Online Restaurant Reservation Systems

Our Goal is just to have a look at the Pros & Cons of using Online Restaurant Reservation Systems. I just want to provide some information hoping that these might help Restaurant Owners to decide if it is worth it or not.

There are quite a few Online Restaurant Reservation Systems Restaurant Owners might consider using. I will mention only 2 of them here: “OpenTable” & “Quandoo”. If your website is built on WordPress, then you might consider using Restaurant Reservation Plugins.

So, as I mentioned before, you can use Restaurant Reservation WordPress Plugins. They are great. They definitely do the job. You will have more control. 1 of the advantages is YOU can decide, if you want to overbook, even though all tables are fully booked. You will have to deal with less phone bookings or walk-in bookings. The only disadvantage of it is, you will have to bring traffic to your website yourself. I, mean, definitely be a disadvantage, especially, if you don’t know how to do SEO, or how to do Social Media Marketing or if you don’t have a marketing expert helping you. You are the one who needs to do the marketing, unlike “OpenTable” and “Quandoo”. They do the Marketing for you. They find potential customers/diners for all the Restaurants, for all cuisines they represent.

So, let’s quickly have a look at the Pros & Cons of “OpenTable” & Quandoo:

Pros :

  • It brings a lot of first time customers. Each customer will cost you around £2/person/cover. If you have a great customer service, and if you have a plan in place, you can turn them into regular customers. You might be paying £2/person at the frontend, but if even 10% of them become your regulars, they will be bringing you a lot of money. Great thing about these type of Reservation apps is you can get contact information of those customers. You can do eMail Marketing to them. Send out all your promotions, menu updates, event updates. You can entice them with all sort of deals, bring them on-site, you can make more money from them. Apparently, Regular Customers spend 67% more than 1st time customers at an average Restaurant. Let them know that they can order online and get food delivered by Deliveroo, Just Eat or Uber Eats.
  • Thing that I like the most is a feedback system. Restaurant owners leave a feedback (what they eat, like, allergic to and etc). Based on these type of feedbacks, you can offer a better service as you know them better. Unfortunately though, this information is not transferred between restaurants.

Cons :

There are couple of problems here: Cancellations & No-show-ups.

It looks like people who cancel or don’t show up are a little bit more likely not to let you know about that than phone booking. These things are rapidly changing though. Restaurants should still call them up and find out, as you already have their phone numbers. If they are going to show up or not, especially if they are big groups. So, if you do your due diligence, then this is not a big deal.

According to 1 of the “OpenTable” Competitors (which is out of business, sadly) says the percentage of reservations that are canceled is around 18% overall. Last Minute (hour) Cancellation rate is 12%. 64% of cancellations happen in last 24 hours. 2.4% of them cancel after booked time passed. Late cancellations. No-show rate is somewhere between 2%-5%. Source(quora) :

Another issues related to ORRS (Online restaurant reservation systems) is their aggressive marketing campaign. Anybody who books a table at any restaurant through ORRS, they will be bombarded with promotional messages, where some customers claim, they cannot even unsubscribe.

Here is the Biggest Problem. You might think that they bring you NEW customers. They do. You get more bookings through them offering discounts or heavily relying on them. It is hard to stand out. You are just another Restaurant among thousands of others on their system. Nobody cares about your story. Customers are hunting for better deals, promotions, discounts. That is what ORRSs are promoting. This will affect your profit margins. Customers are less Loyal these days, mainly because of these ORRSs.

In fact, they steal your existing customers and your potential new customers. How do they do that? Number 1 place, people find restaurants are still Google. They search local Restaurants. You try to launch your own campaign on Google. You run ads on Google, or you try to get customers doing SEO. But, because these ORRS have bigger budget, they spend way more than you. Their ads appear before yours, when someone searches your Restaurant on Google. Most of the 1st page results are full of these companies blogs and ads. Potential customers click on their ads. There is a way of beating them without spending a dime. We will talk about that later. I will talk about that in a separate article on the topic. That is very important. To do the SEO right way for Restaurants.

I just wanted to mention 1 great Premium, Top End ORRS called TOCK. It takes payments up-front, therefore eliminates the no-show-up problem. They don’t send emails to your customers to sell their stuff. This is perfect for dining restaurants where customers are happy to pay more than £100.

1 last thing about ORRSs. There is an installation fee, and a monthly fee which will cost you at least £200/month even if nobody books a table. Plus you will be charged around £2/per person if customers book directly from ORRS’s website or app. £0.25 if customers book through your website or through your ads. Prices may vary depending on which Restaurant Reservation System you use.

That is about it. There are more things to talk about on this subject. Next time. Thanks for reading. If you have any questions, please comment below.

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