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How Restaurants Can Decrease Walk-out Rates

By John Yi

Getting customers in your restaurant's door is not easy. However, now it seems almost as tough to keep patrons from leaving after you've accomplished this crucial first step. Even the most popular no-reservation policy restaurants have begun seeing patrons flee towards the exit due to long wait times for a table. One way to prevent this exodus is by utilizing a digital waitlist app. Digital waitlist apps have significantly improved customers' experiences at front-of-house (F-O-H) and have helped restaurants increase customer retention by 20% - on average - during wait times. How do they do this? By improving communication. Waitlist solutions make it easy for restaurants to seamlessly connect and relay to diners their positions in line (And some do this without requiring diners to download a separate app). Taking the guessing game out of waiting has helped restaurants and other businesses drive more sales.

How Waitlist Apps Decrease Walk-Out Rates & Improve ROI

Communication is key to both getting your customers in the door, and getting them to stay. A few of the best waitlist apps allow restaurant hosts to send guests an automated SMS text where diners can easily track their places in line without having to download a separate app. This simple feature empowers customers to take control over their time while waiting, thus decreasing their anxiety and frustration. Two-way texting also allows patrons to confirm or cancel their reservations without having to call or physically return to the host stand.

Using SMS text as a tool to communicate with your patrons helps increase customer retention by up to 30% during peak hours. Compared to shouting customers' names one by one off a clipboard, restaurants find that their retention rates of waiting patrons increase from 60% to 90% when using these apps.

NextME, one of the top waitlist solutions on the market, takes communication a step further by making it easy for diners to access restaurants' marketing collateral via a mobile marketing page. This page is styled and branded according to the restaurant's preferences, such as displaying menus, drink specials, and social media pages. Displaying marketing content to waiting patrons increases customer engagement and takes care of patrons when hosts are too busy checking for table availability. On average, restaurants are getting 20-30 minutes of consistent engagement on the marketing page.

John YiJohn Yi is the son of a South Korean immigrant who he says instilled an entrepreneurial spirit in him from a young age. John's first company was a dog-walking business he founded with his brother out of their mom's cleaners when he was about 8 years old. John and his brother then created NextME, an app that takes the guesswork out of restaurant waits. NextME is a mobile app that helps restaurant employees manage their waitlist of walk-in customers. While waiting, customers can view their position in line via SMS Text and access the restaurant's social media pages via a weblink, significantly boosting the restaurant's online presence.

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