Limited or no-reservation seating is an increasingly popular way of managing the flow of restaurant guests. However, a notable challenge of limited reservations is the ability to implement a fair and efficient waiting system. What happens when those lines start forming at 4:30pm before your restaurant opens for dinner? What if your busy nights are resulting in three hour waits? Hungry customers can lose patience in record time. However, you can offer your guests a better way to wait while setting your restaurant apart from competitors and reducing lost revenue from impatient guests walking away before they are seated. The answer is virtual queuing. A virtual queuing system can enable you to track guests, the number in their party, approximate wait times, designated seating areas, and special requests – all while providing convenient customer service during the wait. Let’s take a look at how it works and why customers and restaurants benefit from virtual queuing technology.
Guests register their party for a table using one of several methods:
Once registered in the queue, guests are provided an estimated wait time. Estimated wait times are automatically calculated based on the average time it takes guests to finish their meals, the party size, and the tables available that are large enough to seat any given group. Next, guests receive a way to monitor their progress in the queue. You have the option of using text messages to alert guests when their table is ready. Or you can text unique web links that, when clicked, open personalized queue pages that allow each guest to track where they are in line and how long their approximate wait is.
Why will your customers enjoy virtual queuing? First, it reduces their perceived wait time. As they spend their time exploring the surrounding neighborhood, having a drink at the bar, or running a quick errand, the wait can easily feel shorter than it actually is. Second, virtual queuing systems can allow personalized communication with guests. Use virtual queuing’s integrated text messaging or web interfaces to deliver updates on estimated wait times and to let customers know when they’re about to be seated. You can also use this opportunity to offer them specials or discounts they can use that evening or provide an incentive to come back in the near future. Additionally, information provided at registration helps employees cater to specific needs including the presence of kids, a birthday celebration, or a request for a specific wine.
Virtual queuing helps to free up your staff so they can focus on what counts. Virtual queuing cuts the time-consuming task of crowd control while streamlining the process of queue management. The technology makes it easier for your employees and yet is powerful enough to group and sort customers, seat them in the right sections, and more. Real-time, actionable alerts are a key to your queue management success. Did tonight’s dinner rush take you by surprise? Managers receive the information they need to head-off any problems before they become real issues and employees continue to work uninterrupted. Additionally, historical reporting provides accurate planning for any given day, week, month or season as managers analyze trends in customer traffic and average wait times. Reservations or no reservations, waits are inevitable in the restaurant industry. Use virtual queuing system to help your employees provide personalized service to guests, manage wait times and eliminate crowds within your waiting area while restoring a sense of order and calm for an enjoyable dining experience.