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When used to their full potential, modern restaurant reservation systems don’t only take bookings and manage tables, they can also provide a significant boost to the bottom line. Elly Earls explains


Sponsor’s comment: ResDiary

ResDiary is a cloud-based, restaurant reservation system, built by industry experts to help restaurateurs manage their operations and grow their revenues. It delivers yield management tools, which ensure optimisation of covers at peak times. ResDiary also has inbuilt CRM capabilities to help grow customer databases and online profiles and develop relationships and loyalty. Millions of covers are booked

by restaurants every month via ResDiary platforms, and the application is used by over 6,000 venues across six continents. Reservations can be made via restaurant websites, APIs, social media and third- party sites, 24/7. In addition, the consumer-facing booking portal,, attracts more than 500,000 visits per month and allows free, incremental reservations for restaurants who are ResDiary customers. The ResDiary promise is never to charge commissions on bookings made through its own assets.

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estaurateurs no longer expect their guest reservation system just to take bookings and manage tables. They also want it to integrate with other systems, build customer loyalty, generate business and ulti- mately boost the bottom line. Meanwhile, guests want a smooth, simple, mobile-enabled booking journey. Sounds like a tough ask? Not for modern restaurant reservation systems. The most advanced can do all this in exchange for a fixed monthly fee. It’s a boon for operators who, in shifting political times and with an uncer- tain pound, are struggling to justify spending money to create their own systems. Today’s guests have a few must-haves when booking a restaurant. Not only do they want an effortless journey from the beginning of their reservation to its completion with as few clicks as possible, they also expect real-time availability, easy-to-understand second choices if their preferred time isn’t available, reviews and recommendations from other diners, and the option to book by mobile. “Over 60% of UK adults now own mobile phones and 95% of smartphone users use them to search for restaurants,” says Mike Conyers, founder and chief executive of online reservation system provider ResDiary. “This makes mobile optimisation for reservations essential. Research shows that 64% of res- taurant searches result in a reservation being made within an hour, proving consumers are making reservations on the go.” That said, choice is still king, according

to Olivia FitzGerald, managing director at another online booking system provider, LiveRes. “Customers today live in a multi- channel world, and expect to be able to book

via the brand’s website, using an app, on a mobile device, on the phone or in person by joining a waiting list,” she notes. “Smart brands offer all these channels, synchronising and updating them all in real time with accu- rate table status data from the EPoS [electronic point of sale] system.” Restaurateurs’ list of demands for these sys-

tems is longer. On top of advanced table man- agement capabilities that maximise bookings without overloading the kitchen, they expect to be able to gather useful data and insight on their customers, who they can then communi- cate with via the system, reach new customers through online and mobile portals, and have everything from EPoS to loyalty programmes integrated seamlessly with reservations.


When it comes to table management both ResDiary and LiveRes go above and beyond, delivering solutions that maximise profit from each and every table, time slot and diner. It’s something restaurateurs are increasingly concerned with as margins get tighter and the battle for consumer spend becomes tougher. “At ResDiary, our motto is ‘empowering restaurants to optimise yield’, something we always strive towards,” says Conyers. “It’s why we spent 10 years making our table manage- ment system: to optimise bookings, to help control services and ultimately, to improve profit margins.” ResDiary has recently acquired Nudge CRM, which allows users of the system to target returning guests with personalised promotions. According to Conyers, this fea- ture is particularly important for smaller ven- ues. “They’re often the type of venues where

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