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February 2, 2022

How to manage restaurant reservations – without extra work

Taking bookings with pen and paper isn’t efficient. See why your restaurant needs to go digital with an online reservation platform.
February 2, 2022

For most restaurants in Italy and southern Europe, restaurant technology is stuck in the past. Phoned-in reservations reign supreme and waiting in line for a table is the norm.

But what if there was an easier way to take bookings?

One that didn’t sacrifice time, money or the guest experience? One that could increase time spent with guests, maximise your profits and give you the power to create personalised experiences.

Sounds promising, right?

What is an "online booking system"?

An online booking system takes reservations directly from your website. It’s the easiest way to accept and manage reservations without adding extra work for you or your team.

You’ll often hear an online booking system called a reservations system or restaurant reservations management platform. The latter does way more than just take bookings.

It allows you to customise your table plan, upsell to guests and take note of dietary and allergy requirements before guests even arrive.

The basic purpose of all restaurant reservation software is to allow guests to book a table from their phones, tablets or laptops. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

While giving up your Excel spreadsheet may feel odd at first, the good news is that your guests have already gone digital, and they’re waiting on you.

  • Italy has over 50.54 million internet users.
  • The number of internet users is increasing by 1.1 million each year from 2020.
  • 32% of all websites visited in Italy are food and restaurant-related sites.


what is an online booking system for restaurants


The benefits of an online restaurant reservations management platform

If you're a restaurateur, restaurant manager or server who spends too much time chasing customers (replying to emails and answering phone calls), a restaurant booking system can eliminate the manual work and waste of time.

  • Save time. With a digital booking system, you and your restaurant staff will spend less time answering calls, emails and dealing with customers stuck in a queue. You’ll give guests the ability to make reservations flexibly and independently. Anytime, anywhere.
  • Meet guests where they are. More than 85% of the world uses mobile phones. Your guests included. An online booking system makes it easy for them to complete a booking. Customers see the availability of reservations in real-time, without you accepting reservations over the phone or responding to emails.
  • Avoid double bookings. What happens when you take a call and a team member checks email at the same time? The chances for a double booking skyrocket. With an online reservation platform, double bookings are impossible.
  • Never lose a reservation. From a misplaced reservation book to a deleted WhatsApp message, lost reservations are all too common. With an online booking system, your restaurant will never lose a reservation again.
  • Quickly share booking information. With restaurant booking software, the entire guest list is available on a digital device such as a computer, smartphone or tablet. These synchronise in the "cloud" and are managed online from anywhere – even outside on your terrace.
  • Stay updated. The moment a customer makes a reservation, or your staff manually adds it to the system, an online restaurant reservations system will update and the reservations are visible to everyone on your team.
  • Easily view tables and rooms. Assigning tables with a digital system is as easy as clicking a button. The reservation software provides a personalised view of your restaurant's room, allowing you to distribute tables, combine multiple seats for large parties, and make the best use of your rooms.
  • Save money on inventory and stop food waste. With a digital booking system, you’ll know exactly who’s coming to dinner. And since most Italians only book 1-4 hours before dinner, every minute counts. You can also look back at data to help with inventory and stock management.
  • Own the guest data. Not only will you have access to priceless guest data for marketing, events and special experiences, you’ll also be able to compare one date to another and identify patterns of success and weakness. This information is automatically collected, so you don’t spend extra time on it.
  • Communicate easily with guests. An online booking system connects your restaurant to customers in an immediate way. SMS and email reminders build guest loyalty and reduce the chances of guests not showing up.

While your guests are online, we know you can’t be 100% sure that every single person will book a table online. That’s where the power of a digital reservation system comes in.

You’ll have an updated view of the tables and time slots booked at all times and can easily accept a reservation for someone who called, emailed or walked in.


with an online restaurant reservation system guests can book a table at your restaurant any time from anywhere


The problem with the old way

Do you find yourself saying, “We get bookings. The way we work isn’t broken.”

It’s true, most Italian restaurants are seeing customers book tables with traditional methods.

The problem is that too much of the work remains on your shoulders and sometimes you find yourself with double bookings or losing a reservation because the line is busy and a guest can’t get through.

The problem with restaurant queues.

If people wait longer than expected they become dissatisfied, and the staff will have to try their best to avoid unpleasant situations and complaints, creating a stressful situation.

A line outside your restaurant looks good for business, right? Not true. A study by the University College London showed that customers are willing to wait in line for up to 6 minutes. No more.

The problem with Excel sheets for taking reservations.

