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Why Do We Need Another Reservation Platform?

How Do Customers Make Reservations?

In the past, most restaurant reservations were made via telephone, with fewer options available through other means. Today, customers are spoilt for choice as to how to make a restaurant reservation. Research has shown that online bookings have become the preferred method for many customers. Various restaurants, such as Gordan Ramsay restaurants and Sahara Grill have their own online reservation systems. These well-established restaurants offer a seamless booking experience directly through their websites.

However, not all long-standing restaurants have adopted this technology. For instance, Efes, a restaurant that serves delicious Turkish food, operating since 1945, does not have its own online reservation system. Customers must either call to make a reservation or use platforms like OpenTable to book a table.

Companies such as OpenTable and TheFork offer comprehensive services where customers can filter their preferences by cuisine type, ambience, and accessibility options. These platforms also use location data to provide a range of dining options, simplifying the decision-making process for customers who are undecided about where to dine. While these platforms enhance restaurant visibility, their services can be cost-prohibitive for smaller establishments. In a highly competitive hospitality industry, smaller restaurants often struggle to maintain an online presence and compete with larger, more financially robust businesses.

Why is it Hard for New restaurants to get Online Reservations?

Woman who seems frustrated

Digital Marketing Challenges

We are in the digital ere where an online presence is more important than ever. Digial marketing courses emphasis the importance of regularly posting on social media, optimising websites for search engines (SEO), and effective copywriting to drive customers to a website.  Additionally, creating effective digital marketing content is not always straightforward. As digital marketing is not an exact science, it can often be disheartening when the target audience does not engage with the content.

Small businesses, regardless of the industry, often find themselves overwhelmed by the marketing skills and budgets of larger companies. Coupled with the difficulty of learning how to improve and iterate on marketing efforts, it becomes challenging for small businesses to build an online presence. Without an online presence, it becomes difficult to get website clicks or app downloads, which hinders the ability to capitalize on online reservations.

In a future article, we will explore how new restaurants can build an online presence to help grow the number of online reservations. 

How Can Restuarant Get Online Reservations?

In order to be able to get online reservations, a business has several options. Below are several options a restaurant can take.

Build a Website or App and a Reservation System From Scratch

Pros and cons of building a restaurant website or app and a reservations system from scratch
Pros Cons
Offers complete control and flexibility Expensive and time-consuming to develop and maintain
After the initial setup, ongoing costs can be minimal Bugs and security vulnerabilities require continuous attention
Helps build a brand online  
Vendor lock-in  

This option offers the most flexibility as as a business owner, the owner has complete freedom. Once the website or app is up and running, assuming minimal maintenance is needed, the ongoing costs to continue running and accepting reservations are minimal.

However, building a website or app and a reservation system is a time-consuming and expensive task. Although, in theory, if no maintenance is required, the ongoing costs can be minimal, this is merely theory and not at all realistic. Websites and apps typically have bugs that appear later and fixing these bugs requires resources. Moreover, the internet can be a scary place, and software vulnerabilities are discovered daily. Therefore it is important to maintain the site by applying the security patches needed. This ongoing maintenance requires resources.

While this can be a natural evolutionary step for an established restaurant, for a new restaurant, this may not be suitable. A new restaurant owner typically has a lot on their plates, and this may be an option that they would like to revisit in the future.

Build a Website or App From Scratch and Use a Third-Party Reservation System

Pros and cons of building a restaurant website or app from scratch with a third-party reservation system integration
Pros Cons
Offers control and flexibility Expensive and time-consuming to develop and maintain
After the initial setup, ongoing costs can be minimal Bugs and security vulnerabilities require continuous attention
Helps build a brand online Vendor lock-in
Easier integration Involves subscription fees and per-cover charges
  Limited or no control and flexibility around the integrated reservation system

This has similar challenges in building a website or app along with a reservation system from scratch. What becomes simpler is the process of integrating a third-party reservations system. This becomes even easier when using a tool such as Wix which offers the ability to build websites without needing a Software Engineer. Integrating a third-party reservation system is easier than developing a reservation system from scratch.

This can be a more appealing option, however, it does come with its own set of compromises. By using a third-party reservation system, as a restaurant owner you would need to pay a subscription fee and a network cover fee. A website does not guarantee reservations, so this option might not be ideal for small businesses with a tight budget.

Listing the Restuarant on a Third-Party Platform

Pros and cons of listing a restaurant on a third-party restaurant reservations platform
Pros Cons
Easier and faster to setup Vendor lock-in
Less technical knowledge required Limited control and flexibility
Cheaper initial fee Involves subscription fees and per-cover charges
Access to more customers High competition with other listed restaurants
Eliminates the need to maintain a website  

Restaurants can list their restaurants on platforms such as OpenTable and The Fork. By using a third-party platform, a restaurant owner no longer needs to worry about maintaining their own website and all the challenges that come alongside that. It also opens another revenue channel where restaurants have access to a more diverse set of customers due to the larger presence of the third-party reservations platform.

However, having access to larger audience does not necessarily mean more bookings. As these platforms have other restaurants listed, it means as a business you have more competition. This is especially true if other restaurants appear in a customer's search results.

In addition, these platforms lend to require a subscription fee and a network cover fee. Where the network fee may not be seen as a risk as the amount would be only payable upon receiving a reservation, the same cannot be said about the subscription fee. Therefore, the fees associated with listing a restaurant on a third-party reservations platform can outweigh the benefits for smaller restaurants.

Why Use Make a Rezzy over Other Platforms?

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Make a Rezzy was inspired by hearing about the struggles of a smaller business. We asked the same question that our readers are probably asking, why not just use OpenTable?

We learnt that OpenTable was a risky option due to the subscription fees. The business in question was struggling financially, and being a relatively new business was conscious of expenditure and wanted to ensure that each and every penny was used effectively. Ultimately, the business opted not to use an third-party platform due to the associated subscription fees.

Make a Rezzy therefore was developed with the smaller businesses in mind. Coming from humble beginnings, we truly understand the need to count every penny and emphasise with smaller companies who are trying to pave their own way.

Thus, Make a Rezzy tackles the concerns and challenges faced by these smaller restaurants head on by offering a more affordable solution. We do not charge a subscription fee and only charge £1 per cover booked. This model ensures that restaurants only pay when they receive reservations, making it a risk-free option for businesses concerned about their expenditure.

Comparison of Reservation Platforms
Platform Subscription Fee Fee Per Cover (Per Person in a Booking) 
Make a Rezzy Free £1
OpenTable - Core Package £179/month £2
OpenTable - Pro Package £299/month £2
TheFork - Free Free A percentage of the restaurant's average meal price
TheFork - Pro+ £139/month A percentage of the restaurant's average meal price
Resy Baisc $249/month $0
Resy Pro $399/month $0
Resy Enterprise $899/month $0

Make a Rezzy offers a price that is fair, affordable and transparent.

Make a Rezzy can be used alongside other reservation systems, providing flexibility and additional visibility without the burden of high subscription fees.

The ideology we follow is that we will only charge you if we have bought you business. We believe in fairness and transparency. And thus, we do not believe that it fair to charge you a single penny if we have not bought you any business.

We believe in transparency, we do not believe in any tactics that attempt to squeeze the most commission out of our clients. And so, we are very transparent and tell you from the outset that we charge only £1 per cover.

By choosing Make a Rezzy, restaurant owners can focus on delivering exceptional dining experiences without worrying about prohibitive costs and complex reservation management systems. Join us grow your business.

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