There are different online booking systems for restaurants and cafes and there are significant differences in both price and functionality. On this page you can compare different online booking systems including features and prices.
We have made this comparison guide to help you figure out which booking system that best suits your needs and wishes.
Du kan også se denne sammenligning af priser på dansk.
Restaurant booking system overview
Information about booking systems for restaurators
|DinnerBooking.com||DinnerBooking is one of the biggest players in the market and was established in 2005. The system is used by about 850 restaurants and cafés in Denmark and abroad. DinnerBooking is one of the few that has an iOS and Android app. In addition, they cooperate with Politiken iByen which means that people can book a table directly from there.||More »|
|BookEtBord||BookEtBord was established in 2006 and offers a web-based booking system for restaurants and cafes. Today they are used by about 50 restaurants and cafes. They integrate with online POS that delivers cash solutions for the restaurant industry.||More »|
|Bookatable||Bookatable (former livebookings.com) was established in 2004 and offers a web-based reservation service. It’s a London-based company and used by about 20 restaurants in Denmark.||More »|
|Bordibyen||Bordibyen has existed since 2012 and is owned by Cofoco. The system has most of the standard features and is used by about 15 restaurants in addition Cofoco’s 10 own restaurants.||More »|
|easyTableBooking||easyTableBooking.com was established in 2009 and offers a simple booking system for restaurants and cafes. Today easytablebooking.dk is used by about 50 smaller restaurants and cafés in Denmark.||More »|
How do I choose the best online booking system for my restaurant?
There are a lot of online booking systems for restaurants and it may feel insurmountable to get an overview. A bad choice can have consequences. With a busy restaurant you do not have the time or desire to do the same work over and over again. Also, it would be a shame if there is a mess in the booking system and you do not have control of your bookings. Therefore, we have made this overview of some good restaurant booking systems that you can begin with.
Restaurant booking systems are for all restaurant sizes
Booking systems for restaurants are to a high degree part of the business when operating a modern restaurant or café. Both the little restaurant and the large multi-storey restaurant can get significant gains in the activity of the business when switching to an online booking system. The various booking systems are very different but they all allow guests to book a table online in the restaurant.
Both guests and restaurant win when you use an online booking system
Your focus has to be on the guests in the restaurant. On the other hand guests who are calling you during service do not have patience to wait for you to answer. This brings an additional pressure in the restaurant during service when you stand in the middle of presenting a wine for your guests with the phone constantly ringing in the background. There’s no doubt that both you and your guests will benefit from an online booking system.
Make the choice of booking system easier
It can be very difficult to decide which booking system is right for your restaurant. But if you structure the process you don’t have to give up half way. Start by making a list of features and needs that you think are important.
You might want to have a special event (Valentines dinner, Easter or Christmas lunch) which you would like to sell tickets for. Or you would like to accommodate no shows for which there are different prepayment solutions. With these solutions you enter an attendance guarantee from the guest by the way of a partial prepayment. You may also want to print a function sheet for the day that you can go through with your colleagues. There are many things to take into account. Therefore, look at your list and divide your points into need-to-have (important) and nice-to-have (nice to have but you survive without).
Now with your main subjects you can look at how the different booking systems handle the various subjects. If it’s vital being able to sell tickets for your special events, then you look at who can sell event tickets. Proceed with the systems that make the most sense with your subjects in mind.
When you have larger dinner parties or groups
The more the merrier. If you have extra premises for major events or if you have many dinner parties it might be a good idea to investigate the order functions of the different booking systems.
It’s about finding a tool where you quickly and easily can view dinner parties and larger groups in your restaurant including all the important information such as the food, prices, allergies etc. In addition, it is also important to take into account how the restaurant staff and kitchen can access this information. Is it in separate documents or a single? Can the document be printed or only viewed online?
Market your restaurant
In many ways marketing can be foundation for your restaurant becoming known on the market and/or creating revenue. There are many different options and online platforms to promote your restaurant.
- Events or speciel days
An obvious opportunity for marketing is email marketing which is extremely effective as you have the opportunity to reach the right audience. There are booking systems available on the market, which offer an integrated newsletter system in the booking system. The advantage of using an integrated system is that you do not have to spend time and resources exporting data from one system to another.
In order to create visibility for your restaurant you can host events and it does not necessarily require a lot of money. An event has PR value and has the possibility for additional sales and reach new potential guests.
Examples of events
- Live music
- Winemaker’s dinner
- Christmas lunch
- New year
There are many possibilities for hosting events at your restaurant and it certainly does not have to be comprehensive or expensive! Small, simple and targeted events can easily pass through.
Newly opened restaurants can create extra awareness about their opening by running an opening offer or special tasting menu.
