How to manage effectively the customer relationship for your restaurant

The clients are crucial for every business success and the restaurant industry doesn't make an exception. One of the challenges for the venues is to create loyal customers which requires a good strategy, but also the usage of the exact tools. There are many technical solutions on the market enabling restaurants to manage customer relations at all levels as operations related to the building and usage of customers data base including contacts, reservation information and analysis and planning.


These solutions represents booking systems that offer many benefits in terms of both technical functionalities and marketing and sales activities.The different booking systems on the market at first glance seem similar. However, there are significant differencies between the products and the present article intends to reveal them in order to help restaurants get a better decision by choosing the right solution according to their needs.


Most important factors to consider when choosing a reservation system


When you are about to choose a reservation system for your restaurant, you need to understand what functionalities includes each platform. Only this way, you can manage successfully the customer relationship at all levels. The existing solutions on the market include very basic ones and others which offer rich number of options, covering almost entirely the needs of the restaurants related to reservation management.


This gap is due to the different business strategies of the service providers. For some of them the development of the reservation system represents their course business and they invest a lot in activities of product upgrades and optimization.


Others, use their booking systems as a secondary product focusing mainly on their online market places for restaurants (another product they promote together with the reservation system). In this case, the reservation system is not so well developed.


All this is to say, that when you choose a solution for your business you need to make a detailed research and compare the different products on the market.


One of the functionalities that needs a special attentions is weather or not is possible integration with external platforms. The integrations with the restaurant Facebook page and website in general are assured by most of the platforms, but only few companies allow integrations with external platforms from where could come additional reservations. The reason is that most of the providers have they own online market places and don’t want to open the booking system for other similar platforms. This way, when a restaurant is present on more than one market places in order to get higher visibility and attract more customers, it will be limited in its operations because of the lack of a central hub through which it can receive and manage all the reservations coming from all the channels.


Тhe companies which offer the reservation system as a first solution without engaging its use to the obligatory use of a market place (ex. Reservation.Tools) generally allow flexible integrations. This way, they procure restaurants with a central hub through which they can manage all their reservations and customer relations.


In brief, the basic solutions lack a lot of functionalities, most of them don’t have modules for sms and email notifications, neither options for various functionality customizations (such as splited working time etc.), the interfaces aren’t so user-friendly which makes the reservation process much slower and difficult, there is no well developed administration for customer relations etc.


Who and how manages the customer relationship and communication


The customers are the main “capital” of a venue, crucial for the maintainance and development of the business activity. This is why the successful customer relations management is very important. Here are included the daily communication with the clients who are making reservations, as well as the management of the customer data base. When you choose a booking system, you need to check well all the functionalities related to these two levels of operations.