Friday, July 15, 2016

Quoting accurate restaurant wait times

waitku.com
When it comes to quoting wait times to guests, it can be a guessing game. Especially if you do not use any software and purely quote an educated guess based on past experience. For many restaurants, the safe path is to over quote — give a long wait time so that if you seat a person sooner, they are happier.

A restaurant using software can get pretty accurate with the wait times if they have a system dialed in correctly. The Waitku app uses a lot of settings in its wait time calculation algorithm. Let's take a look at them.

Table sizes
The first item is the tables and how many they will seat. For example, let's say you have a 5-top round table. You can tell the system that you want to seat 3-6 people there. You don't want to occupy it with only 1-2 people, yet at the other end, you can throw an extra chair on the table to go up to six. Waitku takes this spread into account when assigning tables.

Turn times
Table sizes are assigned turn times for each meal. A 4-top might have a 60 minute turn time at lunch, but a 75 minute turn time at dinner. These times are also tracked by Waitku.

Pacing
How many covers are you willing to serve during each interval? You want a number that your staff and kitchen can handle without getting overwhelmed.

Seated parties
Waitku also keeps track of the people who are already seated at tables and how long they've been seated there. For instance, if the Brown party of four has been seated at the table for 15 minutes and the system has the turn time for a 4-top at 60 minutes, the system knows that in 45 minutes, that table should normally be vacating.

Waitlist 
Finally, the system looks at the waitlist and how many people are already on it for how long. 

All these factors are used in the calculation of a wait time estimate so that when a person comes up and ask how long the wait is for four people, you can see a time, pad it a bit, and reply, "The wait would be about 15-20 minutes."

Presented by Guest Innovations. Be sure to check out our affordable hospitality products RezkuWaitkuSendkuRezkuPrime, and RezkuTablet.




Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Text messaging guests their table is ready

Restaurants often use text messaging as a way to notify patrons that their table is ready. Some restaurants can be pretty creative. With Rezku Prime, Rezku Tablet, and Waitku, restaurants can create four customizable text messages to notify their guests. Here are a few from our customers.

Standard 

  • Your table is almost ready.  Please check back in with the host stand. Thank you.
  • Your table is ready! Please come to the host stand to be seated. Be sure and LIKE us on Facebook to get the latest news, menus, and specials. https://www.facebook.com/...
  • Your table is ready!  This is our 2nd attempt.  We will hold your table for 2 minutes longer.
  • The rest of your party has arrived. Please meet them at the host stand to be seated. 
  • Thank you for choosing to dine with us. While you wait, consider signing up for our VIP program at...
  • We are excited to have you dine with us tomorrow. If you have any changes or need to cancel your reservation, please call us at ...
  • Your wait is over! Come to the host stand and we'll seat you right away.

Fun
  • It's time to pony up to the host stand! Your table is ready!
  • Loosen your belt! It's time to get your grub on!
  • It's time to eat! Gather your friends and return to the host stand to be seated. 
  • Are you ready? We are! Please, return to the host stand to be seated.
Have fun with your text messages so that it is more memorable for your guests and get them into a happy mood for their meal. We'd love to hear some of yours!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Waitlist apps improve your turn times


Many restaurants have decided to go the path of not taking reservations. If a restaurant is popular, this can create quite a busy situation at the entrance as guests try to get through a crowded waiting area to see the host and get added to a waitlist. It's therefore important to run the restaurant efficiently so that you can turn over customers quickly, keeping wait times at a minimum. Waitlist apps can be of great benefit to turning tables over and seating guests in a timely manner. 

There are many factors that come into play when setting up your waitlist app to run efficiently. 

Table sizes. A table might have four chairs but you may label that table to seat 3-5 people and one that, if necessary, can be pushed together with the one beside it to seat a larger party. Correctly labeling the min/max a table will hold helps the app keep more accurate tally of tables and times.

Table inventory can be handled in several ways. Some restaurants like to designate a certain number for first come, first serve. Therefore, those tables should be removed from the apps calculation algorithm so as not to affect the waitlist times. 

Turn times are another important factor. The apps should be able to keep track of turn times based on party versus based on table. Let's say you put a turn time for a party of two for a 45 minute lunch but a party of four for a sixty minute lunch. If you seat a party of two at a 4-top table, the app should know to count the 45 minute turn for two people.

Pacing is another factor that is calculated into the wait time algorithm. You want to put a pace that your staff and kitchen can handle without getting overwhelmed.

Waitku also allows for the guest to watch their wait time countdown on their phone if they download the Rezku app. 

Once all the settings are in place, turn on auto-assign tables and the app will run things smoothly, filling your tables as quickly as possible. With the auto-ready feature, the app will notify both you and the guest that their assigned table is ready.

The Waitku app can handle all of the above when a restaurant's details are carefully added in. The algorithm considers all factors when then giving the estimated wait time. When your guest asks how long is the wait for a party of four, you will be able to give a confident answer. 


Presented by Guest Innovations. Be sure to check out our affordable hospitality products RezkuWaitkuSendkuRezkuPrime, and RezkuTablet.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Free up staff by using the Waitku kiosk

Perhaps you are a small restaurant pinching every penny but still wanting to handle guest seating efficiently.  Maybe you are a extremely busy, very popular restaurant where there's a constant flow of people trying to put their name on the waitlist. There is an app that allows your guests to add themselves to a waitlist. 

The Waitku Kiosk app can be downloaded onto an iPad and then the iPad can be mounted on a wall or a stand near the entryway to your restaurant. Guests that are aware of it can go and add themselves to the waitlist by just giving their name, phone number, and the size of their party. The kiosk will then give them an estimated wait time.

