A curse for restaurateurs, here’s how to reduce restaurant no shows to near zero.

If a restaurant is working on a small profit margin, a few no shows on a busy night can be the difference between working for nothing and turning  a profit.

simpleERB has the tools to enable you to reduce the financial cost of  your no shows  dramatically.

Automatic booking reminders

You can set any number of these these up to go to customers. e.g.  if someone books a long way ahead, one can go  a month before their date of arrival and another a couple of days before.

They can go by email or sms/text.

How to reduce restaurant no shows

Diners can be sent sms/text or email reminders of their reservation.

 

 

Hold credit cards securely in a PCI compliant manner

You don’t want to be holding people’s credit card numbers in any other form.  You would be leaving your self wide open to fraud and even be fined by your bank or credit card company. simpleERB has integrations with Stripe and Paypal to let you do this.

Take deposits

Again our integrations with Stripe and Paypal allow you to do this.

simpleERB gives you full control, so if you want to only insist on credit card numbers for your busy times like Friday or Saturday nights you can do this. Or only for Xmas. Or only for Valentines Day. Or only for bookings of over 10 covers…

Here is how simple it looks in simpleERB…

simpleERB credit card capture

Hold credit cards in a PCI compliant way. Take deposits.

The last thing is, all of these ideas are simple to implement. And quick. Immediately actionable tactics to help reduce restaurant no shows.

p.s. You could always go  “All ticket” – and charge everyone in advance. Just a thought…simpleERB lets you do that as well 🙂



We’ve just had Christmas but with Valentines Day looming we wanted to point you in the direction of a neat little ‘hack’ which might make your planning for special occasions or one off events in your restaurant run a little more smoothly.

One of our new users, Allium by Mark Ellis, came to us last month looking to set up their restaurant differently for a few days in February around Valentines Day. Rather than have their regular setup, they wanted a predominantly two cover per table setup just for one or two nights.

valentines layoutWhat they did was add a new area called ‘Restaurant Valentines’ with the layout they required. Then in advanced settings they used the closed area function to close out their usual restaurant area for these dates. In addition to that, they made sure that the Valentines area was closed from now until the date they required it in February and then again after these dates until a date much further in the future.

You could keep this area in your layouts to be used again or diarise a reminder to delete the area once the event has passed. It’s up to you.

The restaurant are now able to take bookings without having to worry about rearranging tables once bookings have been made.

As always, drop us an email on help@simpleerb.com if you require any further information or a nudge in the right direction!



We just wanted to let you know about a few updates which we’ve made over the last few weeks. They will probably be the last updates this year but we have loads planned for 2017 and always like to hear if you have any ideas.

As well as squashing the odd bug here and there, we’ve added the ability to add walkin bookings on the mobile waiter view, we’ve fixed the rankings by cover amount and we’ve added additional responsiveness to the horizontal widget so that it looks better on mobile sites.

If you visit m.simpleerb.com on your mobile device, you might have noticed in the past that it just listed your daily bookings. Naturally, the smaller screen means that we can’t display simpleERB on mobile the same way we do on a desktop or laptop, even iPad. However, we challenged our designers to add a bit of usability to the mobile site and the first thing we have added is the ability to add walkin bookings via mobile. Using simpleERB on a phone was always meant to be something which we envisioned front of house staff using to check in customers. Adding a walk in booking is the next logical step for us. What else would you like to do on mobile?

We’ve also tidied up table ranking by cover numbers so that as well as having a general table ranking with all your tables, you can also view your rankings by a certain amount of covers, for example, what order are tables of 4 allocated? This should help you make it easier and more clear for simpleERB to allocate tables.

Finally, using the horizontal widget? Many of you are. You might have noticed that viewing the horizontal widget on a mobile can lead to quite a bit of pinching on your phone screen as you try and zoom in and out. Some websites that aren’t properly optimised didn’t really like the widget all that much but we’ve made some changes to the widget which will resize it based on the size of screen you are viewing it on.

