4 Steps to Reduce Restaurant Waiting Times

Driving up quality service, no restaurant wants to leave their guests waiting for too long, either in a queue or lobby. Use these 4 ways to cut restaurant waiting times, to improve the quality and productivity of guest turnover — even the overall rating of your restaurant’s profile online.

1. Employ Online Reservations 

The simplest, best way to cut restaurant waiting times is to employ online reservations.

These are much simpler than you may think, requiring very little time and effort to set up. In this article, we discuss their impact on customers — specifically, to reduce restaurant waiting times.

Online reservations allow restaurants to plan ahead. Having a platform to oversee guest reservations at a glance acts as a tool to adequately cater for their demands. Restaurants can collate key guest information all in one place, such as allergies and special requests. This increases the chance that each customer receives the right service in the right restaurant at the right time.

Read more: 7 common reservations with an online hospitality platform.

This can significantly cut down on restaurant wait times. For example, online reservations allow restaurants to coordinate teams and resources around guest demands — without the hassle of filing guest information in a pen-and-paper ledger.

In sum, what can venues do with online reservations to reduce restaurant waiting times? They can:

  • Check more comprehensively how guest allocation is planned
  • Ensure guests book correctly at the right time
  • Avoid delays when seating and serving guests

If you’re new to the world of restaurant tech, why not read our introductory guide? In our article “How Online Reservations Work” we cover everything you need to know. 

time--restaurant waiting times--leticia chamorro-flickr.com

By Leticia Chamorro via Flickr (creative commons 2.0)

2. Keep Things Moving

Digitally scrutinising demand and a guest calendar will improve any restaurant wait time faults. Ensuring that every guest receives quality service will prevent waiting times in restaurants from ruining anyone’s evening. Restaurants will avoid negative reviews online.

They also help restaurants to keep things moving, from the initial booking stage to the end when guests pay the bill. To improve the flow of guests, a digital system has introduced sophisticated techniques to ensure no guests get stuck or clogged in the restaurant turnover rate. This creates delays and increases restaurant wait times further along the line.

Learn more: Modern dining etiquette explained.

For instance, restaurants can keep their tables full using digital features. If a wait for a restaurant table is necessary, restaurants can create what is called an “in-flow” system, a smooth way to operate. As the restaurant seats one party, another prepares to leave — at which point another party is waiting on standby to inhabit the new seats. Read about this process in more detail and find out how it works.

With the helping hand of technology, restaurants can map their guest flow system. This in turn requires less effort from staff to heed to guest demands. Recent reports suggest that a shortage in staff numbers are at the heart of most guest delays. As such, restaurants can now compensate and lessen the workload on overstretched teams.

3. Reduce Unnecessary Restaurant Waits

An online reservations system secures the customer’s place on the restaurant guestlist. This gets rid of restaurant waiting times for customers, locking a customer’s place on the list, promoting a fair system for guests waiting for food. It’s quicker than pen-and-paper 

reservation methods, as the customer selects dates and times at their convenience. Learn more about all the advantages of today’s digital guest reservations systems.

Alternatively in the meantime, restaurants can implement QR codes to lessen the customer’s burden when having to wait. These allow guests to remotely add themselves to digital waitlists, enhancing their sense of convenience. Ultimately, this saves staff time: team members no longer have to add and input guest data themselves. Find out more about Carbonara App’s latest feature. 

Discover more: 4 common customer experience trends.

reduce restaurant queues
via Flickr courtesy of Robert Gourley, Creative Commons 2.0

4. Acknowledge a Team Effort

Seeing guests on a digital system and preparing for their needs reduces maximum restaurant waiting times for future guests. This in turn enhances the guest experience.

Keep in mind that successfully implementing a digital system requires a team effort. To further cut down restaurant waiting times, everyone must be on board.

Thankfully, cloud-based technology accommodates this need. Everyone has access to the same overview, providing staff with a heads-up display on guest arrivals, all from the palm of their hand. With today’s restaurant technology, all they need is a smartphone. 

Prepare front-of-house staff for the quick transition from a pen-and-paper system to an electronic one. Inform them on basic functions, and demonstrate how to look at the differences in customer waiting times in restaurants — and finally put these methods into practice. This way restaurants are certain to witness an immediate improvement.  

Download Carbonara App

The good news is that restaurants can integrate all this and more for free.

Use Carbonara App to stamp down on long restaurant waiting times for tables. Minimise the number of delays with free online reservations, including a simple guide to set this up. Keep guest satisfaction levels high, and enjoy the app’s updates.

Learn more about how Carbonara App helps restaurants manage cover rates, including any necessary help with strategies to increase guest count. Contact us.

If you liked this article, find out how you can use free analytics to improve guest interaction. Read our article titled “Beginner’s Guide to Restaurant Analytics” to find out more.