How to Set up an OpenTable Reservation Facebook App

These days, it’s all about your customer’s convenience. They want to be able to reach you, find your menu, see your location, take a picture of what they’re eating and drinking, and then post a review for everyone to see.

That can all be done through social media, because last year Facebook and OpenTable, a restaurant reservation website, paired up to introduce a reservations system on a restaurant’s Facebook page using their mobile device’s Facebook App. It’s perfect, because according to Facebook, more than 654 million users access Facebook every day from a mobile device. Facebook also says that it has 1.07 billion monthly active users who look at Facebook using their mobile device. Even if the Facebook user doesn’t have the OoenTable app on their phone, they can still see it under the tab and use it to reserve a table at your restaurant.

Setting Up an OpenTable Tab is Easy
Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up your OpenTable Reservation tab on your Facebook page.

  1. First, you must be using OpenTable. If you aren’t, go here to set it up. Once you are set up, you’ll receive an OpenTable account number.
  2. Your restaurant must have a Facebook Business page, and you must be the administrator of that page. (If you don’t have a Facebook Business page, go to this link to learn how to set up one.)
  3. Follow the instructions for a restaurant with a single location or instructions for a restaurant with multiple locations. These documents will show you how to add reservations to your wall posts and then how to add the reservation application to your Facebook Business page. You will now have a new tab that will say “Book a Table” in both a desktop website and a mobile website. This is what it looks like on an iPhone:

OpenTable

 

Notice that the phone screen will show reservation times you already have listed in your OpenTable account, and that your customers can choose the date, time, and party size, just like on the OpenTable website. When they press a button with the proper time on it, their contact information that is already stored in Facebook will appear, which will allow you to contact them to confirm the reservation.

Promoting Your New Facebook Online Reservation System
Now that you have the OpenTable tab set up, you should start promoting it. Add some text to your website and write a blog about how this new tab works. On your Facebook page, tell your fans how easy it is to make reservations now—right from their mobile device! You may want to pay to have that post boosted so that it reaches all of your fans, and you can also direct Facebook to find potential customers within a 10-mile or more radius and within a certain age range. In your restaurant, set out cards or other marketing materials that will let your customers know that they now have a convenient option for online reservations.

This is one of the easiest changes that you can make—it shouldn’t take more than 45 minutes. If you don’t already use OpenTable, you may want to consider it. Integrating a reservation system with the Facebook app will help drive customers to your restaurant!

Grow Your Restaurant Business with Reservations

How to manage restaurant reservationsReservations and wait lists can help to draw customers to your restaurant—or they can cause problems that can irritate your regular Saturday evening crowd. No shows, late-shows, and shifting party sizes can cut into your bottom line and make it more difficult to seat those customers who have come on time. Let’s face it, no one likes a long wait for a restaurant table. There are several ways to make a reservation or wait list system work in your business’s favor. If you’re planning to introduce a reservation system or would like to streamline your existing one, the following tips will be helpful.

Reservation System Benefits

If a bad reservation system is prone to mishaps, why take reservations at all? There are several reasons to improving your reservation management system:

• Accepting reservations can increase your number of patrons by 30 percent or more.

• You can plan staff and cooking requirements accordingly.

• If expecting a large party for a big occasion, you can organize the dining room ahead of time which will make seating all patrons more efficient during that shift.

• Attract more customers simply through word-of-mouth. If your restaurant is well-known for seating diners quickly, then you’ll book larger parties, which means you’ll be bringing in more profit.

Make Your Reservation System Work For You

Managing your reservation system properly is the key, whether you expect 50 diners or 350. Think about your customers and the atmosphere they expect before and during dining.

Accept online reservations. Your customers are likely looking for an easy way to reserve a table, and an online reservation system is convenient. Give them the option of making plans using their computer or mobile device. To help lessen the chance of a no-show, require them to list their cell phone number and email address when they reserve so that you can easily contact them with a reminder.

Ask for a credit card when they reserve. Then, charge a fee if they don’t show or don’t cancel within a set amount of advance notice. This will help to ensure that if a customer’s plans change, they will be more inclined to let you know they won’t be coming so that their card isn’t charged. This is not always a popular approach, but it works in higher-end restaurants.

Consider a wait list and call-ahead seating. Since a reservation system can decrease the amount of walk-in traffic you may get, a wait list could work in your favor instead. That way, you can still guarantee seating for diners by using a wait-list approach. When diners come in, take their name and their cell phone number or give them a buzzer. When their table is ready, call their name, text them, or activate the buzzer. A call-ahead process organizes patrons in a similar way, with diners telling the restaurant what time they’re coming. That way, the host can prepare for their arrival and arrange them on the seating list.

Train your front of the house staff. Your host staff will need to learn how the new or improved reservation or wait list system operates. Be sure they are keeping track of reservation times and working together to perfect the process. Listen to their suggestions for additional streamlining opportunities to continually improve how your restaurant takes reservations.  