The app does not allow guests to edit, change, or cancel their place on the waitlist. Guests would still need to speak to a hostess or staff member to do so.

There are benefits to using a Waitku Kiosk app — most importantly, freeing up your staff. Staff will have the time to attend to other duties or to take care of the other piece of hosting, seating and managing guest flow. 

In some busy restaurants, there is the need for two hostesses.  One takes names while the other seats. By having the Waitku Kiosk, you can reduce down to one host, thus saving money on payroll. 

Waitku also works in tandem with the Rezku app. The Rezku app is a restaurant search app that also allows guests to make reservations at client restaurants. It is useful for waitlist only restaurants as well. Guests who add themselves to the waitlist and have the Rezku app on their phone will see a countdown clock indicating their wait time. 


Presented by Guest Innovations. Be sure to check out our affordable hospitality products RezkuWaitkuSendkuRezkuPrime, and RezkuTablet. 



Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Waitlist watching with the Rezku app

It's become a normal sight at restaurants — people waiting in line, seated on benches, crowding the host stand to put their name on the list. The waitlist has become a normal part of dining. 

The history of the waitlist started, no surprise, with pen and paper. Then came the pager system as everyone held onto an electronic buzzer waiting for it to vibrate and blink. With the advent of text messages came texts telling guests their table was now ready. The newest addition is the smartphone app.


Waitku and its sister app, Rezku, handle everything but the old fashioned pen and paper. What's more, the Rezku app includes a countdown clock showing your wait time.




Now with our sister Rezku app, guests can see their wait time, giving them the freedom to take a walk or go window shopping. The Rezku app searches all restaurants within your area and can be used to make reservations or see your wait time at our client restaurants. 




With Waitku you can still use a pager system if you have it. Simply insert the pager number into the field.


Waitku also allows restaurants to customize four text messages* if that's your preferred mode of communication. Simply select the text you wish to send to the guest's phone. 


Finally, Waitku is perfect for multi-host situations to increase efficiency in turn times and reduced waits. Read more about "Advantages of multiple host guest seating".


Waitku and the Rezku app are a perfect match for any restaurant that works on a waitlist basis only.

For reservation restaurants, please check out RezkuPrime and RezkuTablet.


*Text messaging not available in free version.



Presented by Guest Innovations. Be sure to check out our affordable hospitality products RezkuWaitkuSendkuRezkuPrime, and RezkuTablet.




Monday, January 11, 2016

Advantages of multiple host guest seating

Guest Innovations host stand

The host stand is one of the most important features of any restaurant. It's the first impression for the diner and it sets the pace for the flow of the restaurant. In a busy restaurant, a single host(ess) can be easily overwhelmed. That's why many restaurants are now using multiple hosts — usually manned with tablets.

There are a few solutions out there that can be managed by multiple people via multiple portals. Guest Innovation's products (RezkuPrime, RezkuTablet, and Waitku) are all able to be used by multiple hosts because they use cloud-based technology.  

Typically the first host is located at the door or entrance manned with a tablet. They greet guests and take down names for the waitlist. The second host is at the host stand and manages table assignments and seating on the main system or another tablet. In some situations a third host is added to physically take a guest to their table. 

One nice feature in our products is Auto Ready. The waitlist shows parties in yellow. Once a server or busser has marked a table as cleared on the system, the next party that can fit that table is changed to orange/ready and assigned the table. The hosts know the table is ready to be sat and can see which party has been assigned the table.

All of this is managed because of wi-fi and the Cloud. Each host can be making entries or changes in the system via their tablet or computer and everything communicates and works seamlessly together. Tablets mounted at the bussing stations allow bussers and servers to change the table statuses. Managers can also be manned with tablets to keep tabs on what is going on or to walk the floor and change the status of tables. They can even watch activity via the apps while in the back office or at home. 

If you are looking for a way to manage the busy flow at the host stand efficiently, consider the multiple host approach.




Monday, August 10, 2015

Improving the wait list experience for guests

We've all been there. A restaurant we want to eat at will not take reservations and so you just have to go and hope for the best. Upon arrival they tell you it will be at least a half hour wait. You decide that's not too long and add your name to the wait list. 

Now what to do? Sit in a crowded waiting area? Take a walk?  Have a drink at the bar...if you can reach it?

Restaurants need to make the best of their guests' waiting experience so that it will not detract from the overall dining experience. Even the best food and service cannot always combat having to deal with an agonizing wait.

Be accurate — When quoting a time for tables, it's important to be as accurate as possible. That's why pen and paper wait lists are not the best solution. Restaurants are turning more to software systems that can track table inventory, turn times, and pacing to calculated availability.

Notifications — Offer to notify them by texting when their table is available. This gives the customer the option to leave the premises and yet not fear losing their place on the wait list. Some restaurants still use electronic pagers for those customers not willing to leave a phone number. 

Make the waiting area inviting — Are there enough seats? Your waiting area and seating should be appropriate for the average number of people you have during peak periods. There's a fine balance of not wanting too many seats, but enough for elderly or those with a need to sit down for long periods. If you have a wait list, make waiting comfortable. 

Keep them occupied — There are now restaurants that have a television to keep guests distracted and make the time go faster. Have menus to read and merchandise available for purchase.

Offer a freebie — A long wait at breakfast? Consider offering free coffee in the waiting area. 


Be sure to check out Waitku, a free iPad wait list app.  Waitku can give you accurate quote times while helping you to maximize your table inventory. It also offers the option to text guests or enter in a pager number for those with pager systems. 

Presented by Guest Innovations. Be sure to check out our affordable hospitality products RezkuWaitkuSendku.