As we said, there’s a lot more in the pipeline and if you’ve got an idea for something you’d like to see in simpleERB, drop us an email on help@simpleerb.com



Happy Thanksgiving to all of our American readers! We hope you are suitably rested after yesterdays festivities and are avoiding Black Friday as much as you can. If you’re anything like us then you’ll be feasting on cold leftovers today. In fact, we’re of the opinion that the leftovers might be the best part of a celebratory meal, be it Thanksgiving or Christmas. This writer may even have contemplated cooking a large roast just for the plethora of leftover possibilities that it provides.

Enough about us though. What’s your favourite recipe for leftovers? We’ve been salivating over some of these ideas from Serious Eats this morning. Stuffing waffles. Kentucky hot brown. Count us in.

Of course, it’s not all about gluttony at this time of year and we were reminded, whilst dreaming of leftovers, of The Real Junk Food project who liberate food destined for the restaurant bin to turn it into delicious dishes. They feed anyone and it’s a pay what you want concept, so if you’re in need, just enjoy the food. If you can dip into your pocket, then you’ll help the organisation continue their good work.

Happy holidays!



Working in the restaurant trade, there’s a good chance that already, you’re getting a bit fed up with Christmas. Sure, the restaurant might be busy for the whole of next month, but it also puts a strain on your staff that isn’t there for the other 11 months of the year. Don’t even mention those friends who want your chefs opinion on the best way for them to prepare their Turkey. Like you have time for that!?!

Thankfully, simpleERB has a lot of features, many which are perfect to get you through the festive period. Since last year, we’ve added deposits and credit card holding to our features with Christmas being the perfect time to start using it.

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Take deposits easily online to prevent payments getting lost or forgotten

simpleERB now lets you set up rules so that on certain bookings, customers are required to make a deposit payment on their reservation. You can set this up to be for parties of a certain amount, at particular dates and times or for all bookings. The rules are easy to switch on and off and you can have multiple rules for different amounts running at the same time. You can also choose if you want to charge a blanket amount or if you want to charge a set amount per cover.

If customers book online through your simpleERB widget, they will be advised about the deposit and that the booking is provisional until the deposit is paid. You can set up in your rules a date by which the deposit needs to be paid and any unpaid deposits will be clearly shown in your diary. Customers are sent a link via email where they can enter their card details which means that you and your staff don’t need to handle any card details keeping them safe and secure.

We handle payments through stripe and you can set up an account with them quickly and easily.

We can ensure there are no accidental bookings on your closed days

Use the simpleERB closed days feature to make sure your diary is completely blocked off on any days you are not open. This not only removes your availability from the booking widget but also completely removes timeslots from your diary, meaning none of your staff can add in an accidental booking you won’t be able to take.

We can allow you to be flexible with your Christmas availability hours

The simpleERB partial opening function allows you to split your opening times on certain dates. Perfect around the festive period if your restaurant operates ‘sittings’ on busy nights. Also ideal for amending your hours on certain days, for example if you are finishing early on Christmas Eve.

We can help keep your staff updated with extra Christmas info

You can use your simpleERB message function to add staff notifications to specific dates, such as reminders to advise customers you are only serving your festive menu or that deposits are needed for large bookings for December dates. The messages appear at the top of your diary page as well as at the top of the customer details page when entering a booking.

We can prevent empty tables

Can’t afford an empty table in your busiest month of the year? Add some booking reminders so simpleERB automatically sends a message to a customer to remind them they’ve booked a table in advance. You can send these by email or by SMS. If you need to buy SMS credits, drop an email to help@simpleerb.com

Of course, simpleERB isn’t just for Christmas, it can make your restaurant run smoother all year round. To give us a whirl, sign up to simpleERB (it’s free for small restaurants and easily affordable for bigger ones)

Oh, and if those friends are still going on about how to cook a turkey, ask them to give this a try.



Reviews are important. It seems an obvious statement doesn’t it? Just how important can reviews be to your business and it’s online presence though? Well, local search for restaurants is one area that reviews can play a key role.

After reading this tête-à-tête between marketing experts David Mihm and Mike Blumenthal it would seem that in your local online eco-system (the world where search engines source their data) that the answer is very important.

You’ve probably noticed that when you search for your restaurant on google that additional information will now show in a box alongside the search results.

