Some features are non-negotiable in a fully-fledged restaurant booking and table management system. This article outlines seven must-have features and how they will help you drive more bookings and deliver better customer experiences.
With only the basics, ResDiary is a powerful booking and table management system. However, it also offers a suite of advanced restaurant management features across business operations, marketing, loyalty, reporting, and 60+ integrations including many for EPOS.
To find out which features are the most powerful and popular, we spoke with ResDiary’s Head of Customer Success and Support, Stefan Overzier, who said there are seven non-negotiable restaurant management features you must have.
1) Digital Widgets & Booking Channels
Booking widgets embedded on websites, social media, Google Maps, or restaurant booking sites like Dish Cult make it easy for your customers or prospective diners to book a table. They can simply click a button, enter their group size and details, and confirm the table.
While this feature is a must-have, Stefan says ResDiary’s version of the widgets offer even more advanced features that can deliver you significantly more value. They include:
- Adding channel-specific promotions to encourage bookings, such as for an in-house guest at a hotel restaurant, a QR code-specific widget, or on any website or email listing your restaurant.
- Easily seeing and reporting on where bookings are coming from to help you measure the performance of your marketing.
- Taking credit card numbers or pre-payment to reduce no-shows.
- Customising the design of the widget and booking form, including the customer information collected.
Stefan encourages people to test different widget configurations as the benefits of small changes can be significant.
2) SMS Notifications
SMS notifications to diners are crucial to reducing no-shows. They are received more quickly than emails, will not go to junk mail, and almost always receive a response.
Stefan encourages venues to place URLs in messages that link to booking confirmations or enable diners to edit or cancel their bookings.
SMS can also be used in combination with waitlists to notify diners on the waitlist that their table is ready.
3) Email Notifications
Sending diners booking confirmation emails is a non-negotiable part of delivering a good customer experience and creating excitement for the experience to come. However it should not stop there.
Venues who use ResDiary also set up booking reminder emails to reduce no-shows, send cancellation confirmation emails, and post-dining feedback emails.
You can edit emails to add terms and conditions, adjust themes, incorporate pictures and logos, and automate the schedule of when the notifications are sent.
4) Event management and pre-ordering
ResDiary’s Event Manager enables venues to manage events, enquiries, group bookings and events in one place.
Once the event is confirmed by patrons, staff members can add and share notes, files and links, add run sheets for events, and organise contactless pre-orders, payments and customer requests ahead of time.
The venue can then access a report which captures all relevant data. Stefan says the Event Manager enables staff to communicate with guests, and prep for service.
“With Event Manager and pre-orders, the venue doesn’t have to contact customers in person to clarify bookings or dining requests. The feature also reduces costs and wastage as staff know what the guests are ordering in advance and assists with predictability of service,” Stefan says.
5) Marketing Integration
Through dedicated ResDiary marketing integrations such as those with Sprout or TalkBox, you can deliver automated email campaigns designed for specific purposes. For example, when a diner has not visited in a set number of weeks or months.
Or you can leverage your database and what you know about your customers to send them emails, whether for their birthday or anniversary, or to invite VIPs to a special event.
“The more information you collect around your diner profiles, the more you can use this information to deliver them great experiences and drive repeat business,” Stefan says.
6) Table plan
A robust yield management feature in your restaurant management software enables you to maximise your covers and average bill value without overwhelming the kitchen.
Stefan says it is best used in tandem with seating duration and close-out times so you can control group sizes in an organised fashion.
“With ResDiary, venues can let everyone come in at once, or use Yield Management to spread the room across different time slots.
7) Booking and customer codes
Booking codes allow venues to create, and insert colours and symbols into relevant bookings. For instance, a booking will come up with a B attached if it is for a birthday, an A for an anniversary and so on. Venues can also add unique customer codes to mark relevant details, including: if they are food reviewers, locals/regulars, or if they request a window seat.
Stefan says these codes and symbols are seen by staff in the table management grid, which can help to provide excellent customer experiences and create a talking point between staff and diners.
Disclaimer: This guide is general in nature and does not take into account your individual circumstances. Before acting on any information, you should consider whether this is right for your business.