Learn More About Yelp SeatMe at an Upcoming Webinar!



We’ve been pretty quiet for a few months while we work on integrating SeatMe and Yelp. Now we’re hosting our first-ever webinars!

If you haven’t tried SeatMe yet, these webinars are going to give you a quick overview of how SeatMe can help you manage your front of house and how SeatMe integrates with Yelp to drive reservations to your restaurant or bar. We’ll save some time at the end for any questions too.

Sign up for one of these free sessions:

Thursday, December 5th, at 10am PST

Wednesday, December 11th, at 1pm PST

These sessions are held online, so you can watch from any computer.

Some of the benefits we’ll cover include:

  • Using SeatMe to text walk-in guests
  • Taking no-fee online reservations on your website, Yelp profile, and social media pages
  • Managing tables more efficiently with SeatMe
  • Pairing SeatMe with a Yelp ads package to drive even more traffic

We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

 

Private Dining: Using Software to Book More Large Parties



Private dining parties can be a huge revenue-booster for your restaurant — it’s predictable business, booked in advance. In many cases, you also have the opportunity to introduce new diners to your restaurant that’ll return on their own another time.

Traditionally, software has been a pain-point: private party online restaurant reservations aren’t very easy, because many restaurants prefer to take a credit card hold for large parties, and some are concerned that offering the option to book online may limit their ability to plan (by, for example, working directly with the event host on selecting a limited menu). Still, the benefits tend to outweigh the negatives, and private dining can help increase your restaurant’s revenue — especially when you use software like SeatMe to effectively increase your capacity without needing to add more tables.

SeatMe offers two new features that help with private dining:

Auto-Join Tables for Flexible Seating

SeatMe can help you maximize your dining room’s capacity by automatically combining nearby tables to accommodate larger parties. You can, for example, allow our system to put two four-person tables together to fit a party of eight. The best part: after you’ve chosen which tables you’re comfortable combining, everything else is automatic.

Easy Credit Card Holds

We recently revamped our credit card holds setup to make things even more seamless. Now, charging credit card holds is more secure than ever before. All the data is stored securely, and it’s PCI compliant. If you end up needing to charge a customer, you can do that in just a few clicks from within the SeatMe Manager app, and you can write a note explaining the charge too (which the diner will get via email).

private dining room

Other features, like the guest book that tracks your large-party-booking VIPs, can also help you score more private events. The added convenience of accepting online large party reservations should help too, since potential diners won’t have to wait for business hours or deal with a long back-and-forth process. And, of course, everything about private party management should be easier for your staff as well!

CityEats vs SeatMe: The Benefits Of Easy Setup & Flat Pricing



In this post, we’ll compare the features and pricing plans offered by two web-based restaurant management systems, SeatMe and CityEats, to help your restaurant select the right one for your needs.

Overview

CityEats is a floor management and online reservation system that was created in partnership with The Food Network. CityEats launched a little over one year ago, with the goal of creating a great browsing and reservation experience for diners. CityEats is currently available in only 7 locations – Chicago, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Phoenix, New Orleans, South Florida, and New York.

CityEats offers an iPad and web-based solution.

SeatMe also provides a complete restaurant management system, and has focused on creating a powerful, yet easy-to-use product for chefs, GMs, and other front-of-house restaurant staff. SeatMe is currently available across the U.S. and globally. Any restaurant can sign up online and set up their restaurant in minutes.

Features

Both CityEats and SeatMe provide a cloud-based floor management tool that can be accessed on any PC, Mac, or iPad. The floor management tools allow restaurants to manage tables, assign server sections, and text walk-in guests. SeatMe’s tool also allows hostesses to view detailed diner information such as VIP statuses, food allergies, and special requests, with just a glance at their guestbook.

In addition, CityEats and SeatMe provide restaurant profiles for showcasing photos, location and cuisine details, and most importantly, accepting online reservations. Restaurant profiles are valuable in allowing diners to easily make reservations at your restaurant. SeatMe also provides a free mobile restaurant website to allow diners to reserve tables from their smartphones while on-the-go.

SeatMe provides restaurants with a free mobile website.

Another important factor to keep in mind when selecting a restaurant management service is ease of setup. While SeatMe makes it effortless for restaurants to sign up online, upload photos, and fill out their restaurant profile to immediately begin taking online reservations, CityEats requires restaurants to schedule a demo, bring in a photographer, and more, which can increase the time and cost required.

Pricing

CityEats prices their service similarly to OpenTable. After an initial setup fee, CityEats charges a recurring monthly subscription fee of $175 to $200.

More importantly, CityEats also charges $0.75 per diner that makes a reservation at your restaurant from the CityEats website. These per-diner fees can quickly add up as your restaurant grows and diners become accustomed to making reservations through the CityEats website.

SeatMe, on the other hand, doesn’t charge per diner fees or installation fees. The service is free to set up, with a flat $99 per month subscription fee being the only cost, regardless of the number of diners that make reservations on the system.

