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 🙂



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.



We don’t get a huge amount of sunshine here at simpleERB HQ in Scotland but over the last few weeks the office thermometer has soared and we’ve noticed restaurants nearby setting tables up outside wherever they can. We thought we’d give you a quick how to guide on how to set up another restaurant area in simpleERB.

The locals have been lapping up the sun with a bit of al fresco dining and it got us thinking, maybe some of the simpleERB restaurants have outdoor dining areas which they only use for a small part of the year.

Add outdoor dining to your table layout

How to set up another restaurant areaWhen you initially set up your simpleERB account you’ll add areas which will then allow you to add tables to them on your table layout. We know that some of our users leave out their outdoor terrace or seating area because of the rain in Berlin, or the snow in Tallinn but you can add these areas and close them off whenever you aren’t using them.

Once your area is set up, you can go to the area settings which is within simpleERB’s advanced settings, and close out any dates you don’t want bookings on those tables.

If you don’t want bookings to be taken online at all for these tables, you can click the no web booking button next to the tables when you are setting them up initially in table layout or tailor your web booking availability in your web widget settings, also under the advanced simpleERB settings. This leaves you to manually assign the bookings to outdoor tables as they come in and saves you the hassle of keeping track of a different area outwith simpleERB.

This method can also be used for adding bookings who are ‘sitting at the bar‘ during busy times at the restaurant. You may not want let people book these tables, but you might want to have the area and the option to place people there, to maximise your availability.

As always, if you have any questions, just drop us an email on help@simpleerb.com. And as our sunshine fades away here in Glasgow, feel free to send some warm weather our way too!

 



Good customer feedback, no matter which industry you are in, is like gold dust. Nowadays, where everything is done online, more and more consumers use the internet to make decisions, based on someone else’s opinion. Whether it be which TV to splash out on, which brand of beans to get at the supermarket or which restaurant to visit at the weekend, potential customers will often turn to the internet to make an informed decision.

get customer feedback

reviews 2simpleERB allows you to get reviews from customers instantly. When the feedback feature is enabled, your booking confirmations, which are emailed to the customer, contain a link, asking them to review once they have dined. This gives the customer a direct outlet to you, the restaurant owner, where they can make any comments about their dining experience.

Once they complete the feedback, a copy is emailed to you and it can also be found within the reports section of simpleERB.

reviews 3When viewing the review in the reports section, you’ll notice a tick box in the bottom right hand corner of the review. If you select the tick box, you’ll be able to automatically email the customer with a pre-written message which could ask thank them for the review and direct them to your Trip Advisor or Yelp profile, where they could make their review public.

avoid bad press

Of course, nobody’s perfect and you might not get 5/5 from every customer. Allowing customers to feed back directly to the restaurant can help to avoid negative reviews appearing on review sites and allow you to sort any problems directly with the customer, rather than getting into an online spat!

Sign up to your free simpleERB account now. You’ll find the customer feedback options in the advanced general settings menu.



As we head into the holiday weekend (here in the UK!), we thought we’d share a quick tip with you about how you can split up your normal opening times if you want to operate ‘sittings’ in your restaurant.advpartialopen

Lots of our users contact us and ask if they can amend their opening times on a certain date so that they only allow bookings at very specific times. An example of this would be if on a Sunday you usually opened for lunch between 12pm and 3pm however, because it was a holiday, you might be doing a set menu and want to have the first set of customers all arriving at 12pm and then the second sitting of customers arriving at 2pm. Can we do this with simpleERB? Yes!

partialopensWithin advanced settings, you’ll see the opening times tab and within this you’ll be able to select partial open times. The times you enter here will override your normal opening hours on the date you specify.

Very simply, you select the date you wish to partially amend and the times that you wish your diary to be open. If you are doing sittings just make the last order time the same time as your opening time and then set the close time for a timeslot just before your next sitting. Make sure that your turn time fits into these sittings otherwise you might find that the timeslots will be closed.

Repeat these steps for your second sitting time. Your diary will then only have the 12pm and 2pm slots open for customers to book. Your simpleERB diary will also reflect this.

Have a great weekend and if you’ve got any questions or are looking to solve a problem, just email us at help@simpleerb.com

 

 



Reviews can be extremely valuable to a restaurant owner. Not just the good ones either. A bad review could arguably be more useful. It helps you identify any weak points and lets you fix them. We read this article about monitoring online reviews and how to harness their influence recently and were surprised that now over 67% of restaurant goers want to read reviews online before they dine at a restaurant. The thing is though, you don’t want your customers to read just about negatives, you want the good reviews to be visible. That’s why simpleERB has a feedback feature.

get reviews direct, filter the good and bad

The get customer feedback feature within simpleERB sends the customer a link when they make a booking which they can visit and leave a review which then gets sent straight to you, the restaurant owner. You can set up links to your social pages (Facebook, Trip Advisor etc…) and with one click at the end of the customer review, you can send them a link to your Trip Advisor profile and ask them if they would like to share their review there. If you’d rather they didn’t share their feedback in public, then you can contact the customer directly. simpleERB also remembers your customers, so you’ll easily find their contact information.

To start managing your customer feedback effectively, login to your simpleERB account now or create a free account. You’ll find this feature in the advanced general settings.

 



The walkin function might be, of the many features on simpleERB, the one that could save you the most time.

We know that when a customer comes in off the street, you just want to allocate them a table quickly and the last thing you need is to be asked for name, phone number, email address or dietary requirements before you do that.

When you use the walkin button on simpleERB you won’t be asked to enter any details, it will just confirm the table that has been allocated and then a generic booking will appear in your diary.

how to I add a walkin?walkin man

It couldn’t be easier. At the top of the bookings screen, you’ll see the grey ‘man’ button. Simply click this button and select your desired timeslot on the booking slot by clicking ‘make booking’. The screen (pictured below) will open and then all you need to do is click save booking. The booking will be allocated a table and will appear, along with all of your other bookings, in your diary.

walkin screenstill capture customer data from a walkin

If you’re a bit worried that you might lose valuable customer info from adding a walkin, don’t worry! You can revisit the booking and click the show customer fields button. This will allow you to add any data you got from the customer, at a later time. Just don’t forget to click save!

You can setup a free simpleERB account now!



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