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to on a piecemeal basis to new systems, such as online guest reservations, going live without integrating with existing ones,” FitzGerald says. “Having a handful of incompatible sys- tems represents a significant opportunity missed. Increasingly IT is the engine of the entire company’s efficiency and profitability. And with margins tight, consumer confidence shaky and the market more competitive than ever, even a small improvement in efficiency could make the difference between a restau- rant business that’s surviving and a business that’s thriving.” Restaurateurs are also looking for new ways to reach new customers with software that integrates with their reservation systems. It’s something that ResDiary is working hard to facilitate. The company’s consumer app, ResDiary Now,


for example, lets diners


instantly reserve nearby restaurants while on the go, delivering those reservations directly into the restaurant’s live diary while integrat- ing with their CRM. ResDiary also offers an online reservation portal, www.resdiary.com, which has seen a 211% increase in page views over the past year, and has recently launched partnerships with the Harden’s, VisitScotland and Time Out websites. “There’s also a venture with one of the world’s largest loyalty schemes, which powers a number of airlines, in the pipeline for 2017. It will allow our custom- ers to tap into a cost-effective scheme, which has proven results across the globe,” adds Conyers. Alongside these big names, ResDiary has joined forces with some local sites such as Restaurants Brighton, the Edin- burgh Restaurant Festival and Lovin Dublin to engage with diners in those localities.


GLOBAL EXPANSION Meanwhile, reservation and payment app Velocity also enhances its partners’ exposure by featuring them on a global marketplace for international premium diners. “Beyond dining reservations, we also allow for unique experience bookings such as a truffle tasting dinner in Mayfair or a brunch in the Hamp- tons with helicoptered service from Manhat- tan,” says the company’s COO Amanda Terry. She adds that many diners want the opportu- nity to book last-minute openings instead of committing to a date weeks in advance, and have also been impressed with the company’s mobile payment offering. So are operators making the most of the


plethora of features modern restaurant reser- vation systems offer? According to Conyers, whose company releases an update to its sys- tem every month, it varies significantly. “As with any technology, there is a per- centage of super-users who know the system inside out and some who just use a small por- tion of it, but we certainly find restaurateurs sometimes miss out on taking advantage of great features that can make their operation run smoother,” he says. “We think we can help operators improve on this by providing a range of live training, site visits and video resources to keep them up to date.”


8 | Technology Prospectus 2017


“Best-fit table solutions would be brilliant – an algorithm that can consider a new reservation request and theoretically unallocate every other table and best-fit everything around the new reservation”


London Steakhouse Co gets technical on table yield


ResDiary super-user James Robertson, the director of London Steakhouse Co, which operates the original and only two steakhouses worldwide owned by Marco Pierre White, might not have known he needed all the features ResDiary had to offer. But now he’s got them, he wouldn’t go back. Not only do guests get what they want –


real-time availability with easy-to-understand alternatives if their first choice isn’t available) – but London Steakhouse Co does too. “We have the ability to store and charge credit card details, so we can take payments when guests make a reservation. We’ve got total control over all data captured by the system, which guests are happy to enter. And we can also use the system as a marketing tool for sending emails to our customers,” Robertson explains.


Plus, the team can control table yield and


management to ensure the kitchen never gets overstressed and that bookings are maximised. Robertson has even suggested new


features, which the ResDiary team added. “We wanted to have separate channels for different sorts of guests, so we could display certain special offers – for example, for returning guests – on certain channels,” he explains,


www.thecaterer.com





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