Why don’t some restaurants take reservations? The hospitality industry has heard this question (and complaint) from customers before. Most explanations for not guaranteeing a table are based on myths and outdated business philosophies that are losing steam, including:
Myth #1: Taking reservations leads to no-shows and latecomers. Sure, this situation can create havoc at the hostess stand but there is a modern solution. Multiple industries have started charging customers a fee if they fail to honor a scheduled appointment. Restauranteurs can adopt this practice as well. With the right table reservation system, restaurants can require security deposits, offer pre-payment options, and implement cancellation fees.
Myth #2: Taking a reservation benefits the customer more than my business. Not true! All the information that customers provide during the online reservation process provides restaurants with a goldmine of data. The marketing benefits that come from obtaining your customer’s cell phone number or email are priceless. Imagine all the ways you can build loyalty and repeat business! Some reservation systems don’t let you keep your customer’s data, so do your homework prior to committing to any contract.
Myth #3: Investing in a reservation system will never deliver a ROI. Speaking of contracts, if you select a reservation system that charges service fees, maintenance fees, and commission fees, yes, it is difficult to offset revenue generated by diners. Good news – there are new reservation platforms on the market that don’t follow this pricing model. Libro offers an affordable monthly subscription that is easy to budget, and they never charge their customers a service fee when a guest books a table.
Myth #4: Taking reservations does nothing for the back of the house. Plenty of restaurant managers will agree that accepting reservations is tremendously helpful for staffing the kitchen properly and scheduling the correct number of servers to work the dining room floor. Reservations also help control costs, the flow of tickets into the kitchen, and food waste. It doesn’t matter if you’re an independent establishment or a Michelin star restaurant, exceeding operational costs can tank profitability for the night, the week, or the month.
In today’s digital age, not taking reservations is the quickest way to send hungry patrons to your competitor’s dining room.