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October 12, 2022

Online restaurant reservations – Your ultimate guide

Do you need more reservations? Explore real-life examples and tips on how to increase online restaurant reservations to boost sales and grow your business.
October 12, 2022

Guests don’t want to have to call during a specific time to make a restaurant reservation anymore. Waiting until someone is available to take the call isn’t practical in today’s on-demand world.

To meet guests where they are, it’s crucial to use online reservations to your advantage. You can accept bookings 24/7, and your customers don't have to wait to make a reservation or worse, turn to the competition.

In this comprehensive guide, explore real-life examples and tips on how to increase online restaurant reservations to boost sales and grow your business.

Why do restaurants need a reservation system or platform?

Maybe you’re thinking that a notebook at the host stand is enough. But with an estimated 2.14 billion people worldwide shopping and making restaurant reservations online, not having an online reservations system means you're missing out.

Restaurant reservation systems allow guests to book tables remotely so that your restaurant manager can schedule resources according to the number of bookings.

Guests are also looking for a more convenient dining experience. A smart restaurant booking system gives them that without asking them to pick up a phone, dial a number and talk to a busy host about dates and times. Instead, in a few clicks, they’ve booked their favourite restaurant.

With the right platform, online restaurant reservations...

  • Make front-of-house jobs easier.
  • Help you turn more tables per night.
  • Bring more diners to your restaurant.
  • Collect valuable data on guests (new and returning).
  • Manage your waitlists.
  • Allow you to schedule the right number of staff.
  • Help you manage and plan inventory.
“The reservation system makes our life much easier and gives guests a better experience too, because working with bookings helps us plan better, be better prepared, and better estimate the time required to serve dishes. I wish diners could be more understanding of that and think about booking a table before going out to eat. That would be lovely.” — Ewa Janowska of Cadence in Copenhagen, Denmark
Superb’s Guest Experience Management platform is more than just reservations 

10 ways to get more reservations at your restaurant

The secret to getting more online reservations is to make it easy for guests to actually reserve a table. The more steps involved in an online booking, the less likely someone is to complete the process.

1. Make your website mobile-friendly and responsive

All pages of your restaurant's website need to load easily on mobile devices and be responsive (means the site can adapt to whatever device it’s being viewed on.).

Since most new guests will start with a web search before booking a table, your reservation page should clearly describe what you want them to do – book a table, make a reservation, reserve a table, etc.

That’s where Superb's Guest Experience Management platform (GXM) comes in. Your reservations page will be mobile-friendly, responsive and create a great first impression by matching the quality of your restaurant brand.

Take inspiration from Hamburg’s Area10 Restaurant and Restaurant Kattholmen in Stockholm, and see how Superb's reservation page matches perfectly with their branding – giving guests a memorable first impression and start to the guest experience.

See how Area 10 Restaurant increases reservations with Superb’s GXM platform
See how Area 10 Restaurant increases reservations with Superb’s GXM platform
See how Kattholmen restaurant increases reservations with Superb’s GXM platform
See how Kattholmen restaurant increases reservations with Superb’s GXM platform

2. Use a clear, prominent call to action

Your reservation link should be visible on every page of your website and have a clear call to action (CTA) – Book a Table, Reserve Now or Make a Reservation.

The more someone has to hunt for a link, the more likely they are to leave your site and make a reservation elsewhere.

See how La Côte in Berlin, Germany, uses a bold CTA to point guests in the right direction.

See how La Cote restaurant increases reservations with Superb’s GXM platform

3. Use the best online reservation system for restaurants

Not only can the right restaurant reservations system maximise profits from each table, but these systems also aid in capacity tracking and contact tracing – keys to continually managing COVID-19.

But many restaurants still haven’t moved from pen and paper to a complete reservation management system. And if they have, they’re working with multiple systems that can’t integrate.

Superb's Guest Experience Management platform (GXM) features a suite of tools that allows you to seamlessly switch between desktop, iPad and iPhone.

The Superb desktop version is your base for setting up and managing your restaurant. While the Superb RES mobile apps for iOS make it easy to create reservations, update statuses, manage guests and add notes in-service and on the go.

You can quickly set up intelligent table plans, prioritise tables and use dynamic combinations to allocate tables automatically. That means that you add the tables and the system will optimise your floor plan for maximum capacity, fill up your restaurant and increase restaurant profitability.

With GXM, you’ll have more than just a restaurant reservations system. From preselection options during the booking process to credit card confirmation that protects against no-shows, you’ll have all the tools needed to run and market your restaurant in one, simple-to-use platform.

