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Updated 30th May at 18.14 CET

Improve your waitlist management with a digital waitlist for restaurants

Maja Jankowska's photo

Maja Jankowska


Long lines of hungry guests queuing outside, waiting to get a table, could be a very well-known scenario for many restaurants. Any eatery would be thrilled to have people lining up to get a table, it must mean that business is going well, right? Or could it mean that the staff is running around stressing about how to seat all these hungry people while also offering great customer service to the already-seated guests. Long lines could signal that this venue is popular and worth a visit, but it could also send a signal that things are a bit hectic here and that the staff lacks efficiency. A digital waitlist is the answer to these issues.

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Many things can impact restaurant wait times, and regardless of how well-organized the staff is, it is not always possible to avoid crowded waiting areas. Although, a digital restaurant waitlist is a very good way to increase efficiency and avoid crowded waiting lines. Worst case, long lines can scare away potential guests who pass by. Keep on reading if you want to know how to run a successful waitlist management.

Restaurant guests are looking for convenience

In todays’ digital era, customers are more or less, looking for optimal convenience in their daily activities. Everything, and many services, can nowadays be provided super quickly, and with just a few clicks, on a smart phone. Customers don’t want to wait anymore and are now looking for the most convenient solutions to many daily doings. This brings us to the question, would customers rather stand in a long line at a restaurant, not even knowing when they will get a table, or would they rather grab their phone and with a few clicks find some other place where they can quickly get a table? The second scenario is very likely. A digital waitlist is the solution to this issue and ensures that you don’t miss out on customers who don’t want to waste time standing in line. Offer your customers to stand in line, digitally, while they take care of other errands in the meanwhile. The digital waitlist basically makes sure that your guests are standing in line, without actually being at the restaurant. Smart, right?

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What are the benefits of a digital waitlist?

  • Provide the guests with the freedom and convenience to wait from anywhere
  • Eliminate over-crowded waiting lines
  • Give guests online information about when a table is ready for them
  • Digital waitlist is easier to manage for the staff than a crowded line
  • Avoid stressing the staff with so they can focus on the service
  • Save the restaurant time and effort in organizing the waitlist
  • Gives the guests an overall better experience

How does the digital waitlist work?

The digital waitlist by resOS offers great flexibility and many options for achieving the desired efficiency in waitlist management. You can choose to let guests add themselves to the digital waiting list directly through the booking widget on your website. This option works great in case the guest can’t find an available table. Instead of calling the restaurant to ask when they can get a table, or find some other place, they can simply add themselves to the waitlist. Beside, it is also possible for the staff to manually add guests to the waitlist. This feature will save the staff time and optimize the whole waiting list process as it all becomes streamlined.

With a digital waitlist management system you can transform the, potentially chaotic, pen and paper waitlist into a streamlined system that helps your staff better organize and optimize waiting times. Beside optimizing the process for staff thus increasing efficiency.

The system will automatically notify the guest via SMS and/or e-mail when there is an available table for them, thus, streamlining the whole process. The feature aims at saving the restaurant time and effort in organizing the waitlists while also giving the guests a better experience. What’s not to like? The resOS’ restaurant waitlist feature helps you both improve your wait times and better organize your waitlist.

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How to reduce waitlist abandonment and increase customer satisfaction

Digital waitlist or not, there will of course always be a small risk that the customer will decide to go somewhere else while they are waiting in line. It could be that even though they don’t have to wait in line outside the restaurant, they still find that the wait times are too long. Another scenario could be that the guest gets distracted during the wait times and suddenly make other plans, which can lead to waitlist abandonment, and loosing that customer (hopefully not forever). A way to prevent that the customer gets distracted or maybe even forget that they are virtually standing in line, is to notify the customer with SMS reminders and updates.

Check out resOS’ SMS reminder feature and minimize no-shows table booking reminders SMS reminder feature on resOS app

If you want to even further minimize the chance that guests abandon the waitlist, another way to keep the guests is by offering them a nice and cozy waiting area. It could be seats at the bar where they can enjoy a delicious drink while waiting for their table. It could also be a restaurant lounge with some good music and comfortable atmosphere. In this way, you keep the guests close and away from possible distractions. You could have the menu available where the guest is waiting to allow them to already get an idea about what they want to order, then, when they get their table, they will already be ready to order and minimize additional waiting time.

Read also our blog post about 10 must-have apps for restaurant owners in 2022 (Prices + reviews) Apps for phone

Need any help with using the digital waitlist? 

We recommend you check out this cool feature and experience how it can help you give your guests an even better experience at your restaurant. Do not hesitate with contacting us if you need any help or have questions about the feature. You can reach us at [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you.

Frequently asked questions

What is a digital restaurant waitlist?

A digital waitlist is a way of effectively managing queues at your restaurant. The resOS' waitlist feature helps you improve wait times and better organize your waitlist. Also, guests can sign up themselves to the waitlist via the booking widget/flow.

Why is waitlist management important to restaurants?

An overcrowded restaurant with people standing in line and impatiently waiting for a table can be a stressfull situation for the staff. You also risk that the guests leave to find some other place to dine. With a digital waitlist the guests will be notified when a table is available, thus making it easier for the staff to manage.

What is the best waitlist management system for restaurants?

There are different options to choose from on the market when looking for a waitlist management system. resOS offers a very user-friendly and flexible system that makes it easy for you to manage waitlists. You can try the feature 100% for free, and with no binding.

How much does a waitlist management system cost?

If you choose to work with resOS' restaurant booking system then you don't have to worry at all about costs. The waitlist feature, as well as all other resOS features, will already be included in your subscription, so you don't have to pay extra for any features.

Any other questions?

Do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you.

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