Back in the day, people were happy with only making restaurant reservations for fine dining or VIP access. But since then, customer demands have changed. They expect you to let them reserve a table in all types of settings. Therefore, searching for a free restaurant reservation system is inevitable.
While you could take reservations through phone calls, there’s more friction here than the online process.
Not everyone is willing to have a conversation on the phone. But with an online system, it’s easy for them to fill out a form and reserve a table in minutes.
So, if you want to discover the five free restaurant reservation systems, let this article guide you. The features you should look for when making the choice will also be a part of this discussion.
Why Should You Incorporate a Free Online Reservation System for Restaurants?
Do you know the number one reason for customer frustration? It’s when they have to wait in long lines to reserve a seat at your restaurant. No matter how good your food is, not having a proper reservation system will count as bad customer service.
But that’s not the only benefit of incorporating a free online reservation system for restaurants.
The pandemic forced people to rely on online ordering for a long time. So, when the restrictions started lifting, they rushed to restaurants, hoping to retouch their old lives. According to Yelp, the search for indoor dining increased by 6360%.
Handling such traffic might get overwhelming for you. But with an online table booking system, you will know exactly how many guests you have to serve every day. And if the number looks overwhelming, you can simply display a message saying there are no more tables left.
This will save your customers from the hassle of waiting for long times. Moreover, you’ll be able to serve the members already in your venue with much more care.
Additionally, it will get you more customers. This might seem unconventional, but here’s how. Working people often want to eat out during their lunchtime. But they have a limited time frame. They don’t want to waste their break in visiting a restaurant just to find it doesn’t have a free table.
Giving these people an option to reserve a table for their desired time will make them your fan. It’s even better if they can order ahead because that will save them even more time! In return, you’ll have an increased revenue.
Lastly, your employees don’t have to manually enter the reservation data. This will reduce the chances of errors. Plus, it’s better for customer experience.
Food for Thought When Choosing a Free Reservation System for Your Restaurant
Now that you know why a reservation system is a big deal, let’s discuss what to consider when choosing one.
Even if you’re using a free platform and won’t be wasting money if it fails, there are other problems. Integration and payment issues can be a hurdle down the road. So, here are the factors to think through.
- Integrations: Every restaurant owner wants to avoid chaos and confusion when performing business operations. If you want that, integrations are not up for negotiation, especially with your POS system. So, make sure the reservation system integrates properly with your existing technology.
- Regulations: You must follow some regulations to run your business without legal complications. This includes processing payments in a secure environment, data protection, etc. You must choose a reservation system that allows you to follow these rules with ease.
- Easy to Use: The last thing you want to do is confuse your customers when making a reservation. So, make sure the system you choose is straightforward and easy to use.
- Discounts: Nothing excites customers more than discounts and vouchers. If they can save some money during reservations, they’ll likely choose you every time they want to eat out. So, the system you choose must have a feature to incorporate discounts, vouchers, and loyalty programs.
- Analytics: You must be able to see how your revenue is changing with the incorporation of a reservation system. This will be possible if your system gives analytics and generates reports for you.
The 5 Best Free Restaurant Reservation Systems
Did you know that a whopping 45% of people prefer to make online bookings? This means if you don’t have an online reservation system in place, you’re missing out on major revenue.
However, when you’re using free systems, you must pay even more attention. This is because paid ones have more features and allow more room for customization.
But with limited features of free ones, you must dig in and figure out which ones align with your business. So, here are the five best free restaurant reservation systems.
TableAgent’s Effectiveness Is Apparent From the Name
Let’s start this list with TableAgent, which gets its power from the Amazon.com AWS Cloud. After you’ve signed up, you’ll have full access to all the basic features. You won’t have to worry about time limits or any restrictions on the number of bookings or covers.
However, you might be interested in the additional features such as SMS texting. In that case, you’ll have to buy the particular features.
Additionally, you won’t have to install any software or purchase additional hardware to use TableAgent! This makes it a completely free cloud system that allows you to take online bookings and ask for upfront payments.
But nothing good comes without a drawback. For TableAgent, it’s the interface that lacks modernism. While some customers find it easy to use, others want the look and feel of modern systems.