It seems that by having reviews (hopefully all positive!) on a multitude of sites helps your ranking in search results. This makes it more credible to search engines such as google. This article gives a good comparison between profiles receiving reviews over multiple sites rather than just through one.

The question is though, how do I get customers to review my restaurant over a range of platforms, rather than just on Trip Advisor? simpleERB has the solution for you.

using simpleERB to get reviews

Local search for restaurantsWithin your advanced settings on simpleERB, you can enable customer feedback. This means that when a customer makes a booking, they are sent a link which they can use once they have dined, to directly send you their feedback.

The first advantage of this is that you have a direct line to the customer, and they to you, meaning that if they are giving negative feedback, it should come to you first, before being posted on any well known review sites.

Secondly, you can set up your social links in simpleERB with URL’s for your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Trip Advisor profiles. These can be sent directly back to the customer along with a standard message telling the customer where they could post this review, more publicly.

Lastly, we believe that feedback, in any business is vital to improve yourself and performance. So take the opportunity to take the reviews onboard and discuss them with your staff.

All of this can be activated with just a few clicks and all of it, will improve local search for restaurants.

 



Restaurant messages for staffWe’re putting together some top tips for using simpleERB during the busy Christmas period. Firstly however, we just wanted to quickly remind you of a handy feature than can be used all year round: restaurant messages for staff.

You’ll find this useful feature in the advanced settings of your simpleERB account. It allows you to set date specific messages to display to your staff.

Easily keep staff informed

You might be running a special menu on the last Thursday of the month. The kitchen might be closing early on Sunday night. Or you might have a band on for the next three Saturday nights. Whatever the information, you can put it front and centre so your staff can keep your customers informed.

You can set multiple messages to show on certain dates. Or have some messages permanent or recurring on the same day each week.

When a waiter goes to make a booking, a visible box at the top of the page alerts the waiter to the information you have entered. This allows them to seamlessly advise the customer as they enter the details of the booking.

Restaurant messages for staff means less surprises for customers from forgetful waiters and the chance for you to communicate everything clearly and efficiently.

 



There aren’t many more daunting things for diners than a restaurant wine list, so we are told. Diners don’t want to seem cheap and order the least pricey bottle but they also don’t usually want to splash out on the top end, usually picking a bottle somewhere around the second or third cheapest.

However, in the last week we’ve read some advice from top restaurant critic Jay Rayner saying that you should protest the exorbitant wine markups and choose the cheapest bottle.

This maybe paints the restaurants in a poor light but Michael Sager of wine bar Sager + Wilde admits that some restaurants will try and push the expensive stuff on you but he gives some really good tips to avoid getting bogged down choosing the best wine to compliment your meal.

He even suggests doing your homework. Look at the wine list on the restaurants website, and google the wines. see what sounds good, see what the markup really is, and if in doubt, hit the new world wine section and look for something unique. It was probably chosen by someone who cared.



Maybe a few tables are lingering a bit too long or maybe you are lucky enough to have a plush area for guests to relax in before their meal. Either way, did you know that you can add bookings to a waitlist in simpleERB?add bookings to a waitlist

When your diner arrives, locate their booking on your screen and open the booking details screen.

On the right hand side, you’ll see a drop down menu. Open the menu and select Not yet seated – Add to waitlist. You can add the designated waitperson and the customer’s location too if you want.

Remember to save the booking.

 

When you go back to your bookings screen, you’ll notice that waitlist at the top of the page will now have a number next to it. Expand waitlist and you’ll see who is in your waitlist and how long they’ve been waiting.

waitlist-view

When you’re ready to seat them, click available tables, and choose where they are to be seated.

Add bookings to a waitlist… another simple solution from simpleERB.

 

 

 

 



We just wanted to share some light relief with you this Friday courtesy of the clever folks at yelldesign. Drawing on their mutual love of food and papercraft, they have produced a series of videos that look good enough to eat. Papermeal is a collection of videos showing the ‘cooking’ of some of their favourite meals. We are particularly fond of the fish and chips video, but it would be unfair of us to pick a favourite! They are all great!

 

Now, a weekend of papercraft or maybe I’ll just stop for Fish and Chips on the way home tonight…



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