We’ve included a chart below that compares SeatMe, CityEats, and OpenTable to help you calculate approximately how much each service will cost you.

Wrap Up

SeatMe and CityEats both provide all-in-one restaurant management software that include useful features such as online reservations and table management.

Where the two services differ most is in pricing and ease of setup. The key is to select the option that best matches your restaurant’s specific needs and resources. We hope this comparison is a helpful introduction as you consider alternatives to your current reservation and table management system!

Delight Diners With Easy To Use Restaurant Technology



Adding table management and online reservation technology to your restaurant doesn’t have to be difficult or costly. While some restaurant management services require outdated, clunky computer terminals to help hostesses seat diners and assign servers, advances in restaurant management technology have made them a thing of the past.

New, Web-Based Services Make Managing Your Restaurant Easier Than Ever

With new web-based services, such as SeatMe (a Yelp company), restaurants of all types and sizes can easily add advanced features, such as floor management and diner SMS, without any special equipment or lengthy training.

The advantage of web-based services is their ability to run on virtually any device that has an Internet connection. This means that you can use any PC or Mac that you currently own to set up and take advantage of helpful restaurant management tools in just minutes!

In addition, many restaurants are finding iPads to be an ideal mobile device for hostesses, GMs, and other front-of-house staff to quickly seat diners and look up their guest profiles to provide the best, customized experience. SeatMe also provides restaurants with the option to access their floor and guestbooks from an iPad app as well, making it easy for staff to access the same information from any device they prefer.

Flexible Features Let All Types of Businesses Run More Effectively

What’s even more exciting is the flexibility that these restaurant technology solutions provide. Because they’re so easy to set up, modify, and tailor to fit your exact needs, all types of local businesses are using them to help lower costs and delight customers. For example, more and more bars and wineries are relying on SeatMe to manage reservations from hundreds of guests each day.

Beyond reservations and table management, though, ditching a dedicated device has a few other benefits: for one, you’ll only need one device for everything (like playing music, a point of sale app, or managing to-go orders). We’ve also found that many restaurateurs enjoy the minimalist aesthetic of a small netbook or iPad, rather than a bulky desktop computer or gigantic reservation book.

So if you’re thinking about switching over from a pen-and-paper based system of managing tables and servers, you no longer need to worry about expensive equipment and complicated systems. New web-based restaurant management systems let you get set up in just a few steps, with a device you already own!

Introducing Joinable Tables. Never Miss Another Large Party Reservation.



We’re excited to announce the release of a fantastic new feature — Joinable Tables!

One of our most requested features, Joinable Tables (also known as auto-join tables or combinable tables) allows you to easily designate which tables in your restaurant can be combined to seat larger groups, so customers are able to reserve them online.

For example, if you typically combine a two-person and four-person table to accommodate six-person parties, you can now group these tables together. By doing so, customers looking to make a six-person reservation online will be able to book the larger, combined table, instead of only seeing options for two-person or four-person reservations.

To get started, watch our helpful walk-through video here.

Joinable tables is just one of many advanced features offered by SeatMe, an all-in-one restaurant management solution. Visit our website to view other useful features such as floor management and wait list texting.

Stay tuned for more product updates and, as always, let us know what features you’d like to see to help you manage your restaurant more effectively.

Restaurant Social Media Marketing: 3 More Ways To Fill Tables



One of our first posts on this blog featured three tips to market your restaurant on social media and get more diners. Today we’re going to look at three additional ways to get more diners from social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

1) Post your menu regularly, especially special items

Menus are one of the most important pieces of content that diners look at when making a decision on where to dine. As social media becomes more and more prevalent in everyday life, diners are increasingly turning to Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and more to find restaurant recommendations.

With so many social media channels to keep track of, it can be time consuming and difficult to keep your menu updated, and to make sure that it is published and available everywhere. Services like Locu make that easier — it scans your website for your restaurant menu, imports it, and makes it easily editable. From there, you’re one click away from sharing the menu on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and even back on your own website.

2) Give your diners something to share

Happy diners are your biggest fans, and by extension, one of the best ways to get new diners to your restaurant. Regularly post photos of new dishes, special event invitations, and recipe experiments. These will get your past diners excited to return, and they’ll likely share the photos with their own social circles.

Adding hashtags to photos on Facebook and Twitter expands your reach further, because your photos will appear to people who search for those hashtags. You can also use hashtags to curate an album of your diners’ experiences — just encourage everyone to use the same tags.

3) Reach diners when they’re looking for restaurants like yours

Local restaurant review sites, such as Yelp, are used multiple times per day by diners looking for new places to dine at. What’s more, almost 40% of diners on Yelp are searching for restaurants from their mobile phones. Make sure you’re taking advantage of mobile restaurant searches by creating compelling specials for diners when they visit your restaurant.

You can do this via check-in deals, which offer an added incentive to prospective diners, on platforms like Yelp, Foursquare and Facebook. In many cases, you’ll also get additional data on which customers are visiting (and checking in) most often.