Australia | Busy Continent

Just because you can’t book your favourite restaurant online, doesn’t mean it’s full

Food & Dining, 27 February 2023

Over the weekend, a friend went online to try to book a favourite restaurant in Sydney for a weekend evening in late March. They followed the prompts, and unfortunately with no luck, the system asked if they wanted to be added to a waiting list for an 8:30 pm slot. Thinking it was absolute madness that a simple table for two was not available with over one month’s notice, they decided to call the restaurant – and just as they’d suspected, there was in fact availability for the original time and party size on the evening that they wanted to book for.

As convenient as existing online booking systems may seem, it has become increasingly common for diners to be turned away after following the online prompts. The issue lies in the limitations of existing online booking systems which are unable to accommodate the full capacity of a restaurant, because they have not been able to improve their booking frameworks and allocation processes. Instead, they rely on the belief that if they have filled 65% of the restaurant through their online booking system during a busy service, the other 35% of the restaurant can be filled with people who call the restaurant.

The simple solution is, like my friend above, when the online booking system fails you – don’t give up on your favourite restaurant. Go to the trouble of calling them. They need your help and support during these continuing difficult times with inflation, increasing interest rates – all while they are still trying to recover from the setbacks of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But while this may seem like a classic unknown failure of technology and something that is not widely understood by customers, restaurant owners are running the risk of diners deciding not to follow through to call to check if tables are in fact available. Seeing that a booking platform is no longer showing availability or taking online reservations can result in disappointment and frustration for potential diners, which will also lead to lost business and revenue for restaurants if they choose to dine elsewhere.

But there are plenty of benefits of calling to book. Aside from the most obvious one of potentially securing a table that isn’t available online, speaking with the restaurant can allow for a more personalised dining experience. You can request an extended dining duration or other special requests which are not offered by existing online booking platforms.

As someone who was in the restaurant business for 20 years, one thing that has remained a constant challenge is the inability of online booking systems to properly allocate bookings and to ensure that the restaurant’s capacity is filled, so that customers are not disappointed and restaurants have the ability to maximise their revenue. This is why I created WizButler.

WizButler is a unique and patented restaurant booking system that differs from all other existing systems. It dynamically allocates and then re-allocates bookings to a restaurant’s unique space, instead of attempting to create static allocations to one set of tables and table combinations. This real-time space management system can ensure that when a customer is told there is no availability, there is genuinely no availability and hence there would be no benefit for the customer calling their favourite restaurant for a table, saving them time and effort as well as ensuring that the restaurant is genuinely full for the restaurant owner.

Just as importantly, existing booking systems do not give regular customers the comfort that they will be immediately recognised online and that their booking will be allocated to their favourite table.

If your favourite restaurant is not using the WizButler booking system, don’t give up on them. Go to the trouble of giving them a phone call! Alternatively, ask the restaurant manager to call us and we can show them online booking technology that really works.