reservation management systems let you connect with third-party websites like TripAdvisor, social media, and others to increase restaurant reservations.

Reservation software helps you manage all these incoming reservations, regardless of where they’re coming from.

10. Various payment options 

Depending on the reservation management tool you’re using, you may integrate with a point-of-sale (POS) system.

For example, SerVme can be integrated with over 10 POS systems along with payment processing platforms like Stripe. 

How to increase restaurant reservations

How to increase restaurant reservations

Now that you know the benefits of using reservation management software, let’s see how you can increase restaurant sales and reservations.

Have a restaurant website 

Standing out from the competition isn’t easy. Having a website not only builds authority, but also provides an opportunity to highlight your restaurant brand’s values, your employees, and, of course, your dishes.

You can also indicate your different branches, and locations if you’re open in multiple countries.

And you can let guests book seats and tables directly from your website.

Use social media 

Let your guests book tables via social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Reservation management systems like SerVme, let you do so directly, without having to go through a hassle.

Create limited-seating events 

Creating special seasonal events, like Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Christmas, and Ramadan, among others, can entice guests to book tables in advance.

Similarly, doing a weekly or monthly Indian Night, a Flavor Festival, or something that’s not your usual would attract guests.

Explain that these events are limited to specific days and specific hours (7 pm to 9 pm, for example) and therefore require in-advance booking. 

Use a reservation management system 

Save time, avoid double booking, and manage many restaurant operations using restaurant reservation management software like SerVme.

You’ve seen the benefits of using reservation software. However, some restaurant management software like SerVme has more features for restaurants and eateries of all sizes, including hotel restaurants.

Create a newsletter 

Using email marketing for restaurants is a great way to engage and retain your guests. Creating a newsletter for your restaurant ensures you give guests a heads-up about upcoming events, new branches, among other events.

Email lists are a great way to not only connect with guests, and notify them of special announcements, or special offers, but also a great way to offer personalized digital guest experiences.

In today’s always-on, always-digital world, guests expect personalized experiences. 71% of customers “expect…personalized interactions.” Not only that, 76% of guests “get frustrated” when they don’t get these personalized experiences. (McKinsey)

Further reading: Your Guide to Restaurant Email Subject Lines for Better Conversions

Manage your restaurant reservations with SerVme

Want to see restaurant reservation management software in action? Meet SerVme.

Here’s what you can do with SerVme

Seating, table management, and floor planning 

Besides the above-mentioned reservation management features, SerVme helps you manage tables and seating from the floor plan.

Whether you want to give your restaurant a makeover or add a new section, you can use SerVme’s floor planning software to make the most of your floor plan.

Doing so means

  • ensuring your servers and guests have adequate space to move

  • being able to create various seating arrangements

  • making the most of available views

  • creating that perfect setting for guests to come to enjoy

Read more in How to Create a Restaurant Floor Plan that Entices Guests

SerVme’s restaurant reservation management system also comes with various POS and payment integrations, ensuring you don’t have to worry about managing payments for your restaurant and reservations. 

CRM and guest profiles 

Creating profiles for your guests is the first step in creating a personalized dining experience. Doing so requires customer relationship management (CRM) software to combine all your guests’ data, preferences, needs, and experiences in one place.

SerVme’s restaurant management system comes with a dynamic CRM tool, updated in real time based on guest visits, reservations, and more.

Further reading: What Is the Best CRM for Restaurants in 2024?

Collect reservation fees 

If your restaurant collects reservation fees, such as deposits, or prepaid reservations, SerVme helps you collect guest information including prepayments.

You can then deduct them from your customer’s bill. Similarly, you can collect cancellation or no-show fees.

Further reading Your Top 10+ Questions about Restaurant Reservation and Cancellation Fees Answered

Social media and third-party reservations 

One of the top benefits of using SerVme’s reservation management software is getting reservations directly from social platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

SerVme also helps you manage reservations from multiple sources. These include your website, mobile app, third-party websites and integrations, Google My Business, Google Reservations, and others.

Email and SMS marketing features 

Using SerVme, restaurant managers can create and automate entire messaging campaigns from within the SerVme dashboard.

That’s in addition to creating confirmation messages and reminders. Restaurant managers can also

  • Build a restaurant’s newsletter

  • Create segmented restaurant email campaigns

  • Create segmented SMS campaigns

  • Send survey messages and/or emails

  • Ask guests to review recent experiences

  • Send promotions

  • Send alerts about new menu items, locations,…etc.

In addition to the marketing campaigns, you can use messaging as a reservation tool. With SerVme, guests can make bookings, or cancel them, directly via email or SMS.

To do so, restaurants using SerVme need to enable the ‘cancel booking’ feature or tag in email and SMS messages.

Read The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing for Restaurants 

The image below clarifies what the tag looks like in an email campaign.

Cover/server management 

Part of managing a restaurant business is managing your servers and coordinating their presence with your busy days and hours. This is known as managing cover flow or managing covers.

Using SerVme, you can manage your servers based on peak times, special or seasonal events, large group events, and more.

Do you see an uptick in reservations for Valentine’s Day? Make sure you prepare your cover flow ahead of time to ensure smooth experiences for guests on that special day.

Manage waitlists

Besides managing reservations, restaurants can manage waitlists to speed up seating and improve guest experiences the moment they enter your restaurant.  

If you have new guests on your waitlist, you can use the opportunity to create guest profiles and add them to your CRM and email list. 

Review restaurant analytics from multiple devices 

A major benefit restaurants using SerVme often mention is being able to manage reservations, cancellations, and various restaurant options from multiple devices.

Restaurant and reservation managers can view the SerVme dashboard via mobile, desktop, tablet, or any other device, from anywhere.

Split payments made simple 

Often guests are groups of friends or work colleagues. When it’s time to pay the bill, servers struggle with who should pay what. With SerVme, bill splitting is a piece of cake.

You can use SerVme’s bill-splitting features to split the bill the way guests want, ensuring easy math for everyone. Your servers included.

As you can see, a restaurant reservation management system helps you manage many restaurant operations. 

Want to learn more or see a reservation management system in action? Then book a quick, free demo with our team

Or you can learn more by trying out SerVme’s free pricing calculator

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Posted by:

Mohammed Rafy