Over the past few years, many restaurant reservation software
systems have hit the market
in an attempt to be considered a viable OpenTable alternative
. Many claim to be the
best reservation software
, but after investigating many of these products in depth, they seem
to only scratch the surface of restaurant reservation systems
and table management
So what are the core features that restaurants want in a reservation system?
A good reservation system should be capable of managing walk-in guests, phone reservations,
and call ahead seating. The management and execution of these parties will vary
based on the guest type. The system should provide complete visibility for the host
to important guest information, allow the host to modify guest preferences, and
should logically sort the guests based on their arrival time and guest type. In
addition to guest management, the system should allow the host to completely manage
the status of all tables, server availability, and cover or rotation management
in order to fairly seat wait staff. Integrating the guest list into the table management
module of the system is a key feature that provides more robust analytics capabilities.
What does it take to be a great restaurant reservation system?
Most reservation/table management software solutions on the market can be considered
decent for the functions they perform. But what classifies a reservation software
solution as great? All of the added features that extend the core set, providing
external partner integration points, hardware peripheral integration, enterprise
reporting and data warehousing, POS integration, and consumer facing modules to
create a complete solution.
Let's take a closer look:
- Partner integration - Integration is a key component of any software solution. Inability
to communicate with external systems and vendors introduces challenges that cripple
the true potential and value of the solution. A great reservation system will have
a SOAP or REST based API to provide partners with a real time mechanism to consume
or distribute data.
- Hardware Peripheral Integration - Communicating with proprietary hardware devices
provides great value in streamlining execution of mundane tasks. A great reservation
system will support thermal receipt printing and restaurant pager integration. In
addition, the ability to further integrate with RFID/NFC readers will further future-proof
the solution for many years to come.
- Text Messaging - Paging restaurant patrons via text message has become an essential component to any restaurant reservation system. Though in some markets, based on demographic and location, text messaging isn't always a vaible option.
- Enterprise Reporting - Reporting is one of the most important aspects of a complete
software solution. Providing valuable insight into key metrics collected by the
restaurant reservation system is vital to the success of optimizing the restaurant operation.
A great reservation and table management software system will collect a wealth of
data from each guest and actions performed throughout the shift. Warehousing or archiving
this data is extremely beneficial in providing the ability to merge guest metrics
with POS data to further analyze the complete guest experience.
- POS Integration - The ability to integrate with POS systems offers endless advantages
to the restaurant operation, and enterprise. Consuming real time POS events gives
the host visibility to the guest's meal progression, allowing the host to "plan
ahead" in coordinating upcoming guest placements. In addition, POS data is valuable
in developing consumer "profiles" by the ability to merge POS check/item data with
reservation data, ultimately providing the restaurant with a customized view of
spending habits, frequency of visits, and menu choices.
- Consumer Facing Portals - A great restaurant reservation system will provide a means
for which consumers can make reservation via desktop browser, smartphone, and/or
So what does it take to be the best restaurant reservation system in the world?
Give us a call or shoot us an email, we would be happy to provide you with a complete demo
of our SimplySeated solution.