Waitlist management is a core for the restaurant business, especially for restaurants that usually have a lot of Walk-ins or have long queue of customers waiting to be served. Such restaurants need a way to anticipate the waiting time as per table availability and notify customers waiting in the queue.
With the Waitlist SMS feature, we enable the restaurants to register customers in their waitlist and notify the customers via SMS when a table is ready.
The document covers:
- Configuration options in the Waitlist set-up
- How to use Waitlist feature in Operation System (TS 3.0)
Your Account Manager needs to enable Waitlist feature from the back-end settings. Please get in touch with your Account Manager if it’s not enabled and you want to use this feature.
SMS functionality needs to be enabled for your outlet.
4. KEY DEFINITIONS/ TERMS
- Paged – The status "Paged” means that the customer has been sent a notification via SMS. The term Paged is used for SMS sent only in reference to Waitlist, not any other confirmation/ reminder.
- Waitlist Registration – It means that the customer has been added to the waitlist and wants to receive SMS notifications when the table is ready.
5. SPECIFIC PROCEDURE
5.1 Waitlist Set-up in TS 1.0
Though the set-up is done only by the TableCheck Admins/ Account Managers, it is important to be aware of and know the configurations that are available during the set-up in order to understand the workflow of Waitlist notifications.
Send SMS message when added to Waitlist
When enabled – Customer receives an SMS when added to the waitlist.
Disabled - Customer will not receive an SMS on being added into the waitlist.
Refer Step 4 in Section 5.2
Any number from 1 to 5 can be selected here. The number selected is the number of times the SMS will be sent to the customer once the table is ready. This number excludes the Waitlist Registration SMS sent when the customer is added to the Waitlist.
The first SMS that is sent is the Table Ready SMS, after which the successive SMS are the reminders to come to the restaurant and occupy the table(s) assigned.
Paging Message Interval
This is the time interval between 2 successive SMS sent after the table is ready. It can be chosen as any of the below shown values.
Paging Expires After
The time selected here is the time for which the table will be held once a table has been assigned to a Waitlist & the first SMS has been sent.
Eg: If it is configured as 15 mins, when the table is assigned and the customer is first paged at 16:46, the table will be held until 17:01. The expiry time is also mentioned in each SMS that is sent to the customer.
5.2 Using Waitlist in TS 3.0
Once the Waitlist is enabled for your outlet, you can add customers to it in the Operation System by following the below steps.
Please note that customers can be added to the Waitlist only on current day, not for future days.
Step 1: On TS 3.0, i.e. the Operation System https://app.tablesolution.com/#/login
Go to Floor -> Waitlist -> Add to Waitlist
Step 2: Once you see the form, select pax. If you want, you can click Customers, select an existing customer or create a new customer profile in case of a new customer. However, for quick registration, it is recommended to select pax and click Save, and enter the name and phone number (if required) on the steps to follow.
Step 3: Select Creator
Step 4: While adding a customer to a Waitlist, you may or may not want to register her mobile number for receiving SMS notifications as per the below cases.
Case 1: When you don’t want to register Customer to receive SMS notifications related to Waitlist.
Use Cases where you don’t need to enter customer information & hence don’t need to send SMS:
- If the customer is going to wait just outside/ around the restaurant, and you can immediately ask him whenever a table for her is ready
- When the customer needs to wait for a very short amount of time for the table to get ready, i.e 5 minutes or so
In the above scenarios, you don’t need to enter any customer information and hence can click Skip below.
A walk-in is now created as shown.
Case 2: When you want to register customer to receive SMS
Use Cases where you should register the customer to receive SMS
- If the customer asks for it or wants to receive SMS notifications pertaining to Waitlist
- When the customer needs to wait for a longer amount of time for the table to get ready, i.e more than 15 mins
Hence you should enter Customer Name and Phone number (both are mandatory). You can also select language of the SMS and click Create Customer and Register.
Since we had enabled Send SMS message when added to Waitlist in Section 5.1, the customer will now receive an SMS.
Also as you can see below, the waitlist customers are labeled sequentially in the order in which they are added to the waitlist, and the time for which each customer has been waiting is also displayed.
Step 5: When the table for a customer is ready, you can assign the table and page the customer (if SMS registration was done) through the following steps:
Case 1: When the table is ready for a customer whose number was not registered to receive SMS.
Click on the Customer, click Seated (status) button
On the next screen select the desired tables(s) that you want to assign -> Save -> Select Updater
The Walk-in can now is moved to the Reservations tab with the status Seated.
Case 2: When the table is ready for a customer whose number was registered to receive Waitlist SMS.
Click on the Customer, select Seat & Page after which you can assign table(s) like earlier -> Save -> Select Updater.
You will then see the below screen to send SMS to the customer-> Click Send to send the SMS.
The SMS will be sent as below to the customer
The reservation status will change to Paged and immediately to Paged (1) denoting that 1st SMS has been sent.
If the customer arrives at the restaurant, you can change the status to Seated and the Waitlist customer will automatically move to the Reservations tab.
If the customer has not arrived (and the status is not changed to Seated), after Paging Message Interval, as explained in Section 5.1, has elapsed, another SMS labeled as Reminder will be sent and the status will change to Paged (2).
Similarly a 3rd SMS will also be sent and the status will change to Paged(3).
The reminders will be sent for the number of times configured in Paging Messages in Section 5.1
If the customer has not arrived even after the last paged SMS, the reservation will expire and the following will occur based on the setting in Section 5.1
Delete after expiry - enabled
Once expired, the reservation will automatically be moved to the Finished tab and its status will change to Deleted.
The customer will also receive an SMS like below.
Delete after expiry – not enabled
The customer will remain in the Waitlist but the elapsed time will be shown in red color.
Note: At any point of time, manually changing the reservation status to No Show/ Cancelled/ Deleted will cancel the waiting and Table No longer available SMS will be sent to the customer.
Q. Is the SMS chargeable?
A. Yes, every SMS will be charged at the standard SMS rate. Please get in touch with your Account Manager if you are not aware of the per SMS charge.
Q. Is there any log of Waitlist SMS sent?
A. No, the SMS will be always sent based on your Waitlist configurations, there is no log in the system that can be referred.
Q. Can different waitlist rules be set for different meal periods?
A. No, the waitlist configurations are outlet based, they cannot differ for different meal periods.
Q. Is there a way for customers to add themselves to the Waitlist?
A. No, customers can be added to the Waitlist only by Restaurant staff.
Q. How is this feature different from the earlier feature of a reservation being added for any future day and its status changed to Waitlist?
A. This Waitlist Notification feature is essentially for Walk-ins only (hence available only for the current day) and allows you to send SMS notifications with regards to table status to the customer. The earlier functionality of changing the status to Waitlist for a present or future reservation continues to exist and can be used independent of the Waitlist Notification feature.
Q. Is it possible to select a future time while adding a customer to Waitlist?
A. Yes, you can select a future time (on the current day) while adding the customer to the Waitlist.