Rightly said, “Revenue on table lost at time is lost forever.” If a table is not sold in a restaurant for a certain length of time, the revenue can never be regenerated for that period as that particular time is already gone. It is essential that we make optimum utilization of our resources especially in the service based industry, hence the introduction of a booking system is must to rectify this concern. Now the question stands, what is a booking system?
An online booking system is software used as reservation management in a service based industry. For instance, they allow travel portals to accept bookings online and allow the management to manage their online bookings made by guests directly as well as the admission of manual bookings taken by the staff. Our purpose is to help you understand the booking system a little better by learning how they can help your business, how to choose the system that is right for you and even how to get started.
Here, we will have a candid conversation with Ms. Prasida Suman, an intellectual professional with 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, with a specialization in Front-of-the-house and reservations for luxury hotels and restaurants, both in India and the UK. Being a hospitality graduate, she has worked in global brands such as Taj Hotels, Radisson and the Ananda Spa in India. Prasida is currently associated with Leeds Red Hot – a multi-cuisine buffet restaurant in Leeds with 300 plus covers, where she has worked for 8 years. Prasida is an extensive reader and avid lover of fictional books who often travels as a means of rejuvenating herself; she also enjoys spending time with her lovely 10 year old daughter.
♦ Hi Prasida, How’s life in Leeds?
I love Leeds and it’s a buzzing and exciting city to live. I and my family enjoy exploring Yorkshire.
♦ Please briefly explain your experience within the hospitality sector to date?
Guest service is my passion and I was lucky to start my adventure with luxury hotel brands in India. I was exposed to meeting and greeting celebrities and handling difficult situations or complaints and I was blessed to learn the management skills with the best in the industry.
♦ The Booking System behaves as a vertebrae to the hospitality industry, how has this unique feature helped you?
Being from the same industry, we think that the online Booking System gives accuracy, 24/7 business, instant confirmation, 100% ownership of customer data and most importantly manages the supply and demand that leads to the optimization of services and smoothens the operations of a business.
♦ According to you, what is the strongest reason why every restaurant should have an automated booking system?
An automated booking system allows for business around the clock, and makes the organization of restaurant management far easier. The booking system’s simple layout makes it accessible for both staff and guests, meaning that bookings can be generated easily and at any time, as opposed to solely by making a phone call during business hours. The automated booking system erases the effect of human error, improves the efficiency of business, lets us understand the real time view of table availability and offers a powerful insight into how to maximize occupancy.
♦ Being a Buffet restaurant with a large volume of business, have you faced any challenges with this system?
On extreme busy days like special occasion of Valentine’s Day, school break or Christmas festive period it is challenging to keep track of the bookings/covers per time slot received and to ensure we inform the concern person from the booking system to block any time slot to avoid over booking.
♦ As we discussed earlier, the booking system helps to manage staffing, proliferate revenue and has become an essential part of the restaurant business. Can you imagine running the restaurant without the booking system?
As business has picked up and more people booking tables at restaurants online than ever before, the booking system has become an essential part of restaurant business. Whilst manual bookings can still be taken by staff in person and on the phone, the booking system provides an easy way to track both manual and online bookings for the restaurant.
♦ Table management becomes much more flexible with a booking system in place. How significant is table management in the booking system for a buffet restaurant, or would you say it is more useful in an A La Carte?
The online booking system makes table management far easier for any restaurant; buffet or A La Carte. Being a buffet, we often have large tables celebrating occasions, and on busy day such as the weekend, the booking system is essential. The online booking system not only means that staff can plan in advance for busy periods but also means that large tables can be managed and separated in times where there will be a high volume of guests.
♦ According to you, how should the Booking System be priced? Should it be priced as per covers sold, or would a fixed price be more convenient? What suits you best at the Buffet in Leeds?
Because of the volume of covers booked it is not feasible for us to consider share of the cover and would prefer a fixed cost. Also for the company which is managing the system is secured because there is a guarantee of a fee to maintain the system and give any technical support. Fixed cost works both ways for the restaurant and the company providing the booking system.
♦ The ability to take payments online is one of the strongest features of the booking system. What is the best way for you to take payments? Online, in person or integrated into the Booking System?
Payments made via the online booking system provide a quick and easy way for both guests and businesses to track the payment of deposits. An automated confirmation receipt is immediately sent to the guest, as well as all the relevant payment information is provided to the restaurant instantly. This system saves time for both the guest making the payment online, as they can do so from the comfort of their own home and also the business as all necessary information is sent via one email.
So, here was our brief conversation with Ms. Prasida Suman, her sui-generis approach and magnetic personality charmed us. Her insight on booking system facilitated us a lot to revive our knowledge and we are sure that for you also it was an interesting read, you can even share it with your friends who hail from hospitality sector as it will be a certain help to them, please let us know your opinion in the comments below.