Sometimes called “table management systems,” restaurant reservation systems offer a lot of benefits. For guests, they make scheduling a meal time a simple, streamlined process. For your hosts and hostesses, they reduce the burden and stresses of navigating heavy demand for seating. And for the rest of your staff, they provide data that can be used to optimize your guests' experiences.
There are lots of great restaurant reservation systems that focus solely on the waitlist piece of running a restaurant. Resy, Tock, and NextME all offer intuitive, easy-to-use systems that help restaurant owners optimize their waitlists and guest satisfaction, in part because of the hospitality these tools help them provide.
We like a few other systems for restaurant reservations. In the chart below, you'll find our top picks. Be sure to click the logos for a brief explainer video of each option.
OpenTable is a great, simple solution for accepting reservations for your restaurant. It's popular, too, used by more than 60,000 restaurants around the world. Why? Because it's a site diners everywhere frequent. Many rely on OpenTable to find restaurants that can accommodate their party—and their party's needs—at specific times and on specific dates. They know they can count on OpenTable to show them a wide range of options that will meet their needs.
Business owners say it's one of the best restaurant reservation systems, too. The system itself is easy to use. The automations, which include confirmations, can be big time savers. And the cost of the service (starting at around $40/month for the most basic package) is often a better use of marketing dollars than other forms of advertising. But it's important to note that few restaurants can get by with the OpenTable's basic package. Many upgrade to packages that allow them to accept reservations on their own websites, run an in-house and online waitlist, connect their waitlist to their point-of-sale (POS) system, and manage guest preferences.
OpenTable also allows (and encourages) diners to post reviews of your restaurant. This can boost your restaurant's credibility. It can also provide you and your team with valuable insights that can help you improve through common pain points.
And, speaking of insights, with certain OpenTable plans, you can integrate your email marketing system with OpenTable to create targeted email campaigns.
The service boasts some stats worth noting. One is lower no-show rates than reservations made by phone or other partners. Another: higher diner spend. Both of these stats can have a real impact on your business's bottom line.
This popular solution is worth checking out. Visit OpenTable's site to learn more.
TouchBistro is a solution we often recommend. It's an all-in-one that covers virtually every part of running a restaurant. With this in mind, it is a bit more expensive than reservation-only services. However, lots of restaurant owners find that the extra features are well worth the cost.
Let's talk a bit about the core TouchBistro system. With it, you can manage your menu and other essential parts of your business, including staff and inventory. Your servers can also place orders tableside, helping them optimize their time and improve the speed of orders to the kitchen. It can also create bills and accept various forms of payment. Owners also like the reporting functionalities TouchBistro offers, which offer insights on sales trends, staff performance, and much more.
The core TouchBistro system starts at around $70/month.
The reservation system is an add-on. For about $230/month, you can integrate it into the core point-of-sale system and access all the features of a traditional waitlist tool. Some interesting features with this add-on include email reservation confirmations and reminders and automated SMS that tell your guests when their table is ready.
Would you like to book a free demo? Follow this link to get started.
Eat App is a tool that's growing in popularity. This online booking widget makes reservations, capacity optimization, guest processing, and table allocations a snap.
The widget allows your guests to book a table from Google, Facebook, Instagram, Zomato, and TripAdvisor, and it recommends alternate times when a diner's first choice isn't available. It also captures valuable data, including your guests' preferences, that can help you optimize their dining experience.
One great feature is Eat App's “yield management” setting. With it, you can offer time-based discounts to drive more traffic to your restaurant during off-peak hours.
Eat App doesn't have a POS system built-in. However, it integrates with some of the most commonly used systems. These include Oracle, NorthStar, Heartland Xpient, Squirrel System, NCR Aloha, Brink POS, and many others.
Interested in learning more about Eat App? Follow this link to sign up for a free demo and enroll in a free 14-day trial.
Check out the other systems and services we recommend for growing restaurants in our restaurant guide. Then, log into your owner's portal. Here, you'll find a step-by-step checklist you can use to take on the legal, financial, administrative, and marketing work that goes into building a thriving business.