Just a few years before, restaurant reservations took a lot more effort.
Customers had to call and talk to somebody, so an employee will always be in charge of operating the phone, with very little capacity to process calls as they come.
And even then, that wasn’t a guarantee of a filled table. Often, customers simply don’t show up without calling to cancel, leaving empty tables that could have been making profits. Double-booking is prevalent too. With nothing but paper and pencil or spreadsheets to go by, employees were more likely to make mistakes, leaving customers in a huff.
Fortunately, technology has been advancing quickly. And when it comes to table reservations, we now have tools designed specifically to improve efficiency and customer satisfaction.
This article will discuss the nine best reservation apps you can get this year.
9 Best Restaurant Reservation Apps
1. Open Table
Open Table is a comprehensive reservation platform you can run using a touchscreen computer system. It’s also perhaps one of the most well-known restaurant reservation apps around the world, with thousands of users.
Subscribing to Open Table means you’ll get access to their reservation system software, touch-screen computer system, and support.
With this subscription, your reservation management system will be fully automated. Open Table also includes table management, email marketing, and even guest recognition. It also comes with analytics reporting, so you’ll have accurate data on your reservation status for your marketing operations.
Open Table offers benefits to customers as well. Aside from being able to reserve a table, they can also filter their restaurant search right down to their favorite dish.
Open Table is an excellent reservation system, but if you want all-around features, you need to shell out a relatively hefty $249 for the core plan. This amount still doesn’t include the one-time installation fee and the $1.00 or $0.25 per seated diner, depending on where customers reserved their seats.
Not to mention, the special touchscreen computers needed to operate it can also add to the cost, particularly if you need multiple in your establishment.
2. Yelp Guest Manager
Yelp Guest Manager is another well-known option for restaurants that want to upgrade their online reservation system.
Millions of people already visit Yelp every day, so much so that it has become a household name for reviews of almost every establishment on Earth. It’s only fair to assume that many of your potential customers will love the accessibility of being able to book a table directly after reading Yelp reviews of your restaurant.
A subscription for Yelp Guest Manager starts with limited bookings for the guest manager functionality, core management functions, and an iPad for your operations.
However, Yelp Guest Manager has multiple subscription tiers, each better than the last. The next tier has unlimited bookings, POS integration, e-mail marketing management for your customers, and reports. Meanwhile, the highest tier allows for a fully-integrated workflow system and lets you integrate the Guest Manager functionality with other workplace systems such as Olo, Punchh, and other apps.
Yelp Guest Manager’s pricing starts at $99 for the Basic access tier, the lowest on the list. The next subscription tier, Plus, is priced at $299, while the last and highest enterprise-level manager has customer pricing. This platform also offers a free demo of the Basic and Plus subscription tiers.
3. Table Agent
The defining characteristic of Table Agent is that it’s free. You can easily manage your reservations across any device without paying a single dime.
This platform is ideal for starter restaurants looking to see how a reservation management system would fit into their workflow or those who can’t afford the pricier methods yet.
Table Agent lets users manage reservations and waitlists, as well as create widgets on their website for this purpose. It can even accept online payments.
There’s also a notification option, although you will need to pay an additional fee of $20 monthly for that functionality. Table Agent is the ideal software for you if you want an extremely budget-friendly solution to reduce costs.
However, this app offers only extremely basic functionalities. It doesn’t have important functions that many other apps do, such as POS integration, table management, online ordering, and guest database.
This platform is another one of the most popular restaurant reservation apps around, especially for small restaurants. TableIn caters to small restaurants with more accessible features and better value-for-dollar compared to other service platforms.
A subscription for TableIn guarantees that your staff will immediately feel the change.
This guarantees to take care of administrative operations that an employee at your restaurant might be taking care of, such as responding to emails, messages, chats, etc. With TableIn, guests can book any of your vacant tables round-the-clock without needing your employee’s supervision.
This is a critical feature for small businesses that need all the manpower they can get, especially during peak hours.
TableIn also has the lowest subscription prices among all the other apps on this list. The lowest access tier that this app has already enabled is reservation timeline and floorplan, advance pre-payments, guest book and feedback, a reporting dashboard, and email and SMS support, among others.
However, this tier is limited to only 150 reservations every month. If you go over that, each reservation costs only about €0.2. This subscription is only €79 or $82. The next level costs €129 or $134. It contains all of the features of Standard, but with unlimited bookings.
Another solution for restaurants that want to simplify their guest management experience is Cake. This restaurant reservation platform is part of a broader Cake ecosystem that includes a POS system, online ordering, a curbside management platform, and data reporting.
Cake guarantees to not just streamline guest management but also reduce walk-ins and cancellations and increase table turns for better profit.
