ResDiary Guarantees – Securely hold guest credit card details with no charge.
Be it a 200 seater bustling dining establishment or a smaller local restaurant, in an industry with margins as low as 3-5%*, an empty table is a big issue. In fact, in some major tourist cities across the world, it is said not to be unusual for up to 20% of diners unaccounted for. Think of the missed opportunities and impact to the restaurants’ bottom line.
It’s not a new problem; no-shows are the well documented scourge of hospitality. The difference now is that technology exists that will allow restaurateurs to safeguard against the lost revenue of no-shows. Sounds compelling. Read on for details of this new technology, and some general advice on how you can ensure damage limitation for this industry-wide issue compiled by our expert team at ResDiary.
“As a business which specialises in freshly baked, hand made produce we must ensure that wastage is reduced wherever possible to ensure we can continue to offer high quality food at an affordable price. Therefore, the ability to capture customer’s card details using ResDiary and Stripe has been a great help to us. Since enabling ResDiary Guarantees for our online bookings, we have seen the number of ’no show’ bookings drop significantly to almost zero. This ensures that no food goes to waste, and that we are able to continue offering freshly prepared produce with reduced wastage costs.” – Ben Howell, General Manager – Cup Glasgow
Securely hold guest credit card details
First, let’s talk about this new technology. ResDiary has introduced the free facility, called ResDiary Guarantees to securely hold your guests credit card details when they make a booking using Tokenization. If they don’t show up, you can charge the a cancellation fee as dictated by your restaurant’s terms and conditions. There’s no set up or integration charges for this new feature which is available for all ResDiary accounts. The only cost involved is a 1% transaction fee if you ever need to charge a card**.
You can view further information about ResDiary Guarantees here
Be clear about your cancellation policy
A clear cancellation policy is essential. Let the customer know clearly their cancellation window – and the penalties incurred (if any) for a late arrival or cancellation.
Ensure you are notified about cancellations
Set up cancellation notifications to an email address of your choice to receive immediate notifications of a cancelled booking.
Make it part of your service to give a clear, prompt confirmation by email to your customer of their booking to reduce likelihood of misunderstandings on the booking day or time. Your ResDiary automated confirmations can be fully customised to your branding, your style, and your tone.
Call to confirm
While this isn’t possible in every case, a call to confirm a reservation is generally appreciated. As an added benefit you can log this interaction in your ResDiary account either as a telephone confirmation, or as an attempt to contact the guest.
If you’re only calling VIP or large parties, you can set up a reminder at the time of reservation for nearer the date for a member of staff to call to confirm too via ResDiary.
At a glance, you can see the confirmation status of a table (confirmed, unconfirmed, contact attempted) by using ‘View Management’ in your ResDiary. See confirmation status view below:
In this example, Richard and Claire’s reservations have been confirmed, Kris and Mike’s reservations have not yet been confirmed, and a member of staff has unsuccessfully tried to call Jennifer to confirm her booking.
See ResDiary Helpdesk tutorial article below:
Make it easy to cancel
While this sounds counter-productive, the more notice about a cancellation you can achieve, the better. It’s also part of your customer service; if you make it pain-free to cancel a reservation, it also gives this interaction a positive slant that helps achieve a positive image of your establishment.
You can set up permissions on your online bookings widget to allow the customer to cancel or even edit their reservation online. This eliminates the need for a phone call, which is ideal if the customer can’t get through first time. The customer will receive an updated confirmation or cancellation notice, and you’ll know in advance of a free table for the evening – which you can re-sell.
While you’re doing everything you can to prevent or minimise lost business through no-shows, there are unfortunately in some cases those guests who will keep offending. For this reason, it’s important to be able to avoid the problems associated with serial no-show guests.
As a last measure, ResDiary provides the means to manually ‘block’ these customers, essentially taking away the right to book into your diary online.
See ResDiary Helpdesk tutorial article below:
ResDiary Hospitality Industry Survey
Every month, ResDiary will run an industry survey on a trending topic, and freely share the aggregate results via our blog and social media pages. We’d very much appreciate a few minutes of your time to take our (anonymous) survey below.
*Wall Street Journal – Knives out for no-show diners
**Our Tokenization provider also charges a small fee per transaction, you can see these here