How can I get more bookings?

by John Jones | Mar 02, 2023

You’ve got the premises, the equipment, the staff and the menus. The interior looks great and your branding is amazing. Just one thing is on your mind: how do I get more bookings?

If you are a restaurateur asking this question every day, you’re not alone. If you're not, either your restaurant is already full because you’re using Favouritetable or your mind is on a beach in the Mediterranean, thinking about retirement. If the latter is true, good for you because you deserve it. However, if you ask yourself “how can I get more bookings to my restaurant?” then we have three tips to help.

1. Go online

If your restaurant is in need of more bookings and you don’t have a way of taking online reservations, the question you should be asking yourself is “where have I been for fifteen years?”. We’re sorry to point out the obvious, but customers have been booking restaurants online for some time now, and the concept isn’t new. A restaurant needs online booking as much as it needs a kitchen, because without it the business cannot – and will not - operate effectively. Harsh, but true.

Favouritetable – as an original company in hospitality - has been providing online booking systems to restaurants for a decade and a half, ensuring those businesses get the latest technology to harness new business. And when we say “latest technology”, we don’t mean complicated. In fact, the best restaurant software just looks nice and is easy to use, does what is important to restaurants and adds genuine value. 

Sure, there are some clunky systems out there which look like they were designed by NASA and after you’ve evaluated them you’ll need a stiff drink, an ibuprofen or two and a sit down, but you can ignore those complicated and over-priced software products. Favouritetable is easy to use, delivers results and is great value.

2. Use directories

Even with a wonderful online booking widget on your lovely website (you have got a website, haven’t you?), you’ll need to do a bit of work to make sure customers can find you on the net. You could spend quite a bit of budget this – and probably should – because without it you’re short changing yourself. Think about it like this: you have a lovely car and the engine is is in tip-top condition, ready to zoom along. But if you don’t put fuel in it, you won’t get very far.

Enter the world of Search Engine Optimisation, or “SEO” for short. We have covered this in previous blogs, but you can read a little about the science as described by our Marketing Manager Manav Mathur.

However, until you have a grip on SEO and in fact continuing after you do, you will want to take a look at online restaurant directories. The internet is very crowded and competitive place which means you really need to use as many tools as possible to promote your restaurant, so restaurateurs asking “how can I get more reservations” would do well to consider a reputable restaurant directory.

A restaurant what? Yep, directory. It is a diner-facing website on with which consumers can search for restaurants, read reviews, see menus and book online. The best are like a giant Yellow Pages for restaurants but with one key difference – they do the hard work for you. 

We would of course recommend as your first port of call, because it is a great place to show off your best assets and generate direct bookings. It’s free, too, if you take our restaurant reservation software. Alternatively, our friends at Squaremeal augment our offer with one of the longest-established restaurant marketing & listing sites in the UK. Between us, we’ve got you covered. 

3. Reviews

On a rare outing from the development bunker at Favouritetable head office, our team was recently at a well-known hospitality trade show when it was approached by a very nice restaurateur called Terry. Terry told us all about his restaurant and, after signing up with Favouritetable there and then, he popped the question: “How can I get more bookings?”. 

When we told Terry that he needed to engage with review sites, he almost visibly flinched. Clearly he saw reviews as a dirty word and a forum for disgruntled customers to beat him up, until we told him a secret. 

You see, if you think of the review sites as a one-way street where people do their washing in public, you’re seeing the glass as half empty. Imagine your restaurant – yes, your restaurant – featured prominently on a website which attracts hundreds and thousands of visitors. Wouldn’t that be cool? How about if each of those visitors was a foodie, and like us passionate about dining out? What if those site visitors were looking not to complain, but to book? All of a sudden the review sites look quite good, don’t they?

The key here is not to judge a review site by people leaving the reviews: judge it by the people reading them. What’s more, you have a platform to broadcast and propagate your key messages to millions of readers, not just the person who left the review. So, a review mentions that your menu is great. Fab! In your response, you can mention why it is great (fresh produce, vegan, whatever). If the review isn’t so positive, use the exposure to tell the world about your new or forthcoming menu. Better still, you can manage your reviews through Favouritetable's marketing module. Isn’t that a win-win-win?

Reviews sites, if seen through the correct end of the lens, are nothing more than amazing advertising opportunities for your restaurant, Get it right and the bookings will flood in, as they did for Terry. He's now a very happy restaurateur.

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Favouritetable is contemporary, easy to use restaurant management software designed to increase bookings, efficiency, revenue and profits. Loved by restaurateurs and UK-based, it's the best value next-generation restaurant management software on the market. 

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