If you own a successful restaurant, there is no doubt you have had experience with long lines of hungry patrons on busy weekend nights. While you love to see so many people who love your food, you hate to see people walk away dissatisfied that the wait time was too long for them. You could focus on training your staff on how to turn tables faster and reduce the time it takes for food to make it to the customer, but there is an even easier solution that produces results fast and drives more positive customer experiences. A restaurant waiting app.
Why Restaurant Pagers Don’t Cut It
Restaurant pager systems were an improvement on the old way of the hostess simply calling out as loud as they can to try and catch a party’s attention. Handing customers a beeper that would vibrate and flash its lights obnoxiously when it was time for them to be seated did help reduce walk-outs and customers could wander around the outside of the building to kill time. When customers have their own beeper, polite people would have to return it to the hostess before they decided to leave. This also helped hostesses be able to better estimate the wait times. The restaurant waiting app takes this one step further and allows for even better integration between the restuarant, hostess, and customer.
The restaurant pager system has its drawbacks. With this system, customers don’t get wait time updates. Walk-outs are still likely to occur when potential customers see a crowd of people holding beepers in front of the restaurant. And, when walk-outs do occur, there is the chance that some people will accidentally or advertently take the beeper with them, leading to the need to purchase additional beepers. Depending on what brand beepers and system you use, replacements can be costly.
Perhaps the biggest drawback to the restaurant pager system is that the customers must stay within range of the pager base in order for a signal to be sent to the beeper that alerts the customer. This means your customers are glued to the building and must wait inside or just outside. Other potential customers passing by will still get deterred when they see a crowd waiting. While some people waiting to get seated may enjoy the opportunity to have a smoke break outside, other people in line outside will be aggravated that they have to be outside around smokers and be exposed to the elements. Let’s face it, most restaurants don’t sacrifice a large area for waiting. Overflow will have to wait outside, and no one wants to wait outside for long in cold, rainy, or snowy conditions. With a restaurant waiting app customers are not chained to a beeper range and won’t have to stay as close to the restaurant.
Unsatisfied Customers Means Bad Reviews
When people wait in line, their frustration levels begin to grow exponentially. Things that didn’t bother them before can turn into irritants. Even after they are seated for their meal, the negative feelings that were fostered from waiting in line can carry over and impact their entire experience at your restaurant.
When dissatisfaction reaches a certain level, it can prompt people who never leave online reviews to go into great detail about why they are leaving you 1 star on a review. In today’s time where you can review almost anything, reviews will greatly affect your business’s reputation. Every smart consumer does their research on the products and services they want before they purchase. Online reviews are available to the entire public. The only one who can retract a review is the person who wrote it. All restaurant owners should take great care to avoid getting negative reviews.
New Restaurant Waiting App Replaces Pagers With Convenience
The QLess app has vast benefits over the old restaurant pager systems. With an app to wait in line directly on customers’ mobile phones, you no longer have people walking off with your expensive beeper. As soon as people enter your restaurant, they can remotely join the waiting list on their phone and receive text or voice messages that give them an approximate wait time. They don’t have to stay in the waiting area inside the restaurant or wander around the outside area. They are free to go wherever they want to. Prospective customers will no longer see an intimidating swarm of people waiting to be seated.
Popular restaurants can have wait times well over an hour-long during their busy times. When customers have the opportunity to go where they please while using an app to wait in line, walk-outs are drastically reduced. Giving the customer in-line freedom by using a restaurant waiting app means they can go shopping at nearby retail stores, grab a drink at a local bar, or even just wait in their car to get out of bad weather.
Wait Time Updates
The QLess restaurant waiting app initially gives customers an approximate wait time, but it also gives them new notifications of updated wait times as they move up in line. This helps remind customers who are out and about browsing nearby stores that time is drawing near and they should start making their way back to the restaurant. The app also asks them if they need more time. When customers reply that they do, they are moved back in the queue instead of having to start the line over from the beginning. It’s a perfect system for restaurants everywhere, but especially ones that are inside malls and shopping centers.
Since most Americans own a smartphone, an app to wait in line just makes sense. QLess empowers people to make the best of their time in whatever way they want. When you give customers choices and freedom, they stay happier and more satisfied. Instead of standing around brooding, customers can keep themselves entertained. They will feel like they had better use of their time and bring more positive feelings into your restaurant to complete their dining experience.
Your restaurant staff will thank you, too. With the restaurant business having the highest employee turnover rate among many industries, it is important that you hold on to quality workers by keeping them satisfied with their job. The restaurant waiting app keeps customers more satisfied and encourages them to treat staff with positivity. A better experience with an app to wait in line means they will also be more willing to wait longer for their meal. This is helpful when the kitchen staff is short and meal turnout is taking longer than usual.
Immediate Feedback and Data Analytics
Once your customers have finished their meal and exit the establishment, they are sent a short satisfaction survey through the restaurant waiting app. Research shows that the sooner you send a survey to rate someone’s experience, the more likely they are to complete it. Many companies will send an email survey within a day or two after, but the participation level is subpar compared to immediate, short, mobile surveys.
All of the data collected by QLess is recorded in a convenient dashboard and arranged in charts and figures that are easy to read. Restaurant owners can use this information to improve the quality of food that is served, address issues with staff members, and enhance the experiences of future customers, ensuring more positive reviews, more return visits, and fewer walk-outs.
The restaurant waiting app will also send customers notifications of current deals you are running. Upsell special drinks, meal deals, and desserts. Use your data on customers to tailor and promote specials. Unlike small advertisements on dining tables that might go unnoticed, app notifications will almost definitely grab the customer’s attention because they are already checking their phone for messages about their wait time.
Increased Word of Mouth Recommendations
When customers have a good experience at your restaurant, they tell others. Word of mouth is an important part of marketing for every restaurant. Nothing draws in more local customers better than when people recommend eateries to their friends and family. Recommendations bring in new customers who tell more people about your restaurant. If you have good food and service, your new customers will become regulars. Restaurant waiting apps are new, but they will soon be the future. Impress your customers with an app to wait in line and empower them do as they please while they wait for your services.
The bottom line is that QLess increases customer, staff, and owner satisfaction. The app alleviates congested waiting areas and reduces stress on your hostesses. Accurate data analytics helps you improve efficiency. Restaurant pagers are soon to go the way of movie rental stores and will be replaced by restaurant waiting apps. Don’t let your business get left in the dust with antiquated methods. Let us show you how easy it is to implement and use our custom app to wait in line. Request a free business demo today.