Their guest management system can deliver this kind of functionality through various features. Cake Guest Management allows you to integrate a digital floor map of your restaurant into the guest management system, as well as waitlisting, predictive wait times, automatic table updates via POS, and more.
The only downside is that Cake doesn’t have a flexible reporting schedule for your analytics
Cake costs about $199 at initial signing. This includes the license, support, and training courses. After the initial sign-up, you will then pay a monthly subscription fee of $79.
This guest management software includes some of the most exclusive restaurants across the globe. ResyOS is used in 26 major cities, so being on this network means your restaurant is automatically a cut above the rest.
One of the most defining features of this software is that it allows proprietors to customize every aspect of the reservation process.
For example, guests can choose a restaurant’s availability during specific timeframes, not just in a given time slot. Guests can also choose their desired seating location, including the bar and outdoor.
Resy also allows you to personalize confirmation messages and access levels for different employee levels. It also has other restaurant management functionalities, such as waitlisting, POS integration, and contact tracing features for health concerns.
However, the downside is that Resy can be quite expensive, especially since it doesn’t have critical functionalities on the lower-level plans, such as POS integration and analytics. The all-around subscription costs a whopping $399, which is certainly a huge amount for most startup restaurants and smaller establishments.
EatApp is one of the best restaurant guest management apps for those who prioritize ease of use. Unlike other offerings on this list that requires locked hardware to run, this app lets you access core functionalities from any device, including a smartphone.
A study by the Pew Research Center published last 2021 revealed that about 85% of Americans own a smartphone – and chances are, everyone in your team does.
Having individual smartphones or company-owned mobile devices that can access the guest management system is a big bonus. It cuts down on subscription costs since you don’t have to buy hardware, plus it offers restaurant managers more versatility.
Aside from that, EatApp is also an official Google Partner, so you can be sure about the app’s quality.
It integrates with some Google-owned or affiliated platforms, such as Google, Meta, TripAdvisor, and more, driving better exposure to your customers. It also offers intuitive floor plan editing tools, multiple views and filters, and a dedicated searchable CRM.
EatApp has three monthly subscription levels: free, $49, $119, and $209. The lower levels are highly accessible for starter restaurants, although you must consider add-on fees.
Wisely is a flexible reservation and guest listing solution that suits restaurants of all types. It offers integrated, data-centered features that let restaurant owners bridge the gap between restaurant data and customer experience. It boasts a completely seamless experience that takes care of everything, from greeting to seating.
With Wisely, proprietors can give customers a digital front door, communication, reservation, and waitlisting features. Guest data also automatically syncs to your Wisely database, so you can constantly have updated and relevant information about your customers.
The defining feature that Wisely has is that its features are completely customizable. Owners can decide what features they want for their restaurant and how.
Pricing is also fully customizable. You need to consult Wisely on the features you want and how much it will cost.
Allset distinguishes itself from its competitors by focusing on takeout and pick-up just as much as reservation management.
On the same platform, customers can reserve a table and order food for pickup. It also increases turnover by shortening the time that your customers wait at their tables.
Customers can order and pay for their food online, choose a time slot, and then have their food ready and waiting for them when they sit down. This cuts down on the hours customers spend on your table and lets you increase profits without sacrificing customer experience.
Unlike other subscriptions, Allset doesn’t have a monthly subscription fee. Instead, it charges transactional fees and app order fees. For every order made on the app or your website, Allset simply takes a cut.
If you want to test how this system can fit into your restaurant operations, you can also sign up for a no-hassle 30-day free trial.
Bonus: I Know the Chef
The idea behind this app’s name comes from the special treatment that personal guests of a restaurant’s chef typically receive when they dine. After all, as the chef’s friend, you’ll likely be seated without preamble and given the best service when you walk into a restaurant.
That’s the kind of service that this app wants to give to its customers. Launched in February 2013, I Know the Chef is a concierge app that helps guests reserve tables at the hottest restaurants. All they have to do is select a restaurant, time slot, and guest number, and the app will notify them if they can reserve a table.
One of this app’s main features is that it has strict acceptance criteria for the restaurants that they put on their app. Every establishment will undergo a strict review process. This way, it caters to a passionate consumer group who are willing to invest in outstanding restaurants. The app itself vouches for their listing, so even the most critical professional foodie will find something they like here.
Although it’s currently only available to members in a select few US cities, I Know the Chef sets excellent precedence for what’s possible with restaurant guest management technology.
Choosing the Best Guest Management App
Restaurant reservation apps are here to stay, so you need to get on with the program if you don’t want to be left behind. Fortunately, there are plenty to choose from, and this article has listed the best platforms for this purpose.
Glimpse is an AI-powered video auditing service that analyzes the images from your CCTV system. It can recognize items that are being served over the counter to customers so that you can keep a tight watch over the profitability of your establishment.
Sounds like something you’ll need? Sign up for a demo now!