This spring and summer, as temperatures rise and vaccinations take hold, restaurant owners anticipate customers returning to their restaurants in numbers not seen since pre-pandemic times. According to the National Restaurant Association, 37% of all adults (and about half of adults aged between 18 and 40 years of age) went out for dinner at a sit-down restaurant between February 1 and March 14 of 2021, the highest percentage since last February.
One powerful tool that restaurant owners can use to make this return as smooth as possible is reservations software.
Reservations software allows customers to reserve a table at your restaurant ahead of time, get real-time updates as their reservation approaches, and even pay their tab online. It can also help managers gain visibility into business fluctuations for more efficient staffing and accurate financial forecasting.
Reservation and online booking software helps businesses manage reservation requests and bookings made online. It allows access to real-time booking information, availability calculation, and group booking management. It reduces wait times through instant response systems for greater productivity, both for the customer and the business. Automation also ensures accuracy in reservations and reduced manual intervention.
To find out which reservation software products are right for your business, we curated a list of the highest rated products on GetApp based only on reviews from people in the restaurant industry and listed them in alphabetical order (read our full methodology below).
Overall user rating from the restaurant industry: 4.73 (75 reviews)
Notable features: Gift card management, automated inventory management, tableside ordering, and payments.
Guest Manager in CAKE POS (Source)
CAKE was launched by multinational food distribution corporation Sysco about five years ago, so it was developed by a team that knows the restaurant industry through and through.
The reservation system in CAKE is called Guest Manager. It allows customers to add themselves to a real-time waitlist directly from your website, and allows restaurants to keep track of customers’ favorite dishes, birthdays, and more through private guest profiles. CAKE POS scores high marks for ease of use among our reviewers, which is critical during a lunch or dinner rush.
Visit our reviews page to see what real users think of CAKE POS, along with pros and cons.
Overall user rating from the restaurant industry: 4.58 (33)
Notable features: Guest database, reviews management and analysis, and loyalty points program.
10 OpenTable tips for reopening your restaurant (Source)
OpenTable is a big name in restaurant reservations technology, having launched all the way back in 1998 in San Francisco. The reservation system is now used by more than 60,000 restaurants globally with millions of users and 1.6 billion seatings in 2019.
The app can handle everything from reservations to marketing and boasts a huge network of users. OpenTable recently added a safety precautions field to help restaurants reassure diners about the actions they are taking to maintain a safe dining environment.
Visit our reviews page to see what real users think of OpenTable, along with pros and cons.
Overall user rating from the restaurant industry: 4.56 (45)
Notable features: Gift card fraud protection, loyalty program, and real-time menu updates.
SpotOn Restaurant Demo Front of House (Source)
SpotOn develops a variety of software solutions for small to midsize businesses, from appointment scheduling to reviews management. Their restaurant management software, SpotOn Restaurant, works with their reservation system, SpotOn Reserve (formerly Seatninja), to help restaurants streamline their reservations process.
SpotOn Restaurant gives restaurants a customizable dashboard, enterprise reporting, a website builder, and more.
Visit our reviews page to see what real users think of SpotOn Restaurant, along with pros and cons.
When you’re ready to fully reopen your restaurant doors to your customers, restaurant reservations software can help you make sure everything goes smoothly, from scheduling staff to managing waitlists.
We hope that one of the tools included here strikes the right balance of ease of use and functionality for you and your customers, but if you still want to browse more tools after reading this article, check out our reservations software directory, complete with buyers guide and Category Leaders.
The three products with the highest ratings from restaurant industry reviewers are featured in this article.
To be considered for this article, products must:
Meet the market definition for reservations software: “Reservation and online booking software allows customers to book your services online, with access to real-time booking information and multiple secure online payment processing options. The software facilitates enhanced ease of booking as per the user's choice, and reduces waiting times through instant response systems for greater productivity, both for the customer and the business.”
Offer the following core features: Online booking, billing, and payment processing
Have at least 20 reviews from restaurant industry reviewers in the past two years
Only reviews from users in the restaurant industry were evaluated to select the products featured in this article.