Do you tag customers on simpleERB? Tagging customers can help with many things such as informing your staff about a customer or booking specific information so that they know exactly which page they are on when they walk through your front door. Setting customer tags is also good for your marketing campaigns. It means you can target specific subsets of customers and you can send them info which is relevant and interesting to them.

Setting up my customer tags

We hear you cry, but how do I set up customer tags? It’s easy, and you see them every time you add a booking. The quick info buttons on the booking page are what we use to tag customers. We’ve preset some ideas for you but you can change these to anything that you want.

In your advanced settings, under general, there is a tab called ‘booking information options’. You can add, delete and reorder your ‘tabs’ from here. They will then appear on the booking information screen every time you enter a booking.

Benefitting from customer tags

We mentioned two of the ways you can benefit from tagging your customers. The most obvious and up front way is that when the diner visits your restaurant, a quick glance at your diary will show any of the tags that you’ve added so your waitstaff know straightaway that the customer is a VIP or a vegan and they can treat them accordingly.

We also mention using tags to target specific groups with mailing campaigns. Although we don’t have an ‘in-app’ mail marketing solution, there are many other dedicated services like MailChimp who do it better than we ever could. simpleERB does always allow you to download your customer data at any time so if you use tags, you can download certain samples of your database to target specific customer sets. For example, you might want to tag all customers who use a discount voucher, or book via a different website. You might want to contact them and offer them the same offer that they booked but this time directly through yourself. You could even integrate this with our new offers system and send them all a unique URL to an offer that is just for them. All you need to do is select the relevant info buttons when exporting your database.

Log in to simpleERB now and know your customers better!

 



Messages for customers is one of our new features which we’ve added on the back of some feedback from users. Many of our users wanted to be able to convey specific information to customers depending on when they have booked.

Those of you who are familiar with our messages for staff feature, will know exactly how this new feature works. Like staff messages, messages for customers allows you to pre-set messages for the benefit of your customers who are booking online. You choose a set of dates and a time when you want the info to be available and when a customer visits you website and tries to make a booking, the info will appear once the customer has selected the time they wish to book.

A few customers have asked if we are going to allow messages for customers appear on the very front page of the widget rather than being dependant on a date, day or time. We might, but in the meantime, the best thing to do would be to use some of the space around your web widget on your own website, to add your own text. For example, this is how Spitfire Barbecue in Bristol do it.

Of course, you could use the messages for customers feature to tie in with your offers, which you can now also add for booking on your simpleERB widget.



We’ve recently added the ability to take deposits through simpleERB and many of our users have already taken the ball and run with it. One of the great things we find, is that our users all have different ways of using the system. We’ve seen that taking deposits is no different.

In basic terms, we set deposits up so that restaurants could take deposits or card details for bookings at certain times. Whether the deposit was being taken on specific days or in a certain time period, for example Christmas, it was a simple process. Of course, along then came our users who made us think of different ways in which they might want to use the deposits system.

We already have offers in the pipeline (shhhh, it’s still under wraps!) but our users have asked now that we’re doing deposits, can they sell ‘tickets’ or take full payment in advance. We’ll have an elegant solution for this in the future, but for now, it’s still something which can be done.

You might be running a charity dinner or your restaurant may only offer a set menu and for this reason, you’d maybe want people to pay in advance. Say, for example, that on a Saturday night you are always booked up weeks in advance, especially at 8pm, you can tailor the deposit settings within simpleERB to take a payment for bookings only at that time.

How do I set it up?

Easily! Once you’ve configured your simpleERB account to your Stripe account, you’ll need to set up some rules.

Within the deposit settings, choose to set a deposit for the day and time at which you want to take a payment for. e.g. If you’re selling tickets to a dinner, select the start time of the event and make it the same as the end time. Then select the deposit amount in if you require the payment to be completed in advance. And that’s it, done!

When customers go to book at this time, they will be asked for full payment and will be automatically sent a payment link or if they book via the widget, they’ll get the chance to pay there and then.

If you have any questions about deposits, please email us on help@simpleerb.com or refer to the help guide within your simpleERB account.

 



If you’re looking for an alternative to ResDiary to reduce restaurant no shows, a curse for restaurateurs, here’s how to reduce them 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.

Does it work? Yes! Here is one of customers talking:

“At Ben’s Cornish Kitchen in Marazion, we started taking deposits using the simpleERB booking system. No shows virtually vanished overnight. We’ve had no complaints and no wasted seats. We’re very happy!”

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



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.

 



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.

 

 

 

 



customise table settingssimpleERB’s advanced settings allow you to tailor your restaurant to your exact specifications including letting you customise table settings.

The advanced table settings allow you to join tables, amend your default turn times for certain days or dates, rank your tables and close off tables.

Table Joins

Most restaurants will have at least a couple of tables which can be pushed together to make a larger table. simpleERB doesn’t assume that tables can go together but you can tell it that they do in this section. You can have as many different joins as you wish. The more you give, the better flexibility your diary will have when a booking comes in.

Table Ranking

Once you’ve added your joins, you might want to rank your tables so that simpleERB knows which tables to use first. It will automatically assign tables in the order they were added e.g. T1, T2, T3 but you might want to give table 6 away to customers first because it’s in the window and table 1 may be squeezed in under the bar, so your preference might be to only assign this table as a last resort.

Table ranking also allows you to rank table joins you have set up alongside regular tables. If you’d prefer to join two tables of two at the front of the restaurant as a 4 rather than give a table of 4 in the back to a customer, rank your tables like that.

Table Turn

As part of your setup, you’ll probably have selected a table turn time. You may have certain times however where you want to give customers a shorter stay time, say at Saturday lunchtime, when you turn tables quickly. On the other side of that, on a Saturday night, you might give customers the full evening on the table. In advanced Table Turn, you can customise different days and dates to suit your restaurant. You can also remove turn times from all timeslots.

Closed Tables

If you need to close a table off for any reason, simpleERB allows you to close certain tables at specific times. This feature could be handy for you if you don’t want to take bookings for your outdoor terrace durning monsoon season. You might also want to close out a few tables if they are being moved for an event in your restaurant or even if the table has to go for repair!

simpleERB has a wealth of features to make life more simple for you. Create your free account now and customise table settings for your own restaurant.



Your simpleERB widget settings can now be tailored even further to suit your restaurant. As well as closing times from online booking, you can now set a minimum time between online bookings being made and the customer arriving as well as allowing customers to specify if there are any children in the party.

To set up your widget settings, go to advanced settings > booking widget > configure widget in your simpleERB account.

widget settings

 

The top box on the page lets you set some general features for your widget.

display tables back by message ~ do you want the message to appear telling the customers when they select a timeslot at what time you require the table back by?

display children/infant covers on the widget ~ you can allow the customer to select how many adults, children and babies are in their booking. You can set the age ranges too.

limit future booking availability ~ here you can set how long in advance a customer can make a booking. You could only allow bookings up to a month in advance or you might want customers to be able to book for the next year. Handy if you aren’t ready to take Christmas bookings quite yet!

max covers bookable ~ an old feature in a new home. Let’s you set the largest booking size you’ll accept from an online booking.

minimum time between booking and arrival ~ you asked, we’ve added it. Now you can set how long before a booking a customer is able to make an online booking.times

amending timeslots and dates

In the bottom box of this page you can suspend specific dates or times from online booking. You’ll still be able to manually enter bookings in your system but there won’t be availability showing online for customers.

You can add these close outs as full days which are the same every week or on specific dates and times. You can also just close out particular tables.

All of your close outs show in a list at the bottom of the page, just in case you forgot that you added one!



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