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Best Reservation Systems for Restaurants

With so many online reservation systems available on the market, it can be hard to select the platform that makes the most sense for your business. Restaurant reservation apps make it easy for customers to book tables, and they help staff keep track of reservations.

hostess reservations

We’ve created this list to compare and contrast OpenTable competitors and to help restaurants find what works best for their business. Learn more about the most popular restaurant reservation systems below!

OpenTable

OpenTable is probably the most popular reservation system currently on the market, and for good reason. This platform is intuitively designed and easy to use for customers and restaurants. It sends automatic confirmation texts and emails.

OpenTable comes with training for employees to better learn the platform, and support is available 24/7 in case of technical difficulties. This reservation app also includes table and waitlist management.

Pros:

  • 24/7 technical support
  • Free GuestCenter certification training
  • Table management and waitlist management

Cons:

  • Since this service is so heavily populated with businesses, if potential customers are browsing the site they are less likely to find your restaurant
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Yelp Reservation Systems

Yelp is one of the most recognizable names in reservation and reviews systems. Since 2016, Yelp has reserved 92 million seats for customers across the country. When you sign up with Yelp, they send a free iPad to help get started with helpful technology.

They also offer a waitlist management tool, automatic reminders for guests, and other tools. Because Yelp doubles as a review platform, however, keep in mind that reviews will affect your bookings.

Pros:

  • Brand recognition, large volume of users
  • Free iPad
  • Flat rate for all services
  • NoWait waitlist management app
  • Automatic SMS and email reminders
  • Two-way diner messaging, table management, table assignment, and server management

Cons:

  • Because the reviews are easily accessible in the reservation system, if you do not have a strong base of good reviews, customers may be dissuaded from booking.

EatApp

EatApp allows customers to make online reservations 24/7, but phone calls only work during regular business hours. This app also directly integrates with social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, so customers can book directly through those sites or through advertisements on their social channels.

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EatApp also offers features like POS integration, table management, and waitlist management. It is a Google and TripAdvisor partner, so EatApp is a reputable source for reservations.

Pros:

  • 24/7 online reservations
  • Social media integration
  • POS integration
  • Table management and waitlist management
  • EatApp is an official Google and TripAdvisor partner

Cons:

  • One main drawback is that SMS and email confirmations are only free for the first 250 messages. If you usually have a higher volume of reservations and are interested in confirmations, it may be worth looking into a plan where they are included in the monthly cost unlimited.

Tablein

Tablein is easy to use and very user-friendly for both restaurants and customers. It offers 24/7 booking and offers year-round customer support if you face and technical issues. Tablein sends automatic SMS or email messaging for confirmations and reminders.

With Tablein, restaurants can choose to allow customers to choose their seating placement as well. It also includes table management. Tabelin is a better option for smaller restaurants.

Pros:

  • User-friendly platform
  • 24/7 booking
  • Year-round customer support
  • Automatic SMS or email messaging
  • Table management, table selection for patrons
  • Inexpensive compared to other options

Cons:

  • Since Tablein is a newer platform, they have only seated over 10 million patrons, much less than Yelp’s 92 million or Resy’s 200 million.
  • Their standard package only allows for up to 150 bookings monthly. The premium package gives you unlimited bookings.
  • Tablein does not offer waitlist management or POS integration, which many other platforms include with standard packages.

Resy

Resy has seated over 200 million users, making it the most-used reservation platform on this list. This system offers online reservation booking, waitlist management, and table management.

Resy sends automatic SMS confirmation for guest bookings and asks to confirm, lowering the amount of no-shows. Depending on which package you choose, Resy offers POS integration and custom reporting.

Pros:

  • Well known reservation system
  • Automatic SMS confirmation
  • Waitlist management and table management

Cons:

  • Only the highest tier package includes POS integration and custom reporting, but POS integration can be added for an additional $100 per month to Platform or Platform 360 packages.

