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There is similar variety among LiveRes’s customers. “There are operators out there using their integrated reservation systems to maximum effect. They are tracking the customer journey, measuring demand and booking trends such as group sizes and busy periods. This is not only helping them with forward planning, but also addressing any problem areas,” says FitzGerald. “However, those working in an IT silo or

using third-party online booking partners are likely to be falling behind in terms of com- petitive advantage, and with restaurant sales starting to plateau this could be the difference between future success or failure.” Moving forward, providers will need to keep on their toes to cater to the ever-evolving habits of the consumer. For Conyers, easy payments and clever partnerships will be key to success. “Consumers now expect dining out to be convenient, and in-app payments are some- thing that would facilitate this. It’s a feature the casual dining sector has started to use and we predict it will spread across the industry,” he says. “It saves time for the guest and the res- taurateur, and technology systems are catch- ing up with this.” ResDiary will also seek to partner with var- ious businesses to add to the convenience of both the restaurateur and the diner. “We want to enable guests to book from a variety of sources and have these reservations follow the operator’s rules,” Conyers explains. “To enable this, we’ve launched a concierge programme to encourage bookings from local third-party bookers, where promoters of venues can be rewarded for encouraging bookings. With the cost of commission from some booking sites crippling operators, we’re thinking outside the box to keep costs down and yet still make part- nerships viable on both sides.” More and more integrations are also to be expected, whether with taxi apps, flight booking sites or even dating apps. “Diners will want the convenience of doing everything seamlessly: arranging a date, reserving a table and never leaving their original app,” Conyers predicts.

adding that London Steakhouse Co has worked closely with ResDiary on this and other features. “I’ve now got things that weren’t available previously, which has also helped ResDiary with moving the product forward.” There are a couple more features on

Robertson’s wish list. “When you phone up your pizza company, they know who you are and where you live before you say anything, but restaurants don’t do this. I think a caller ID feature opening windows with customer data would be great,” he says. “Best-fit table solutions would also be

brilliant. No-one has built an algorithm yet that can consider a new reservation request and theoretically unallocate every other table and best-fit everything around the new reservation that comes in.” Technology Prospectus 2017 | 9

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