A weekday evening at your restaurant. Would you like to treat your guests with good food on a regular weekday, then you can create an affordable menu. It does not have to be anything fancy, but good food and focus on the comfort and family time.
You can use events to make a good deal on the less busy evenings so you can enjoy an otherwise quiet day. For example, it could be a 3 course menu where the guest saves an amount. Furthermore, an event on a weekday can be followed by a newsletter.
Bank holidays and special days. Most bank holidays and special days are associated a tradition and here it is obvious to offer special menus.
|Newsletters are a very established way to market a restaurant and it remains one of the most important and profitable forms of online marketing.|
Through your newsletter you can create relationships with existing and potential guests thus increasing your chances of remembering your restaurant next time they are going out to eat. There are a lot of benefits of having a newsletter. A newsletter is a simpel and effective way to communicate directly to your guests and it costs almost nothing.
With a newsletter you will be sent directly to the guest’s inbox and here you have the oppertunity to get larger visibility and increased traffic on your website. Hopefully, it will lead to more guests in the restaurant. Be sure to harvest email addresses immediately and make sure that your guests know that they have signed up and what they have signed up to.
See if the booking system has the possibility of collecting email addresses and how you can use them to send a newsletter.
For most restaurant owners it is difficult to go ahead with sending newsletters. Most people can easily see the benefits of using a newsletter but many do not know how to get started.
|Here is a short check list to send out your first or next newsletter.|
Write to your ideal guest
Remember, to begin with it’s not you and your restaurant in itself that your recipient is interested in. On the other hand it’s the value you can offer the guest. Therefore, when you need to find content for your newsletters you should keep in mind “what do I have that my recipient want?”. Who would you like to have in your restaurant and who is on your email list. Put yourself in the recipient’s place and speak to her/his needs – what do my guests want to know?
From the begining you can benefit from your list with recipients which consists of people who have explicity requested newsletters from exactly you. Good content could for example be a new description of a menu, a good deal you offer or a competition. Winning a dinner for two is obvious.
There are many things you can do to achieve success with your newsletter. But it all comes down to good, relevant content that people want to read. Content is king!
Who is the sender of your newsletter?
Consider who the sender of your newsletter is. A good starting point is always having your restaurant name as sender. By doing this there’s no doubt who the newsletter comes from.
In addition, you can consider whether you want to combine the restaurant name with a personal name like “Kasper from (restaurant name)”. By doing this, the newsletter is personalized slightly and the recipient experiences the fact that there is actually a human being writing the newsletters.
You will never guess what happened afterwards!
It’s crucial that you catch the attention of the recipient already in the subject area, or else your newsletter will drown in the crowd. Next it’s all about the headlines in the newsletter.
An important thing to keep in mind is the good old theorem that says a good headline should be “edgy, inspirational and exhaustive”. This means the headline should awaken interest and last but not least it should indicate what the content is about. So the headline for this section “You will never guess what happened afterwards!” is not good at all, because it doesn’t say anything about the content. If you just type “Newsletter from (restaurant name)” in the subject line, the click rate will most likely be low.
Instead experiment with different types of headlines and see what works, for example:
“New menu – Are you curious?”
“Win a dinner for two”
“Get the chef’s secret favourite recipe”
Make it short
A good newsletter equals a plain newsletter. People do not have time to read through long-drawn text blocks and lets just be honest, you do not have time to write them. Therefore, take a quick look and make sure that your content is more like an overview than an elaborated, information heavy text.
Make the text in the newsletter like small teasers to give the guest the desire to read more and click on to your website. In connection to this it could also be a good idea to use quality pictures to have an eye-catcher.
Do not send too often. The more you send the less power your emails get and it perceives spammy.
Tell what you want the recipient to do
The newsletter works as an overview or a teaser. You want your readers to continue to your booking calendar, Facebook site, blog or other where they can read more or book a table.
A distinct call to action button is crusial. As the name indicates it is an invitation to the receiver that (s)he should take action. What it is specific is up to you to define, as the sender. Most important is that it is clear where to press.
Let your guests be spontaneous
When you look at a pontential booking system it has to support your restaurant and your guests’ desires. Guests have never been more spontaneous than what they are today. Therefore, for minor restaurants it is advisable to offer guests the oppertunity to book with short notice. Many guests book a table the same day, they are going out to eat. Today it is more used to eat out on quite ordinary weekdays and guests have become more spontaneous when it comes to booking a table.
Not all restaurants need short time between booking a table and seating. If you for example have a full restaurant it makes sense that you have more time to prepare for service and know your capacity to receive bookings with short notice so give the guests the possibility. This is another way to meet their wishes and hopefully get more happy (and spontaneous) guests in the restaurant.
Whichever system fits your restaurant and budget best, an online booking system is important if you want your restaurant to succeed. Most important is to find the provider and tool that works best for you and allow your guests to book online.