In this fast-paced world, no one likes to wait. This sentiment rings especially true in the restaurant industry, where long waiting times can often lead to disgruntled customers and lost business.
But fear not; you can work it out by conducting the right waitlist management system. It’s not just about shortening wait times—it’s about optimizing your entire operation, from managing reservations to handling walk-ins, so you can serve up satisfaction with every dish.
Let’s take a look at the best practices and tips for a waitlist management system for restaurants so that you have better queue management!
What is a Waitlist Management System?
A waitlist management system is a digital tool that organizes and manages the queue of customers waiting for service, often used in restaurants.
Often, this system is integrated with reservation systems to enhance the efficiency of restaurant operations and to reduce customer wait times. While the reservation system handles pre-bookings, the waitlist management system organizes customers who arrive without reservations.
Tips to Better Queue Management for Restaurants
If you want better queue management at your restaurant, try following these expert tips. Check them out!
Use a Restaurant Queue Management System
A restaurant queue management system is a digital tool used to streamline the process of managing and serving customers who are waiting for a table. While this system is more beneficial for larger restaurants, small businesses can also utilize it.
It allows restaurants to handle walk-ins efficiently, reduce wait times, manage reservations, and improve the overall customer experience. Some systems also provide real-time updates to customers about their wait status, enhancing communication and satisfaction.
Create a Positive Waitlist Experience
No one likes to wait for too long, especially when they are hungry. Thus, to create a positive waitlist experience in restaurants, you can use several tricks, including:
- Use a digital management system for efficient queue handling and real-time updates on wait status.
- Maintain clear communication and engage customers during their wait with samples or digital content.
- Provide a comfortable waiting area if possible. If you’re a family restaurant, you can also provide a playground area for the kids.
These steps can transform the waiting experience from a potential negative into a positive, enhancing customer satisfaction.
Use Virtual Waitlists
Virtual waitlists can streamline the guest experience by providing real-time updates on wait status. They also allow guests to join the line remotely, reducing physical crowding and giving closure to the customers about their wait time estimation. Usually, the platforms used for virtual waitlists are a restaurant website, a dedicated kiosk, a text, or a QR code.
By employing such systems, restaurants can manage their seating more fairly and efficiently, potentially increasing table turns and maximizing revenue.
Best Waitlist Management Software
These are some of the best waitlist management software for your restaurant. Let’s take a look at what each one has to offer.
Waitwhile is a game-changer in queue management, offering businesses of various scales a simple and efficient way to handle customer flow. It provides versatile virtual queues that customers can join from anywhere using any device.
Its AI-powered system accurately predicts wait times and sends updates to customers. The platform is customizable, integrating walk-ins and appointments, and supports multiple waitlists across different locations.
Additionally, Waitwhile allows data collection for personalized customer interactions and offers comprehensive business performance dashboards. You can try it out for free or pay for a month or annual subscription, starting from $23/month.
Starting from $99/month, you can get beneficial features from Obee. It offers self-waitlist additions for customers and sends personalized texts to walk-in guests when tables are ready.
Beyond that, it simplifies reservation management across multiple restaurants from any device and allows customization of run sheets, floor plans, and timelines.
Moreover, it also enhances customer service by automatically confirming reservations, sending reminders, and suggesting alternate times to fill gaps, all from your website. Plus, it offers a customizable booking widget to match your website’s design for a seamless customer experience.
Yelp Waitlist is a feature that allows users to join the waitlist of participating restaurants remotely via the Yelp app or Yelp.com. It provides live updates about the restaurant’s wait time, enabling users to plan their arrival accordingly. However, not all restaurants offer this feature.
Once the user joins a waitlist, the restaurants can ask them to do an online “check-in” with their staff. This ensures that the customers are actually on the premises before giving up the table.
In addition, Yelp has a tool called Yelp Guest Manager, which provides features like self-check-in guest kiosks, capacity monitors, manual wait controls, and an online waitlist, helping restaurants maximize their reach and work efficiently.
FlexBooker offers an SMS-based automated waitlist system that keeps schedules full and empowers customers. The platform’s automation feature sends text notifications to customers when appointments become available, reducing concerns over unfilled slots.
On top of that, it offers a high degree of customization, allowing businesses to maintain brand consistency in all communications and adapt the booking form to their needs. With its convenient features, Flexbooker subscription starts from $39/month.
Simple and efficient, Waitlist ME allows restaurants to streamline the waitlist operation via their online website.
You can easily enter key customer information and estimated wait or arrival times. When the table is ready, push the button to send a text or automate a call to the customer. Customers can also self-add themselves directly through the waitlist through a widget.
By subscribing to this online system for $23.99/month, you can reduce walkways, increase satisfaction, and improve your business results.
Frequently Asked Questions
How did we collect data about the best waitlist apps?
We collected the data about the best waitlist apps through extensive web and news searches. Multiple online sources were consulted to provide insights.
What does the success rate of the restaurant waitlist refer to?
The success rate of a restaurant waitlist typically refers to the percentage of customers who join the waitlist and eventually get seated.
Is it worth it to be waitlisted?
Whether it’s worth it to be on a waitlist can depend on several factors and varies from situation to situation, including the desirability of the service or product, length of the wait, alternatives available, and urgency.
Mastering waitlist management is not just crucial for operational efficiency in the restaurant industry but also a driver of customer satisfaction. Embracing smart solutions turns it from a bottleneck into a strength, enhancing the dining experience. With various online waitlist management systems available, your choices are limitless.
Don’t wait—optimize your waitlist management today and see your business thrive. If you want a more comprehensive knowledge of restaurant marketing, such as reputation management for restaurants, contact us at SEO for Restaurants for professional assistance!