Keeping your restaurant full while providing a seamless guest experience can present interesting challenges. On the one hand, you want to encourage guests to make reservations. On the other, you rely on walk-in traffic. During peak hours, walk-in traffic can become overwhelming and create long wait times while last-minute reservation cancellations can affect your bottom line. The solution? Communication with your guests. With this in mind, Yelp Reservations created Inbox, a feature that gives you and your guests the ability to send and receive customized text messages.
Impress Your Guests
With Inbox, you and your front of house staff can provide a better dining experience from beginning to end with less work. Need to confirm a reservation or notify a guest when their table is ready? No need to pick up the phone or page a bulky buzzer—simply send them a pre-set or customized text message through their reservation using Inbox. In turn, guests can reply with their own message—confirming their reservation, letting the restaurant know they’re running late, or informing them of any special requests they may have.
Regulars on your wait list can also be given the red-carpet treatment. When their name is added to the wait list, you will be notified of any special tags such as dietary restrictions or VIP status. You can then customize your texts based on their information, for example, “You’re table is ready and we have a gluten-free menu just for you!”
Tiffany Ruffa, Front of House Manager at Mozzeria, a restaurant in San Francisco, believes this has helped her staff have more control of the guest experience and saved them time. “Instead of making individual phone calls to customers with an average of one minute per phone call, which also ties up our phone line, we use the text option that takes an average of two seconds per text. This is a much better use of our resources. The FOH staff have more time to interact with the dining customers.”
Make More Money
In addition to giving your guests a better dining experience, Inbox can decrease the number of people who walk away from your wait list. Even if your wait is an hour long, guests are more willing to wait longer when they know they can receive updates on the status of their table directly on their phone. Guests are able to text the restaurant back as well. If they decide to head to the bar next door to grab a drink, they can text you, letting your host know they are “finishing up a drink down the street and running 15 minutes late.” Your host can then seat another party knowing that they will have another table available by the time they return.
Mozzeria has seen great results using Inbox. “We get confirmation as well as cancellation texts within minutes. This, in turn, either secures their spot or frees up seats for other potential diners. We have noticed a decrease in no-shows since using Inbox,” said Tiffany.
At the end of the day, both parties want to get butts in seats as soon as possible. Inbox will help you do more of that, faster. What does Ruffa love most about Inbox? “We love how it connects us directly to the customer. There is no language barrier in relaying information. Plus, the customer still has full control and can opt-out from receiving text messages at anytime.”