Tock

Tock is another top-rated restaurant reservation system. Along with reservation bookings, Tock offers social media integrations to share and increase bookings on social channels. A unique feature of Tock is that it allows users to create guest profiles.

Here, customers can create a profile and save information like food allergies, special requests, and other preferences. This can help create a personalized experience for your customers and increase return clients. Tock also sends post-visit questionnaires to generate feedback to improve your restaurant performance.

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Pros:

  • Social media integration
  • Guest profiles and preferences
  • Post-visit questionnaires

Cons:

  • The higher priced package might not be worthwhile if you don’t have a high percentage of prepaid reservations.

Hostme

Hostme is a growing restaurant reservation app that is gaining popularity in the restaurant industry. This tool offers various useful features, including reservation booking, online food ordering, table management, waitlist management, POS integration, analytics, and more. 

Hostme helps to manage the flow of your restaurant. The intelligent software helps improve your online presence by making it easy to book reservations through Google, your social media pages, your website, or through TripAdvisor. It has a host of features to help your restaurant and to make it easy for guests to make and manage their reservations. 

Pros: 

  • Advanced reservation management features
  • Improved online presence for reservations 
  • Manage orders, reservations, floor, and staff in one app
  • More affordable options compared to competitors

Cons: 

  • Not as well known yet as larger brands that customers may already have accounts with.

What is a Restaurant Reservation System?

A reservation system is a platform that allows customers to book reservations with ease, both online and offline. Simpler booking means more reservations, which means more profit for your restaurant. Not only does this software lead to happy customers, it can also help you manage employee schedules, save time and optimize efficiency.

hostess reserving tables

Modern reservation software often includes intelligent features like waitlist tools, table management for hosts, and confirmation messaging. Different platforms offer different features, so learn more about each system and how it works before buying it for your restaurant.

How To Choose a Reservation System for Your Restaurant

There are a few key components to keep in mind when making your decision. Price can vary a lot between platforms. Free sites are more cost-effective, but may lack certain valuable features. Each system has a unique set of tools and functions, so it is important to keep in mind which will be the most useful for your needs. Ease of use is also good to keep in mind.

Features

How does the reservation software work? The main feature that you should consider is reservation booking, of course, but many systems bring more to the table. Other features often include table management, waitlist management, SMS or email confirmations, automatic reminders, and more.

Advanced restaurant reservation systems can often integrate with your POS system or with social media, making it easy to share information about your restaurant and promote reservations. To help you learn more about your restaurant business and reservations, many tools also share reporting on reservation trends and statistics.

hostess at a restaurant with a tablet

Another feature that comes in handy is customer support. If you aren’t a tech expert or you choose a platform that requires some assistance, it can be extremely useful to have a dedicated customer service line in case of any issues.

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Price

Price is always a factor when making decisions about your business. While reservation systems can help increase profits by making it easy for customers to make reservations, the system itself shouldn’t break the bank.

Consider your budget as set forth in your business plan and set a limit on how much you can afford to spend, then explore options within your price range. Some reservation systems offer packages at different price points, some offer a flat rate, and some charge per reservation made.

Ease of Use

Online reservation systems are meant to make your life easier, not harder. Make sure you choose a system that you and your employees can easily manage without too much added stress. The system should help streamline reservation booking, not complicate it.

Ease of use is also important for customers. If they want to make a reservation but find the process too complicated, they may be turned off and dine elsewhere. Again, your restaurant reservation system should make it easier to book a table, not more difficult. Try making a reservation on your chosen system from the customer’s point of view to see how it works.

online reservation system

Restaurant Reservation App

Does your reservation system have a corresponding mobile app? Most people access the internet via smartphone nowadays, so the best restaurant reservation systems should have an app that makes mobile booking simple. Check the app for ease of use as well, as a glitchy app will turn people away just as easily as a difficult website.

No matter which online reservation platform you choose, we hope you find one that works well for your business. Weigh the pros and cons and costs of each before making a commitment.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

Follow him on LinkedIn, Instagram, Quora, Google Guide and Facebook.