Running a restaurant can be a hectic job. Between managing staff, creating menus, and maintaining the overall customer experience, it can be challenging to keep up with everything. One task that can be particularly time-consuming is managing phone reservations. Constantly answering calls, taking down information, and keeping track of reservations can be overwhelming, especially during peak hours.
Time consuming and ineffective
On average, it takes about 3 to 5 minutes to make a restaurant reservation over the phone, and sometimes even longer during service hours. This process can be frustrating for both parties, as customers are often put on hold, while the restaurant staff is busy attending to other tasks.
However, calls during peak service hours are not the only problem. What happens when you take the call outside of restaurant hours, on your mobile, without having the reservation book at hand? You’d have to remember to jot the correct info down once you get to the restaurant, or make a second phone call to whoever has the book … risking errors, misunderstandings, and double bookings!
Even if YOU are handling phone bookings effectively, can you say the same for your members of staff? It’s hard enough to find waiting staff nowadays, more so ones that can communicate clearly in your native language. And even if language isn’t a problem, phone etiquette is something which is sadly dying with the younger generation. Many millennials whose primary means of communication are texts and social media, struggle with answering a regular phone call, much less carry on a discussion.
Restaurants must overcome staff constraints to make sure they are connecting with their customers whenever a booking is made. Does that imply they must employ someone competent to man their phone line 24/7? Absolutely not. Here’s where a push towards online bookings is a must.
This shift in the way customers are reaching restaurants is already taking place, particularly following the COVID-19 pandemic. Lots of diners now tend to prefer making restaurant reservations online even through Instagram and Facebook – particularly millennials.
Make it easier for customers to take online action
Convinced but struggling to make the switch? Here are some tips on how to stop juggling phone reservations and make it easier for your customers to make a booking online:
Invest in an online reservation system
An online restaurant reservation system like Tableo’s website widget can save time and reduce errors that can occur when taking reservations over the phone. Plus, customers can easily book a table whenever they want, rather than having to call during business hours.
Enable direct bookings from social media
By allowing customers to book a table directly through Facebook and Instagram, restaurants can increase their online visibility, customer engagement, and revenue. More convenience – customers can place a reservation from their mobile device without having to switch between different apps. To enable this, restaurants can integrate a “Book Now” button via a widget like Tableo onto their restaurant’s social media profile.
Get your “Reserve a Table” button on Google
Similarly getting a “Reserve a Table” button on Google can greatly benefit a restaurant’s online presence and customer acquisition. It allows customers to easily make reservations directly from Google search results and Google maps. It is great for capturing new customers who might be searching for terms like “restaurants near me”.
Additionally, having a “Reserve a Table” button on Google can improve a restaurant’s search engine optimization (SEO), making it more visible to potential customers searching for a place to eat.
Promote online reservations
Encourage customers to use your online booking system by promoting it on your website and social media pages. Make sure your staff is trained to promote online reservations when customers call. They should be able to confidently explain the benefits of booking online and guide customers through the process.
Curb the calls. Maximise your online bookings
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.
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