How to Reduce Restaurant Wait Times for Customer Convenience

Restaurant wait times are challenging for both the restaurant and hungry diners waiting to eat. Yet, many restaurants are unable or unwilling to reduce wait times. Large lines can detract customers and reduce potential revenue, as a study from Columbia Business School showed sales drop when there are more than five people in line. Even if you have your wait times under control, the appearance of a long wait impacts those waiting which can lead to more walkaways and lost revenue. Here are four ways to reduce wait times for customers.

1. Be up Front With Customers About Current Wait Times

People going to a restaurant are hungry and want to know how long they will have to wait if there is a wait. The best way to handle your diners is by being honest with them. Using QLess for restaurants allows both the waiting diners and staff to see each group’s actual restaurant wait time in the queue. Knowing their wait time lets patrons do other things while they wait.

2. Utilize a Queue Management System

Many restaurants don’t take reservations. For restaurants that do, managing reservations can overwhelm the host and add stress for both employees and diners.The QLess queue management system makes it easy for diners to get in line. Guests can join the queue before they leave home for the restaurant; they can add themselves when they get there or join the line for a day in the future. Either way, the QLess app lets customers see precisely where they are in the queue and their wait time for the restaurant.

Guests at a restaurant

3. Enable Two-Way Communications

Restaurant wait times are hard to predict, as some diners will eat and leave quickly while others will savor their last bite. Utilizing the two-way communications features of QLess, restaurants can constantly update those waiting with up-to-date times.If a table frees up quickly and the next customers in the queue aren’t close by, staff can seat another customer, and the other guest can be easily moved to another slot, so they don’t lose their place in line.Similarly, if a diner is running late, they can let the restaurant know, so they don’t lose their place in the queue. In both cases, overall wait times are reduced, as you can efficiently manage both open tables and guests.

4. Train Your Staff

Ensuring your staff is properly trained is essential in managing restaurant wait times. Traditionally, reservations are handled by the host and anyone calling or showing up has to interact with one or two hosts. If it’s busy, they can get overwhelmed easily. QLess cloud software allows people to join virtually from their phones via app, website, and SMS, and guests don’t need to interact with the host to join the queue. If you train all staff on how to use the QLess system, it takes the burden off the hosts, who will be freed up to take care of the following customers in line to ensure their dining experience is the best it can be. QLess makes managing restaurant wait times easier for any restaurant and its staff. It also makes it easier for guests to join the queue at their convenience. Schedule a demo of QLess today to see how it can help your restaurant.