5 Online Reservation Fees You Don’t Need to Pay For

How much do online reservations cost? The answer will baffle you — and rightly so. Restaurant owners are already paying too much to run their businesses. Learn more about the five big online reservation fees that restaurants don’t have to pay.

Many restaurants can look forward to saving well-need cash when using Carbonara App’s booking software. Find out more.

Why Restaurants Pay For Online Reservations

For restaurants considering implementing an online bookings system, the overall cost and expenditure is a key consideration.

Restaurants pay for online reservations more or less as a service charge. So if they go with some of the top companies in the market, restaurants must consider how they can afford to pay for it, taking into consideration the specific features they’re looking for, how many customers they process a month, and integration with systems they may already be using, if applicable. These will alter the size of the monthly bill.  

Restaurants need to save as much money as they can. From costs of goods to payroll, restaurants have too many costs to bear. Many restaurants are having to tightly draw in their purse strings as price changes make matters more difficult. Commodities like cooking oil and fuel prices are unstable, with one owner in Europe saying that their budgetary finances are changing every day.

With this in mind, restaurants need to consider the financial impact most reservation systems will have. Providers alter their charges to suit a restaurant’s needs, via five big costs.

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1. Subscription Fees

Software providers periodically charge restaurants (i.e. monthly, quarterly, annually) for using their systems. This is a standard in the restaurant tech industry.

Price tiers offer more system features. So the more a restaurant pays, the more features they can use. Providers sometimes offer a flat fee, meaning that the subscription charge grants access to all available features.

When surfing the net for available options, restaurateurs will often find providers offering a discount when opting for an annual plan. 

However, whether your restaurant is big or small, the subscription fee remains the same. Depending on who you go with, this price will range massively (around £150—650 a month). No matter if your restaurant experiences either success or failure, you will still pay the subscription cost.

reservation fees associated with online bookings
Online reservation fees are unnecessary, via Flickr courtesy of Mike Lawrence, Creative Commons 2.0 

 2. Features Fees

Limited plans will give you the basic, skeletal framework of online restaurant reservations. This costs less but extra features cost more. For instance, if you want an analytics feature that sends frequent reports on things like average guest footfall, then your venue will have to pay extra. Mentioned above, additional features could bundle into a restaurant’s subscription, but they typically go on top of existing expenses. 

3. Per Customer Fees

Providers can charge you on how many reservations you secure through their system. This is common. It happens because customer bookings come in via the provider’s vendor system.

Costs vary amongst providers, and some charge higher fees (e.g. £1.00) per diner booked on the vendor’s system, and lower fees (e.g. £0.25) when the diner books via the vendor software — that is, from the restaurant’s own website. 

Practically speaking, this means that restaurants pay for each customer that books using online restaurant reservations. Yes, this is a small individual cost — but small costs accumulate over time, only becoming serious when your restaurant processes a large number of reservations per year.

So, for example, consider a per-person fee at £1.00. Book 100 guests a week, then you will pay £400 a month to the system provider. 

But the New York Times has assessed that online reservation fees are a hiccup in the industry — an Achilles’ heel that is a raw deal for restaurants using online reservation services. 

The New York Times also found that if diners who booked online fail to show up, the restaurant recoups no online reservation fees.

When restaurants seek out the best systems, they will need to calculate their averages (i.e. how many guests they book in a month) to stabilise these costs. Remember that restaurants may also pay for reservations that may otherwise have booked directly with the restaurant, in other words, for free.

4. Hardware Fees

Extra hardware is sometimes a requirement to use online restaurant reservations. This being so, a provider may require a restaurant to purchase a new computer or tablet. 

For restaurants worried about this cost, it is much better to install a system that favours mobile app functionality. Restaurants can easily sidestep the hardware cost footfall, as they can just use their own smartphone for management tasks.

5. Setup Fees

This fee activates online restaurant reservations, allowing your customers to use them. 

If a provider needs to set up a system in your restaurant, they will charge you an initial cost. Most of the time this is a unique fee that providers will charge only once. However, if you have a multi-branch restaurant chain, then they may charge based on how many restaurants you choose to integrate. 

With low hardware, setup, or subscription costs, Carbonara App is the ideal solution for a restaurant’s digital needs. What’s more — Carbonara App comes with all features, ready to go.

Did you know you can set up Carbonara App in less than five minutes? Try it out.

Research has shown that online reservations relieve pressure on teams and improve staff flexibility. Now restaurants can enjoy stress free customer reservations online.

Download Carbonara App at Google Play or Apple Store.