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Should your Restaurant become reservation only?

Many restaurants have decided to become reservation only restaurants. This means that you must book in advance to get a table at the restaurant. Reservation only will enable you to know how many customers you will have at a certain time but can also limit your sales due to customers not being able to just walk through the door. Here are some of the aspects you must consider when deciding to become a reservation only restaurant.

Should your Restaurant become reservation only?

Type of Restaurant

Reservation only will only be effective for certain types of restaurants e.g. Fine dining and Gourmet restaurants. This means that you should think about whether reservation only will be suitable for your restaurant or not. If your Restaurant was a diner or was also a pub, then reservation only will not be effective for your restaurant. This is because people will choose to eat in your restaurant without planning it. This means that if you turned your restaurant into reservation only, you may lose a lot of regular customers which will have a negative effect on your sales and profit margin.


Becoming a reservation only restaurant will enable you to know how many customers you will be serving per night. This will allow you to know the amount of supplies and staff that you will need for a specific night. This ensures that you order the correct amount of supplies which means that you will be able to meet the needs and wants of all of your customers. This will also reduce the food wastage of your restaurant which will cut the costs of your restaurant. Knowing how many employees you will need in your restaurant will allow you to only hire the employees that you will require. This will allow you to limit the wages you pay to your employees which will keep your costs low and will enable your profit margin to rise. Reservation only will enable you to plan which will increase the customer service of your restaurant and can also increase the profitability of your restaurant.


Even though all of your tables are booked, it does not mean that all of the customers will turn up. This will mean that you will not receive all of the sales that you were predicted which will have a negative impact on the sales and profit of your business. If your customers do not turn up, it will mean that the food you have prepared will go to waste which will increase the costs of your restaurant. Reservation only will prevent you from being able to fill the tables which are empty. This shows that reservation only will not guarantee your restaurant to be busy. It is recommended to have a cancellation fee if your restaurant is reservation only as you will still generate revenue even if the customers do not turn up.

Limit your Sales

At restaurants where you do not need a reservation, customers will usually have a drink at the bar while they are waiting for a table. This will mean that they will be spending money in your restaurant even when they are not seated at their table. This shows that if you were a reservation only restaurant, you will limit your revenue as customers will be seated straight away. This shows that it is more effective to gain sales by customers not needing reservations because it will lead to your restaurant becoming busier and will lead to customers waiting for tables which will increase the amount they spend in your restaurant. This added revenue will not be available to reservation only restaurants as their customers will be seated at their table straight away.

Angry Customers

Making your restaurant reservation only does not guarantee customer satisfaction because you cannot plan the actions of your customers. This means that if customers arrive at the restaurant late, it may delay other reservations which will lead to the other reservations having to wait for their table. This will lead to your customers becoming angry and could lead to them leaving the restaurant. This will lead to the customer’s needs becoming unsatisfied which will lead to them losing their loyalty and not eating at the restaurant again. If certain customers spend a long time at their table, it could lead to the people who reserved the table for a later time turning up and having to wait for their table. This will anger the customers as they will not be seated straight away even though they booked in advance. This will lead to the customer’s requirements not being met which will lead to them leaving the restaurant and eating at a competitor’s restaurant. This shows that making your restaurant reservation only could result in a lot of angry customers and could lead to your sales and profit decreasing.



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