Moreover, since it’s free, it doesn’t allow you to manage tables or collect customer data. Paid systems usually also have marketing features like email campaigns that help you bring your restaurant to the forefront. They can also show your customers’ dining preferences. TableAgent doesn’t have any such features.
Plus, you’ll be out of luck if you want to integrate TableAgent into your POS system. However, if you’ve just started out, you might be looking for a free system to temporarily perform basic reservation tasks. In this case, TableAgent is a great option.
GloriaFood Is Gloryous!
Next, we have GloriaFood, and not just because it has “food” in it. It’s because GloriaFood is a free reservation system that also provides an online ordering system without any charges.
While the basic features are free, you can choose to include paid services as well. If you want marketing tools, branded apps, or an online payment service, you’ll have to make an investment.
Moreover, customers can place orders on Facebook and use QR code menus through GloriaFood. Since people are familiar with this process, it might result in more orders. You can also turn on the vacation mode if you’re on a break from online reservations and orders.
However, it doesn’t give you the option to cancel orders or give a refund. Customers often change their minds about an order, or they might have to cancel the booking due to an emergency. In such cases, you might have to come up with alternatives. For example, you can incentivize them the next time they visit or send a free dessert with their order.
Additionally, you can’t use this system on a desktop. It only comes as an app that users need to download on their mobile phones.
If There’s a Truly Free System, It’s Carbonara
Unlike GloriaFood and TableAgent, Carbonara is a truly free reservation system. Every feature it offers is free, and there are no additional components to pay for.
While customers had to download a mobile app to use it, they have now added a desktop version.
With a completely free system, you would expect the interface to be outdated and confusing. But here, you’ll see a clean, bright, and convenient interface with a consistent experience on the web and app.
Moreover, you can add a link to your Facebook, Instagram, and Google pages. This means even though you won’t have your own branding on the system, you’ll still have your social links. With these links, people will be able to associate the system with your brand.
Additionally, it has a waitlist option where people can wait in virtual lines. This way, they can avoid the frustrating hassle of waiting in your venue.
But since it’s completely free, it’s only useful if you’re at the very beginning of your restaurant business. If you’ve already scaled up, its basic features won’t be enough, so you’ll be better off with some other system.
Eat App Is on Top of Most Restaurant Software Lists
Searching for any software for the restaurant industry will introduce you to the Eat App. It is one of the most popular tools for a wide range of tasks that restaurant owners need for their business.
While you have to pay for many of its offerings, it offers a free version of the reservation system. This version offers up to 30 covers per month.
The good thing is you can pay for and add more features as you scale your restaurant. You won’t have to switch to other tools when you’re in need of more advanced features.
Moreover, it provides tools for managing tables and floor layouts and creating active waitlists. Your customers can check real-time table availability, and if they don’t like the placement, they can choose to wait.
Additionally, it allows you to ask customers for reviews at the table, but you can’t perform review management. That’s not so bad, considering the customer feedback you’ll be getting for free to improve your offerings.
You can also see various reports, but marketing automation is not possible in the free version.
There’s No Limit To Reserving Tables Through Resmio
To bring this list to a close, there is no better option than Resmio. Its basic plan is free and includes a reservation system. Even if you opt for the paid plans once your restaurant picks up pace, it can be a more affordable option.
This is because Resmio only asks for a fixed monthly fee. There are no additional cover fees or charges per booking.
Resmio lets you make unlimited bookings, which is a strong plus point. If you’re only planning to use the basic reservation features, this system can last quite a while.
Moreover, customers can reserve their tables through Google and get a reservation notification through email. We haven’t seen this feature in other free versions.
However, to incorporate a waitlist, you’ll have to upgrade to the paid versions.
Leave the Old Ways and Jump To a Free Restaurant Reservation System
If you want to give your business a modern twist, adding a free restaurant reservation system can help. Since people prefer restaurants with such systems, they’ll rest assured that the business they’re choosing cares for them. However, free options come with limitations, so you have to be more mindful about the features they offer.
However, after you swiftly fill your venue with customers, ensure you get the most out of them. Beambox helps you automate effective marketing campaigns and grow your online reputation.
Over 12,000 venues are using Beambox to grow their business. Do you want to be next? Try it out for free for thirty days!
Get Started With Free WiFi Marketing
Beambox helps businesses like yours grow with data capture, marketing automation and reputation management.
Sign up for 30 days free