If you are a restaurateur then you should probably know how tedious and time-consuming is to organising reservations. From handling dozens of calls to manage table reservations manually, it is not less than rocket science.
But this scenario is changed a lot with the advancement of technology. Now we are part of a digital epoch where every product and service is now just a click away. Restaurant reservation app is one such example where customers can browse through a comprehensive menu, book a table as per their convenience, pay for the purchase through any hand-held device like smartphone or tablet.
Pre-reservation is an important factor to save time, but also reduce the inconvenience faced by customers due to the hustle-bustle of busy hours in restaurants. Here is where the eminence of restaurant reservation apps should be addressed.
As a restaurateur developing a restaurant reservation app seems like getting all the valuable data about your customers. This is one of the finest methods in which you can avoid food wastage, cut down the chances of cancellation, and many more. Or in another word you are effectively reducing the chances of open tables.
Let’s start the blog by discussing the various types of restaurant reservation systems.
What are the different types of restaurant reservation systems?
Before getting into the detailed study, mainly there are two types of restaurant reservation systems.
- Third-Party Mobile Apps and Websites
- Dedicated Mobile Apps for Your Own Restaurant.
Ler’s start with third-party mobile apps and websites.
- Third-Party Website and Apps
Third-party websites and apps are often called as the warehouse for business because it contains all those tools and strategies needed to boost the traffic to your restaurant business and hence reduce open tables.
Let’s see the working model of third-party websites and apps.
It starts with the investment that needs to pay for the app or website development. Once you receive the app or website you are advised to use the website or app and list down the restaurant menu and availability of tables. With the help of advanced and tech-savvy tools in this system, restaurateurs can easily reach out to their target audience. The target audience of people who are interested in your service will use your app in order to find out different restaurant outlets, nearest outlets, reserve tables, choose from the wide array of menus, and make a purchase.
Usually, third-party food ordering apps offer a wide range of benefits such as prepayments, table management, POS integration, custom floor map, etc. However, third-party apps have some drawbacks too. The more advanced features you need the more money you have to pay.
A recent survey shows the feedback about third-party food ordering appsshows that a majority of restaurateurs quoted that it is hard to use because of the complex and bad layout. Some people even said that it gives more priority to enhance their business than ours and even took our business too. Through these platforms, we will get exclusive customer data. These third-party platforms use our data to implement their advertising strategies.
Sometimes customers get irritated of getting choosing the wrong choices by making decisions through reviews and feedback because they often delete negative and genuine reviews and sometimes promote fake positive reviews. Even if the customer pays for purchase there are still chances of cancellation of the order by these third-party apps without any alerts. Loading time is another issue a plethora of people faced in such apps because of excessive users at a time.
Sometimes it charges too much for the delivery. Since the third-party online food ordering platform, apart from your restaurant it also contains a pile of other restaurants, in other words, your competitors. So there is a high chance that your target audience may find the offers and pricing of your competitor’s menu more attractive and make the purchase.
Yes, you lose your customer!
Maybe all these drawbacks make the restaurateur think about their own restaurant booking app.
- Dedicated Mobile Apps for Your Own Restaurant
Having your own website means a 24/7 free online presence. You can easily find a million customers even outside business hours.
Being a restaurateur the last thing you want is empty tables. Because you paid for the manpower, power bills, infrastructure and of course for the food. But all your efforts will fail if you didn’t get enough sales. At the same time, you don’t want your customer to feel disappointed when the seats are fully booked.
With the advancement of technology, anyone can able to reserve a table and order a takeaway even without visiting your place. Here is where reservations at restaurants became more significant and for this, a dedicated restaurant app is the finest solution you need.
The benefits of having your own restaurant app are terrific. Through a dedicated app, you will get advanced information about the customers who visited your restaurant. Since all the foods are pre-booked, you can easily avoid food wastage. It helps in reducing the chances of empty tables, boost sales, and uplifting return on investment (ROI).
