Your Guide to Effectively Managing Walk-Ins, Queues & Reservations!

There’s nothing more off-putting for a diner than to wait outside a restaurant in a never-ending queue. As a matter of fact, 89% of all customers will leave your restaurant and never return, if you have long wait-lists and queues. 65% of these will immediately go over to a rival and might never give your restaurant a shot.

So, if you do not have an effective strategy to manage your queues, you’re hurting your business. Worry not, though; For here’s how you can handle your restaurant’s wait-lists and queues like an absolute boss. 😎

  • Keep Them Updated About the Waiting Period

Your customers know that they have to wait if your restaurant is busy. The thing that they do not know is how long they’ll have to wait. Believe us, this ‘not-knowing’ is an agony!   

Studies have shown that this uncertainty will lead to a negative experience, even if the food you served was delicious. You need to be honest about the amount of time your customer will have to wait before being served.

15 minutes don’t really seem that bad when the customer knows that it’s only 15 minutes. What if you could keep diners updated about the waitlist with a real time countdown? With inResto, diners get periodic notifications regarding the wait time and queue status.

  • Keep ‘em close and caffeinated

It is your job to create an awesome environment where even a 45-minute wait goes by in a jiffy. No business should ever leave their customer high and dry. You have to keep them entertained! Barbeque Nation, for example, has a very active staff that keeps everyone entertained, even while they are waiting.

86% of all customers will spend a lot more if they have a positive experience. For example, an extremely popular café in Fort Collins doubled the size of its patio, added seating, free-rolls, blankets and coffee to create a very comfortable space for waiting guests.

You could do something like that or think up unique ways to keep your guests entertained while they wait. The most common strategy many restaurants use is digital signage, or HD TV’s that don’t let the customer get bored.

You could even let your waiting customers order drinks! 😊

  • Is seating incomplete parties an option?

Quite a lot of times, groups aren’t complete before they reach and get seated. Allowing these groups to park before their full party shows up means that everyone else will have to wait longer!

Use this time to have someone else seated and eating. This is one strategy that can be extremely useful for small restaurants and cafés.

  • Reservation & Walk-In Management Applications

One effective way to manage wait-lists and let customers have a greater control over the process is by using reservation or walk-in management applications, such as the InResto Guest or inResto Reserve!

inResto Guest is an app that enables diners to add themselves to the waitlist. On the other hand, inResto Reserve is an app that lets your host at the reception add customers to the waitlist along with collecting their information.

Why inResto is the only tool you’ll ever need:

  1. With inResto Reserve, diners receive a link in a personalized message that allows them to remove themselves from the waitlist. Follow up calls will soon be a thing of the past!
  2. This personalized link is quite useful to engage with customers as well. It incorporates the restaurants’ menu digitally, their social media handles, showcases their specials and also helps diners track their current status of booking.

You have to remember that long queues are a scary prospect and people dislike waiting for more than 9 minutes at a stretch. A customer that is unhappy will most probably never return to eat at your restaurant again.

That means that you have to manage your wait-lists and queues effectively, for they are the single most effective way towards building loyalty, and a successful business.

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