“We wanted a more reliable system to handle our reservations, secure our bookings, manage guests and take payments. Superb is unmistakably dedicated to delivering the best guest experience for our guests and has provided us with a modern and user-friendly platform. We greatly value that Superb’s support is on par with the way we like to give service to our guests.” — Aloë Restaurant in Älvsjö, Sweden

4. Add your reservations link to social media

Instead of sending visitors to your restaurant's homepage from Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, send them directly to your reservations page. Reservations are the main reason people visit your website anyway… so cut out the extra step and get people to the good stuff quicker.

With Superb, you’ll have a shareable reservations link that works across all devices.

Add your reservations link to social media 
Add your reservations link to social media
Add your reservations link to social media
Add your reservations link to social media

5. Create separate pages for each experience

Make it easy for guests to book a table by having a unique page for each of the experiences you offer – A la carte, tasting menu, terrace dining, bar, etc.

Superb makes it simple for restaurants to set up experiences for larger groups. That means you can facilitate group reservations easier by asking for allergies, preferred menus, drinks, etc. before guests arrive. And you can finalise reservations with a credit card for maximum security against no-shows and last-minute cancellations.

See how Frederiks Have Restaurant does it with Superb.

Create separate pages for each experience

6. Introduce gift cards to your restaurant

Gift cards are reservations that haven’t happened yet.

With Superb, gift cards are easy for guests to purchase and easy for you to track, manage and process.

Discover 10 ways to promote restaurant gift cards and see how to use them to increase revenue here.

7. Add special events to your schedule

Organising events can be a restaurant reservations saviour. Events introduce your business to an entirely new group of people – especially if you partner with another eatery or invite a special guest.

Every event attendee is a potential reservation waiting to happen.

They’ll get introduced to your space, your food and the vibe of your restaurant. And the next time they Google “great restaurants in the area”, they’ll remember your event, put the phone down and click your reservation link.

8. Use your email list effectively

Every email you send should include a link directly to your reservations page.

The only exception would be if you’re promoting an event. In that case, you would direct traffic to your prepaid tickets page. With Superb, you can offer tickets next to your reservations to make life even easier for your guests (and you).

Below is a newsletter from Til Elise - Fra Marius. Take note of how they include buttons that guide guests to bookings and reservations.

Use your email list effectively

9. Keep a waitlist

Using a waitlist will improve management and efficiency for both the business and the guest. And it’s an easy way to make sure that potential income and reservations don’t walk out of the door.

“I don't have to think about a waiting list written on a piece of paper and keeping all those names and times in my head and looking at my watch. I can just use [Superb’s] amazing booking system. And in that way, I can spend much more time with my guests.” — Ewa Janowska, General Manager of Cadence and The Sixteen Twelve in Copenhagen

10. Implement a reservation reminder system and a Thank You message

The guest experience starts with making the reservation. Implementing a confirmation message that includes a “thank you” is important to lay the groundwork for a solid guest-restaurant relationship.

With Superb, you can also send reminders to guests to avoid no-shows. Whether it’s an email or an SMS, you get more online reservations tomorrow by making sure that every reservation is handled with care today.

What happens to your walk-ins?

Having an online restaurant reservations system doesn’t mean you can’t be spontaneous. With features like intelligent table management, Superb’s GXM platform lets you allocate specific tables and areas of your restaurant or bar that are only for walk-ins.

Implement a reservation reminder system and a Thank You message

Are you ready to take online reservations to the next level?

Every detail at your restaurant is carefully thought out. You’ve hand-picked your staff and tested your menu… the only thing missing is a better way to run your business.

  • Looking for ways to increase traffic and make sure tables are always full?
  • Or are you overwhelmed with the reservations coming in now?
  • Is it hard to keep your current reservation system organised?
  • Does your current system keep you from offering preselection options during the booking process?
  • Does admin take too much time away from what you’d rather be doing?
  • Having trouble managing your waitlist at busy times?
  • Are you looking for new ways to boost your guest experience?
  • Are you looking for new revenue streams like prepaid tickets and gift cards?
  • Would you like to finally put an end to no-shows with credit card confirmation and deposits?

If you answered yes to any of the above, it’s time for a Guest Experience Management platform that makes life easier for you and better for guests.

Book a free demo to see why Superb is the platform for online reservations and so much more.

"GXM allows us to focus more on the well-being of our guests, eliminating the reconfirmation of telephone reservations and automatically sending text messages and emails for confirmation and reminders. The support is exemplary, and we can no longer imagine managing the restaurant without this service." — Lorenzo Di Paolantonio of Cum Quibus in San Gimignano, Italy

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