Since it is a single platform for you only, you will have control over the entire customer data and all other resources. It helps in analysing your customer experience with complete access to data. You can even send alerts or notifications to the customers for the non-availability of reservations and which in turn avoid disappointments.
With the constructive loyalty programs, you can attract a lot of customers with special discounts or promotion campaigns. A dedicated app along with the website will help you in increasing brand awareness through the reservation app. The customisation option makes the whole dining and takeaways experience more flawless.
Along with this, a restaurant app is beneficial for the guests in the restaurant also. A customer can directly book make the reservation through the app and the confirmation is received through email or SMS, so no need for direct callings. Also no wastage of time since no need to waiting for tables to get empty. With online genuine reviews, they can select the best choice according to their preference.
Which are the different stages included in developing a restaurant reservation app?
If you are planning about developing an own restaurant reservation app, then let me take a moment to appreciate it.
For building a restaurant reservation app you will definitely need professional help, who had impeccable skills and a piece of in-depth knowledge about the domain.
So let’s brief the six major steps which are necessary for developing a perfect reservation app for your restaurant.
This is an important part of making the reservation app you looking for. In this initial stage, the app developer should understand your business goals, what to want to convey to the customers and what you expect in return. The blueprint should contain all the minute details about the app which makes its functionality to perfection.
After the initial stage of conceptualization, the blueprint and the idea regarding the reservation app for a restaurant should analysed to check its strength, weakness, threats, and opportunities by using the SWOT technique. This will also help in deciding the approximate estimate of your cost in terms of time, money, and branding.
Once the plan is approved, a rough design is created for more clarification and further approval. Here it includes all the features the app embrace. This is also a theoretical stage, but it tells how the app exactly looks like.
After all the planning and plotting the developing part is started as per the approved design. Professional developers are involved in this stage to make the coding perfect without any bugs.
This is an important part where the trial run is conducted to ensure that the app is perfectly developed the way you wanted. Before releasing testing is done to eliminate all the minor mistakes and bugs, especially when it comes to payment, the security of the gateways should be duel checked.
Once each and everything goes perfect, then your table ordering restaurant app is ready to launch. Depends on the Android or IOS platform of your choice, permission from Google Play Store or Apple Store is mandatory. If you wish you can advertise the newly launched app on social media platforms for more reach and brand building.
How much does it cost to develop a restaurant reservation app?
The cost of developing the restaurant reservation app mainly depends on the features you want in your app. So in this case it is quite impossible to figure out an exact amount. Like I mentored early this is mainly because each business is different, even if it from the same domain. The marketing goals are different, their set-up, catalogue, marketing strategies, return they expect, in short everything is different.
Less your demands, the lower the price will be. As simple as that.
If it is a low-budget production, then it has the simplest functionality. It includes basic functionalities like booking a reservation, the confirmation from the owner. Here the app doesn’t have a back-end infrastructure and at the same time, third-party APIs merging is also not allowed.
If you want third-party integration then a mid-range budget can solve this issue, in which custom features can be integrated. Hence it supports online payment methods. Also, a simple back-end infrastructure can also be provided.
Top-quality apps always come with high prices and efficient functionality. These apps are highly appropriate for restaurant owners. It comprises advanced features and securities. The back-end infrastructure of such apps is highly complex and it supports third-party integration. Such fully equipped apps will provide real-time information regarding the reservation, cancellations, payment details, and many more.
Which are the must-have features of restaurant reservation apps?
You will get two versions of the restaurant reservation app. One for the customer and another for the management. You can choose what features you want to incorporate in what version.
Features for Customers
For easy and quick usage, customers need to download the app from the Google Play Store or Apple Store. Sign-in or registration is done through any social media account, email ID, or phone number. One of the main features of the customer version is that the user profile must contain a detailed history about the bookings, quick access to menus, and various payment options.
