The current environment that restaurants have been forced to adapt to has created awareness of all things “contactless,” from payments to ordering and waitlisting. Although the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of contactless technologies, the benefits of remote waitlisting, in particular, extend beyond stay-at-home orders. Here are the top three reasons why your full-service restaurant should allow guests to join your waitlist remotely.
1. Direct Labor Cost Savings
Without technology to allow guests to remotely communicate with your restaurant, guests must either call or drive to your restaurant to understand what the current wait time is and have their party added to the list. In both cases—calling and in-person contact—someone from your staff, most likely a host, has to answer the phone or directly communicate with the guest. In a busy, high-volume restaurant, handling a significant amount of guests in this fashion requires multiple staff members to attend to these guests.
In stark contrast, remote waitlisting allows your guests to see the current wait time from their computer or smartphone, and then provide the information required to join the waitlist (usually a name, party size, and a phone number) without taking valuable time from your staff. The amount of time and effort for one guest to do this is minimal, but to your restaurant, extrapolated over hundreds of guests, this is a tremendous labor time saver.
2. Increased Revenue Opportunities
Most restaurants consider the waiting area “dead space” or a non-revenue generating area of the restaurant location. And they would be right. To maximize revenue per square foot, you should scrutinize all areas of your restaurant that do not directly contribute to revenue. Some might contend that the waiting area or “corral” is a way to keep guests captive so that you don’t lose them, which in turn contributes to revenue. However, it is universally believed that neither restaurant staff nor guests enjoy being in or around the waiting area.
Again, remote waitlisting solves for this problem. Although not physically “corralled,” guests who have joined a waitlist remotely are “virtually corralled.” Allowing your guests to wait where they want frees up the waiting area in your restaurant for other purposes, such as merchandise displays, take-out order management, or even more tables. Each of these revenue-producing activities provides more value to your restaurant and your guests.
3. A Better Experience for Your Dine-In Guests
Today, we have added safety to the list of reasons why guests would rather wait someplace other than your restaurant for their table to be ready, but even in years prior, guests wanted this for a simple reason—they have busy lives! Time is valuable to guests, who would much rather make good use of it rather than spend it waiting in a crowded restaurant for a table. Truth be told, it is probably a contributing factor to the explosion in take-out and delivery.
Offering remote waitlisting brings a better experience to your dine-in guests, allowing them to make a dining choice, wait where they want, understand their wait time, and monitor their position in line so they can be at the restaurant just as their table is ready. Dine-In guests understand that in order to truly enjoy food that’s prepared and presented as intended by the chef, there is no better way to do so than in a restaurant, at a table. Food quality declines rapidly as is it’s packaged and sent out the door to be consumed much later. The combination of being in control of their time and enjoying food at its peak provides the remote waitlisted guest with a better dining experience... an experience that will compel that guest to return again and again.
SpotOn Reserve has proudly offered remote waitlisting to our restaurant clients since 2016. We pioneered the technology with Google in January 2019 when they added it to Reserve with Google. Given the advantages and the improvement in guest experience that results from offering guests remote waitlisting, we are seeing more restaurants shift to this technology than ever before. Better still, it is extremely cost effective and easy to implement.