Category Archives: Online Reservations

Teapot Table launches new website and Free 30 Day trial

We have today launched our new website and free 30 day trial. The new site is aimed at being more direct and easy in getting the information you need. The site has been focused on our flagship product and its features.

We’ve removed information about our telephone, printing and website services, don’t worry we still offer these. We believe that by focusing our attentions on our main product, we can produce a much better and higher quality service. If you are looking for printing, telephone and web design please contact us.

The best way to see the product is to try it, that’s why you don’t need to enter any payment information when registering for the trial. If you like the product and wish to stay with us all your data will be saved and you can continue using the system will all your data. Some items have been disabled in the trial, you cannot send email marketing messages or text messages. You can upgrade your account to a full paid account at any time to access these features. When you fully upgrade you are also entitled to a free website, please contact us and we’ll arrange the website to be transferred to us, or a new website setup.

We have many more features in the pipeline, but would really like to get more restaurants feedback on what’s important to them, and what they want to see next. Please do send us any recommendations you have on new features, or what to improve. We’re always looking for restaurants to trial exciting new features with,

What are you waiting for get your free 30 day trial now! If you have any questions you can contact us or send us an email at sales@teapottable.com.

We are working on updating the blog and other items to the new website design, so please excuse the mess.

Teapot Table Restaurant Booking Software

One of the question we get asked is why we offer an online booking system rather than installable Restaurant booking software for Windows, Mac or other operating systems. So we have listed the top reasons below.

Why not check out our Restaurant Management software?

Our system is continuously updated

We add new features all the time, often from suggestions from our customers. Software usually works for only one operating system and becomes quickly outdated.

Pay monthly instead of high upfront costs

Instead of having to purchase the software outright, at a large cost, you can pay smaller monthly fees.  You will be safe in the knowledge that your system is being constantly updated, monitored and tested. If you buy software at a one off cost you are on your own, and that software may become outdated within the year, which makes a monthly fee Teapot Table offers great value.

Works on all devices, now and in the future

Our system will work on all web browsers from old to new, mobile phone to TV. We keep updating our system at no extra cost to you so all new devices can easily access your booking system. We make sure the booking system works with all devices, including mobile phones, laptops, tablets and desktops.

How do I install Restaurant booking software?

With other solutions you would have to read the instruction manual you received with your software. If the software is made for a specific operating system you would need to install it on that. If your software is web based, you would need to install it on your website hosting provider.

Can I install your Restaurant Booking software on my server?

Teapot Table only offers a fully managed hosted solution, so you would not have to install any software on your server. You can integrate our online booking software on your web server with a few simple lines of JavaScript and HTML.

Our solution is custom made

Our restaurant booking software is bespoke and custom made fit in with our feature rich restaurant management system. It is built from the ground up to make it as easy as possible for you and your customer to use.
Unlike other booking software, we do not shoehorn existing open source software into a booking system. We created our own specifically for this task.

Any questions? Please contact us

Top Tips for Restaurants Reservations

Online, Telephone and Walk-in Restaurant Reservations

This blog post will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of various restaurant reservation methods, and will give some top tips for restaurants when considering how to take table bookings.

Should you take restaurant reservations at all?

Firstly, lets look at some pros and cons of taking restaurant bookings.

Disadvantages:

  • Absent customers / no shows lead to loss of revenue
  • Holding tables when customers are late for reservations also results in revenue loss
  • Changing party sizes involves reshuffling tables around to accommodate them

Advantages:

  • Special occasions often wish to book ahead
  • Planning bookings ahead often leads to better customer service as staff are prepared
  • Customers get a sense of good service if they are greeted and seated quickly, rather than enduring a long wait
  • Taking table reservations allows you to naturally build a valuable customer database
  • Accommodate large parties which often leads to more revenue directly; and even indirectly via word of mouth

Overall, I’d say taking table reservations is important, but there are various methods you should consider, which we’ll be discussing now.

Walk-in bookings

Although most reservations are done over the phone or online, during busy periods it may become necessary to maintain a waiting list.

The benefits of keeping a table waiting list include reducing table turn around times, which both increases efficiency and believe it or not, can encourage new customers to give your restaurant a go. This is unofficially referred to as the “busy restaurant theory”, which applies to many walks of life; customers assume that the restaurant must be good if it is busy, and others are willing to wait to be seated. It’s all about psychology I guess. Or is it simply logical?

The disadvantage of keeping a waiting list is the management and floor space required to keep customers entertained. Finally, if poorly managed, uncertain / inaccurate waiting times can often irritate customers and cause them to leave. This may lead to customers never returning…

Online Table Reservations

One of the main concerns with restaurant owners when it comes to the use of online restaurant reservations is whether or not it encourages no-shows.

Based on a recent study carried out at a popular Mediterranean restaurant in Sheffield, we found that in fact no-showing customers, are not a major concern.

Often restaurants request deposits or credit card details to reserve, however, this can discourage even those who are genuinely looking to reserve online, or by telephone. This problem is particularly the case for smaller, less well known and independent restaurants.

How can restaurants discourage / prevent no-shows?

One method which has been adopted by many restaurants now days is to replace credit card details upon reservation with other customer information such as:

  • email
  • telephone number
  • postcode

This is said to discourage customers from not showing up for table reservations, or at least it encourages them to give the restaurant notice of the cancellation in advance.

Online table reservations are the perfect way to build a customer database, excusing you from the laborious tasks involved in maintaining a list of customers manually. This of it like this:

The customer is providing their data entry services AND bringing you custom to your restaurant.

It also reduces the chances of spelling mistakes, which are too common when taking telephone bookings.