It should include filter options such as location, cuisine, time, ratings, and reviews for a better and advanced search. GPS options help the users to quickly and easily reach the restaurant without any hassle. The customer version for the reservation app should seating map, which helps customers to book a table according to their preference. Pre-ordering is more possible for customers if it has customisation option and the availability of the whole menu.
Should include features that encourage genuine reviews or feedback about the dining at your restaurant. The confidentiality and security of the payment method is a must-have factor for customer versions of restaurant reservation apps. In the user profile, it should include a feature that shows the loyalty programs and rewards and offer available for the customers.
Rental options should be provided for birthdays or wedding parties. An option to include social media merging is necessary which allows the customers to recommend your app among their near and dears. Whenever they make a purchase or book a reservation, a confirmation mail should be generated and send to their registered email address. Alert buttons to help the customers to know about the best offers and promotion campaigns you offer is also a good feature.
Finally, a help or FAQ option should include the app which helps the customers to clarify any kinds of query and proceed with an undoubtful purchase.
Features for Restaurant
A seating map is beneficial for the restaurant management because it helps to know the number of bookings and the open tables. The feature of seating management also helps in altering the floor plans according to the table arrangements. The calendar is another important feature available in the restaurant reservation app for administrators to schedule dining hours.
It also should possess advanced filters like search by customers, time, and reservations. Payment confidentiality and security are important in the restaurant version to track the payment status and also to keep records of old and new payments. A live chat session or messaging session is necessary for providing confirmation mail for every booking.
A diner book is necessary which comprises the details about the customer information and history of booking that permits you to get different items based on previous reservations. Updating the option of the menu with consistent changes in the catalogue and various appealing images and descriptions are necessary for providing a better customer experience by the restaurant.
The app should also include features like cancellation details, notifications of table bookings are necessary for better managing the whole processes. It also provides the ability for POS integration which allows streamlining facilities of payments, workflow and deliver better service.
FAQs About Restaurant Booking app
Developing a restaurant reservation app or an EPOS for takeaways is not a simple task. You will definitely face a lot of difficulties and confusion in each stage of development.
Here we try to include some frequently asked questions regarding the restaurant reservation app development.
- Why your restaurant needs a table booking app?
A restaurant reservation app provides a pile of benefits for making a business thrive with detailed information regarding your customers, their buying patterns, and more. It helps in enhancing sales, drive more customers to your business and also encourages repeat business through various kinds of loyalty programs.
- What are important features a restaurant reservation app should possess?
The important features a restaurant reservation app must possess are the facility for registration or sign up, an elaborate search option, a well-described and appealing menu, various online payment options, GPS navigation for quickly and easily reaching the restaurant, notification button, reservation history, and much more.
- How to hire professionals and experts for developing the reservation app?
The hiring of various efficient professionals can be done through different platforms like Google, LinkedIn, Clutch, etc. You can also ask for suggestions and seek reviews and feedback to find the most trustworthy developers in the niche.
- How long you need to hold the reserved tables?
Most restaurants hold the seat for at least 15 minutes. If your customer doesn’t arrive as per the scheduled time, you can wait for an additional 15 minutes and then marked it as a cancellation.
- What are the different types of reservations you can offer to your customers?
Mainly there are two types of restaurant reservations you can offer to your customers, namely, guaranteed reservations and non-guaranteed reservations.
In guaranteed reservations, the customers can book the tables by giving an advance payment. Here the restaurant holds the table as per the requested time or due date. Cancellations can also be done by the restaurateur according to the rules and regulations.
In non-guaranteed reservations, the restaurant simply agrees to hold the booked table as per the customer’s request without paying any advance charge. But if the customer fails to reach the restaurant as per the time then it leads to cancellation and the table is again listed for rebooking.
No matter you are a restaurateur or an investor who passionate about the restaurant business, using a restaurant reservation app will help you to uplift the sales, drive new customers, engage regular customers and which in turn helps the restaurant to thrive.