What do restaurants need from a booking & Management system post-lockdown?

As parts of the world now begin to come out of, or begin to plan coming out of, the various lockdowns imposed, most experts are predicting a boom for the hospitality industry, particularly restaurants and bars.

With an expected rise in footfall, it’s important that your booking and management system offers you everything you would need from it, ensuring you’re getting the most bang for your buck. With this in mind, we have taken a look at a couple of features we think are essential to restaurant and bar owners as their businesses reopen.

Bookings

First things first, and easily the most obvious – you must be able to take bookings! Your solution should be able to take bookings online, or with a staff member over the phone or front of house with walk ins. Additional features you may want to consider are the options for users to make an account, meaning they can book quicker moving forward with details saved.

In terms of the user journey, it should be extremely intuitive and clear what they have to do to book a spot at your venue, the last thing you want is to lose potential customers because the booking process is overcomplicated.

For example, one thing we always recommend for multi locations is if a customer has come from a landing page for a specific location when they get to the stage of booking the system should intelligently recognise which page they’ve come from and select that as the default location for the booking to save them scrolling through a long list.

Table ordering

A feature that became incredibly popular with restaurants and bars during coronavirus was the ability for customers to order via their mobile devices from their table by scanning a QR Code and the order going straight through to the kitchen – we introduced this feature due to the social distancing requirements, ensuring minimal contact between customers and staff. What we’ve found is that customers love this feature as it makes the whole ordering process easier for them, in fact the BBC even covered this!

It would seem QR Code ordering will be sticking around even as we move out of the pandemic, so we would recommend this as a must have feature for restaurants and bars.

Multiple location management

If you’re a restaurant or bar owner with multiple venues, we know how frustrating it can be if you have to make changes individually to each venue when you make changes (e.g. new items added to the menu, changes to prices or ingredients), which is why you want the management suite of your booking system to be able to push changes in mass to all locations.

As a caveat though, pricing may be different at locations – in which case a simple override feature or the ability to edit at local level is of equal importance!

Marketing

There are a huge amount of ways you can market your restaurant, and we have no doubt you’re already doing these, however you can take a look at some marketing ideas we recently put together here.

However, what you do want to ensure is that any booking and management solution you introduce to your business is able to support your marketing efforts.

This can be done within the solution itself, for example BookNow Software comes built in with marketing software allowing you to set up automation and regular marketing campaigns (e.g. birthday discounts), however we recognise a lot of businesses use a solution such as Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor and will want to carry on using that – which is why we made sure BookNow Software is able to integrate into all of these solutions, allowing you to have one environment managing all aspects of your businesses, from bookings and CRM to marketing.

Reporting & Analytics

In 2021 you should be able to get as much information on your business as possible, thanks to the intelligence of software – this means everything from your best customers, best selling products and peak periods – you can then use this information to get the most profit possible from your business. 

You can set up automated reports to deliver the key information on your business straight to your inbox however often you like.

If you have multiple locations, you’re also able to set reports up at a global level or specific location/locations, giving you complete insight into your business.

BookNow Software Restaurant Solution overview:

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• Customer online booking journey
• Staff booking & POS
• Online web-store
• Reporting/Dashboards
• Flows and automation