One thing to consider when using an online reservation tool is that you need to ensure that you have tables available to accommodate the party at the time they have reserved. Teapot Table offer a solution to this problem with their restaurant management system and online table booking module.

Online table booking enquiries are completely different to online reservations. Flat form enquiries should be discouraged as they require staff time, and require lots of work for a relatively low conversion rate.

Instead, the customer should be able to see if a table is available on a given date for a given party size at a given time on your online booking module. Teapot Table’s booking module provides just that.

Telephone reservations

Telephone bookings are necessary, but can often result in miscommunication in terms of spelling customer names, telephone numbers, dates and times.

It is recommended that the customer is reminded about their booking via a confirmation email at the time of the booking, followed by a reminder a day or two before the sitting. This allows the customer to double check the details are correct, or contact the restaurant if necessary to amend them.

Teapot Table’s dashboard provides restaurant employee with a simple data entry system which automatically populates customer specific fields if it detects that the customer already exists in the database. The advantages of this are:

  • Speeds up the telephone reservation process
  • Clearly shows availability to staff so they can advise over the phone
  • Checks spelling
  • Validates emails, telephone numbers etc
  • Sends the customer an automatic confirmation email.

One of the most important things to remember when it comes to table reservations, is that it is all about customer service and satisfaction. Building a customer database is just one of the perks…

How our online reservation module works

Online reservation module

We recently launched our online reservation module, which allows restaurants to take online table bookings from any device. You can read about our online reservation management launch to find out a bit about us.

In this short post, we’ll be running through a few features of the online booking module, how it works and what makes it unique.

No drop downs

To make the interface as easy to use with every device, we designed the interface to avoid using any drop down menus. You will find many articles on the web regarding the pros and cons of drop downs as an input; they work well on mobile devices, but are fiddly to use and hide content.

We believe users shouldn’t have to go looking in drop down menus to see what options they have. All content should be obvious and easy to find.

Here at Teapot Table, we use sliders and buttons instead, ensuring that all content is visible to the user. Sliders work well with touch screen sliding, and can be dragged with a mouse.

slider

Slider to select the number of people

To make it even easier we also added the plus and minus buttons so that users can increment the number of people (party size) by clicking instead. The presence of the graphical stick men reinforces the selection, while adding a bit of personality to the form.

Reinforce Selection

Reminding and confirming to the user about what they have already entered reassures the user that they have not made any mistakes. Change buttons also allow a user to easily modify the number of people, date and time.

At every stage of the booking process we keep the user updated on how many guests they have selected, the date and time by displaying this information as the user inputs further information.

When the booking is confirmed, the details are once again presented to the user along with their booking reference code. If the user has requested that the booking system should remember them, the data is persistent across browser refreshes and sessions. So if the user comes back to double check their booking later that day, the information will be open and waiting for them on the booking page.

Date selection

Selecting a date and time

Selecting a date and time

One key improvement we wished to implement, which most other booking systems make hard work of, changing the date.

Imagine that once you have selected your date, you find that the time you want is unavailable. Normally you would have to go back to the previous screen, change the date, then try again. This process could repeat until you get fed up and find somewhere else.

We have improved this process by allowing you to select the date on the left and then instantly see which times are available on the right, without having to “go back”.

We’ve worked hard to make this process as fast and as easy to use as possible, even on a mobile data connection, the available times will load quickly.

If this is something you think your restaurant, or a restaurant you provide a website for would be interested in, please do contact us

There’s plenty more where that came from, we’ll be posting about other features shortly.

Online Restaurant Management Launch

Online Restaurant Management

Teapot Table are a young, innovative and agile company who focus on applying the latest technologies to make life easier for both restaurants and customers.

Our agile approach to development involves constant feedback from live restaurants.

The close relationships we maintain with our restaurants enable us to produce products that solve problems, speed up processes and are extremely easy to use.

Teapot Table concentrate on customers, and we have a different outlook to most; getting customers through the door is one thing, but maintaining a good relationship with your customers so that they return, is another.

The Teapot Table dashboard allows you to build your own customer database, and one of our unique selling points is this:

  • You (the restaurant) will be the only people to have access to the customers in your database.

The dashboard focuses on management:

  • Reservation Management (telephone, walk-in and internet)
  • Customer Database Management
  • Website Management
  • Promotion/Voucher code Management
  • Customer Relationship Management

It also allows you to see vast amounts of data regarding your customers, how they booked, how much they spent, along with useful historical graphs such as the total number of bookings per day.

Today marks the official release of our latest product; an online customer-facing reservation module which plugs directly into the dashboard, and compliments the existing walk-in and telephone reservation management system. This equips you with a customer facing reservation system which can be embedded into your own website and other websites as online advertisements.
To show you how easy it is to embed in your own website, here is the online table booking system in this WordPress post!

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Why not try it out… Use voucher code: “demo”

To celebrate and promote our latest product, our Online Restaurant Management system, for a limited time only, we are offering a free mobile, tablet & PC compatible website (optional) to any restaurants which sign up.

The customer facing reservation module allows you to be in direct contact with your online market, which is simply a must for any business today.

In order to develop our latest product, we have worked closely with several restaurant owners, along with their staff and customers.

Here is a selection of new features which are included:

  • Ability to set open/close times on specific days
  • Specify sitting times for special events
  • Take large bookings easily by allowing our advanced virtual table system to utilise pre-defined table combinations to cater for larger parties
  • Take special offer/promotional  bookings (online, magazines, etc.) within predefined valid date & time ranges by allowing the customer to enter their voucher codes online
  • Generate custom voucher/promotional codes for adverts, or even just for individual customers.

We are currently developing a revolutionary POS system. Stay tuned for more information.

For more information please contact us.