Spreadsheets are great for organising piles of information, but they require valuable time that you and your team could spend elsewhere. With the labour shortage restaurants are facing, who has the resources to assign a designated team member to handle typing in names in an Excel spreadsheet?

The problem with restaurant notebooks and agendas for bookings.

The classic manual reservation diary involves a lot of effort and wasted time. How many times do you take a reservation on the phone and then stop what you’re doing to put the reservation in the agenda? Sounds simple. That one booking requires checking if there’s space available at that time, double-checking the distribution of the tables, and discussing with the guest when an issue arises. It may be what everyone is doing… but it doesn't mean it’s the right way.

The problem with reservations over WhatsApp and email.

You may think messaging apps and email are steps into the digital world of reservations. The problem is that they still require manual work on your part. They may be easier for guests, but they’re as time-consuming as phone calls for you and your restaurant staff.

What do all of the old ways of taking reservations have in common?

  • You have a limited view. At the end of the day, you’re writing reservations down on paper (or a spreadsheet). The data and insights aren’t easy to share and that limits your opportunities to treat every guest like a regular.
  • You have a lack of table management. To edit booking details while working with paper, your staff will spend precious time cancelling and adding details on the page. It’s a manual system with no overview or even set way of doing things.
  • You need more staff and work hours. Your staff must always be available to answer the phone, listen to voicemail, read an email, or reply to a message on social media. That takes time away from the actual guest experience.
  • You can’t stop no-shows. Try to fight no-shows with a piece of paper. What are you going to do? Staff still need to call or email customers, reminding them of their restaurant reservations. Or hope everyone shows up.


the old way of running a restaurant


Superb’s reservation management platform – the future of online bookings

Your guests live in an instant world. They use their phones for everything from buying plane tickets to finding directions.

Your guests expect to book without having to call someone or queue up. Google searches, online reviews and delicious Instagram profiles allow customers to find (and book) places to eat.

Superb’s restaurant reservation management platform is more than your average digital booking system. It’s the new way to fully run and market your restaurant online.

No commission or pay-per-booking fees

Most online booking systems require you to pay per booking – pay a fee for each guest who makes a reservation online. Superb doesn’t. We want you to succeed, not charge you for increasing your bookings.

Automated bookings that save time

24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Get customers and confirm their booking by email with one click, whenever you want. At a glance, see the number of seats for lunch or dinner every day of the month. Block bookings when the room is closed or full.

Data doesn’t get lost

What happens when the reservations book gets lost or the restaurant manager isn’t there? Valuable insights about regular guests get lost, and you let your customers down. Go with Superb’s online booking platform and that won’t happen.

No-show protection

No-shows (customers who, despite having booked, decide at the last minute not to show up) are a huge problem for Italy’s restaurants. Superb offers no-show protection through the collection of deposits, prepaid tickets or no-show fees. Ask for credit card information, hold it following GDPR guidelines, and charge a fee if the customer doesn’t show or forgets to cancel.

Take bookings directly from your website or social media

77% of customers prefer to book directly from a restaurant’s website. Guests prefer booking directly than going through a website that features other restaurants. With Superb, you can take group reservations with ease.

Looks better and matches your brand

Superb’s reservation platform matches your brand. That means the guest experience starts from the moment a customer clicks the link – it’s your colours, your images, your branding.

Organise your room in a few clicks

View at a glance the seats in the entire room, the occupied and empty tables, with the notes of each reservation. Take it further by moving the tables, pulling them together or adding a new, larger one to quickly change the layout in the room.

Turn one-time customers into regular guests

Make each of your customers feel special. Keep track of their preferences and allergies to prepare for the next visit. Automatically create your customer list, and keep it updated to promote themed events. Easily search customers by name or by phone, and find out how many times they've come to your restaurant.

Use a hybrid approach to reservations

You don’t have to get rid of telephone or email reservations. You can still take walk-ins and phone reservations with Superb. And send email and SMS reminders to avoid no-shows.

Easy to learn

The idea of switching to a digital system may be off-putting for some, but with Superb, you’ll have full mastery in hours, not months.

Go digital and increase your online bookings

"Superb’s GXM platform allows us to focus on the well-being of our guests and eliminates the reconfirmation of telephone reservations. Plus, it automatically sends text messages and emails for confirmation and reminders. We can’t imagine managing the restaurant without this service." — Lorenzo Di Paolantonio of Cum Quibus in San Gimignano, Italy

Are you sure you want to continue in the traditional way?

We’re ready to help you succeed.

See how Superb helps your restaurant go online here. (We speak Italian, too!)

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