Is your booking system creating diner barriers?

By ResDiary

- Last updated on GMT

Is your booking system creating diner barriers?
Online booking systems are regarded as impersonal and harmful by some restaurateurs, but if you choose the right booking partner they can be the exact opposite, says Mike Conyers, ResDiary CEO

On social media, restaurant booking systems seem to take much of the blame for no-shows. The consensus is they’re impersonal, there’s no restaurant connection, and diners feel no no-show guilt because of it.

And do you know what? I agree.

The relationship many venues have with booking systems is harmful, creating barriers between the venue and their diners:

  • Booking sites and diner communications can’t be personalised to your brand, so customers have no affiliation with you. They’re the booking sites’ customers.  
  • Once the third party gets a diner’s email address, they send them recommendations of other competing venues nearby. That original booking is looking way less exciting to them now....
  • Many booking sites use Google ads to steal your customers. A third party ad appears on your venue’s name, and the guest is taken to a site where the restaurant pays £2 a cover in commission. Or they’re recommended a competitor restaurant.  
  • In order to promote their own offers, on their own websites​, venues need to pay extra money to their booking system.

These issues have plagued hotels for years. It’s well documented that hotel brand affiliation is diluted and travellers just automatically visit Online Travel Operators (you know the ones I mean), costing operators in commissions and deals.

Restaurants aren’t quite there. But we’re getting there. Venues pay thousands to take bookings for already busy nights like Black Friday. They turn their online reservations off to save on commissions, leaving them answering calls rather than serving guests. And they think there’s no other way.

It’s getting out of hand, and in this climate, it’s just not sustainable.


We try to work differently at ResDiary. I founded the business as a frustrated restaurateur, angry at how my businesses were treated by the available platforms. So here’s what we do instead:

  • You brand your own booking widgets. You choose your colours, logo, and your layout, creating something that aligns with your brand.
  • Our commission-free booking portal lets you write your own text, add images, and upload your own menus. It fits your image and follows your booking rules.
  • Confirmation, reminder, and post dining emails are all designed and written by you, letting you add offers and extra info. Your look is the same, regardless of where the guest books.
  • We don’t access your database or send guests emails about nearby restaurants. We do help you send out your own marketing campaigns from our system, free.
  • We don’t apply pay per click advertising to your brand name to squeeze more commissions from you. lets guests find new venues near them, and book, at no cost to you.
  • Features like Promotions and Variable Pricing, sell your offers and special events at no extra cost. No more diversions to deal sites, devaluing your product.

What’s more, we give you tools to call unconfirmed bookings, send reminders, block, and more. We help with deposits, ticketing, and storing card details to charge the card if someone fails to turn up. Don’t just take my word for it. Here’s what Leanne Doohan, at The Red Door thinks about using ResDiary:

“An electronic system has massively cut our no-shows. We give guests a more personal service, sending them confirmation and reminder emails and being able to check the diary and call them if they haven’t confirmed. We used to just take their phone booking and hope they turned up.

"Now we’re on top of everything and my staff’s time is freed up to spend on customer service.”

Whether you’re a ResDiary customer looking to discuss this with us, or you use another system and would like to talk to talk to our team about your options, please get in touch.


Related topics: Bookings systems


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