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Restaurant Apps & Fragmentation: Making a Reservation

By Jay O'Sullivan

Have you ever made a restaurant reservation online only to show up at the restaurant and find that your table isn’t ready or your server is way overbooked? With reservation apps such as Open Table, Reserve, Seven Room, and Yelp constantly competing for diners business the restaurant industry is becoming increasingly fragmented.

While diners have the luxury of going from one app to the next, or using various platforms to make their reservations, restaurateurs need to decide which platform is the best for their business. The first point of contact between a restaurant and a potential guest is very important so when choosing to hand that over to an outside company restaurateurs need to choose wisely.

These Apps Come With a Cost

Most of the reservation apps such as Yelp’s SeatMe platform, Reserve, and other similar apps charge a flat monthly rate for their table management software. On the other hand, some platforms such as Open Table charge a flat monthly rate in addition to a fee per reservation increasing costs for restaurant owners.

For example, Open Table has an average start-up cost of $1295; this is for their software, installation and training. After the $1295 start-up fee they charge an average monthly rate of $199 plus an additional monthly rate of $99 to be featured in their dining guide.

Finally, in addition to all the monthly fees they also charge the restaurant a fee every time a reservation is booked using their platform – so if a customer books on the Open Table website the restaurant is charged $1.00. The restaurant is also charged a fee of around $0.25 even if a reservation is booked on the restaurant’s own website.

Receiving a charge every time someone books a reservation can really add up and eat into profits.

Receiving a charge every time someone books a reservation can really add up and eat into profits, especially for reservation-driven restaurants vs. traffic-driven restaurants. With so many reservation apps popping up onto the dining scene, and prices getting more competitive between them, restaurateurs have more options and have started being more selective about which company they hand their reservation management over to.

More than Reservations

Many restaurants are looking to these reservation platforms for more than just reservation management. If you are already paying a monthly fee for software, and all of your wait staff is trained on the software already, why not also look to that software for help with overall restaurant management? Companies such as Seatninja have created a special niche for themselves in the reservation app scene by providing restaurants with front of the house management tools as well as analytics about their diners and how consumers found them.

Some common issues diners run into when using reservation apps are finding few or no tables during peak dining hours or having trouble booking reservations for large parties or odd-numbered parties. Utilizing reservation software that is able to do more than merely book tables provides restaurants with more bang for their bucks while also giving them useful tools to help them better manage wait times, server scheduling, and analyze which hours and days are the peak dining times for their establishment. Not only are platforms such as this a more cost effective way to get seats in your restaurant filled, they also provide important management tools all for one reasonable price.

Transforming the Reservation App Scene

Seatninja has created a platform that provides so many tools for their clients for such a reasonable price it’s a wonder how other reservation apps are maintaining clientele of their own. For only $148 a month, with no long term contract required, Seatninja offers a full front of the house and restaurant management software that not only provides diners with a platform to make reservations but provides restaurateurs with a platform to track all the analytics they need to ensure quality customer service and inevitable expansion.

Restaurants such as Joe’s Crabshack and Outback Steakhouse have already made the switch to Seatninja

Seatninja’s Front of House service provides the restaurant with data such as: how much traffic they are getting, the number of covers and parties seated, the number of tables per server, how each guest found the restaurant, the percentage of guests drawn that completed their reservation versus how many cancellations they had, dining times by party size, wait times, and many more. Having analytics such as these can be life changing for a restaurant owner or manager. This software provides them with all the information necessary to ensure their wait staff are not under or over scheduled, their food supply is not under or over stocked so it remains fresh, and whether their customers are satisfied with their dining experience or not.

Growing through word of mouth referrals as well as leadership and technology shows Seatninja is expanding their presence in the reservation app market. Restaurants such as Joe’s Crabshack and Outback Steakhouse have already made the switch to Seatninja, utilizing their software to manage their reservations as well as streamline their front of house management.

With Seatninja’s software restaurateurs can access all of their data and policies through a web portal using any browser or device. The host and hostesses can easily and swiftly navigate the system completing tasks in one to two touches and owners or managers can check in on their restaurant from anywhere at any time. Seatninja has also worked hard to ensure they are user friendly and accessible for diners, offering features such as the “jump in line” button for diners who do not want to wait for a table and providing diners with restaurant’s addresses, phone numbers, menus and one click buttons to easily call.

Seatninja is the most cost effective reservation app system and truly offers above and beyond what restaurateurs expect to get from the software. Seatninja lets owners and managers focus on great food and impeccable service, freeing up their time and attention for where it really needs to be. If you want to make the seating and consumer process easier on yourself and ensure your guests enjoy their experience from the time they hit the door to the time they leave, reach out to us for more information on making Seatninja the platform for your restaurant.