An organized and well-planned reservation system can attract new diners and satisfy your regulars, too. What tips do you have to share?

 

Banquet Seating & Decor: How to Set Up for Holiday Parties

The Thanksgiving and holiday seasons are popular for parties, large family style get-togethers, and end-of-year banquets.  If your restaurant, social hall, or club is taking reservations for private parties, you might be wondering how best to optimize your space and makeover your banquet room to create a festive but efficient party atmosphere this holiday season.   You’ll also need to make menu, staffing, and decoration decisions.  So let’s get started!

REDEFINE YOUR ROOM’S LAYOUT

Depending on your room dimensions and size of tables, you will have to adjust your space planning to accordingly fit your establishment.  Regardless, there are many ways to transform ordinary folding tables into welcoming places to gather, or rearrange your existing restaurant tables to create a new, more social space, that if done well can be breath taking.  Or, you may prefer to keep your restaurant seating the way it is, especially for less social gatherings or your corporate clients.  Take a look at some of our table layout suggestions, and see which room design will work for the specific parties you’re hosting this season.

The Classic Banquet Set-Up

Using rectangle tables, you can form long rows by butting the tables against each other.  With 8′ tables, you typically can fit 4 seats on each side.  At the joint where the tables adjoin, you may be able to add another seat (shown in red) if you’re short on space or need to fit more bodies in the room.  This should only be done if the extra seating capacity is needed and after you consider each person’s placement.  For example, if every person is going to have a soup bowl, entree dish, water glass, cocktail glass, silverware, name card, and favor, it might be a tight squeeze to add that extra person at the joint.  But if the setting is less formal and offers more room, they should be comfortable with that extra seat added.

Take note that 6-foot tables typically only seat 3 per side, or you can add the extra person where the tables adjoin.

If you need a head table, buffet table, or speaker’s podium, add it at perpendicularly to the other tables for easy viewing.

Setting Up with Banquet Rounds

Round tables offer a more formal look to your banquet space.  Tables that are 5-foot in diameter can seat 8 people, and they are the most commonly used size.  However, you could mix it up and use 4-foot tables, which seat 4 people, or 6-foot tables, which seat 10.

We recommend staggering the rows to maximize the space, verse setting up linear rows of rounds.  It creates a more visually appealing room, as well.

Creating One Large Round Banquet Table

To fit more people at a round table, consider adding four serpentine tables to the outside.  If you use a 60″ table in the middle, you can add four serpentines, each with a 5-foot inner radius, to create a table for at least 16 people.  Don’t need that many seats?  A 48″ round folding table paired with four 8-foot serpentines (4-foot inner radius) creates seating for 14.  As a bonus, the extra distance across the larger table offers an opportunity for a more significant centerpiece.

This set-up might be preferable for a large family enjoying Thanksgiving dinner together.

Creating One Large Rectangular Table

Likewise, you can create a larger rectangular table, too, with just a little ingenuity!  Four 8-foot tables combine to make seating for 20-22 people (depending on if you add a seat where the tables join along the sides).  This arrangement of tables may also be conducive for a large family meal, a conference or meeting, or to maximize space for seating up to 22.

Different U-Shape Configurations


Whether you do seating on both the interior and exterior, or keep guests on the outside only, U-shape configurations can be popular choice for different types of meetings or parties.  You can use serpentine tables to create rounded edges, or you can experiment with different lengths of rectangular tables.

Banquets Can Be Square Sometimes

Here, you can keep everyone along the perimeter.  The inside of the square is empty or hollow, so it’s not always the best way to optimize your space if you need room for a buffet, dance floor, or other party must-haves.  Again, you can round the corners with serpentine shaped tables if preferred.

Using Cocktail Tables for Non-Dinners

If you’re hosting a party that is not a formal sit-down dinner, you may want to offer seating for only half of the guests and provide tall cocktail tables for guests to stand and mingle around while enjoying light hors d’oeurves and their drinks.  This works well for networking events, as well as open house style parties, where not everyone is in the room at the same time.  Using cocktail tables creates a more social environment and allows guests to flow throughout the room or event without being tied to one seat.

Decide how your banquet room can be set up and how many people it can hold.  Offer as many options for your customers, and be willing to rearrange your tables based on their unique needs or type of meeting.  As you’re planning the space, be sure to take into consideration any other furniture you’ll need to set up, such as a buffet, dance floor, podium, A/V equipment, or gift table.

PLANNING THE PARTY MENU

A party of 30? 50? 200? No problem.  There are many options when it comes to your private party menus.  Here are just a few worth considering:

  1. Stick to your regular menu, and staff your restaurant with enough staff to take 30 unique meal orders and push them out of the kitchen simultaneously.
  2. Offer party guests a special, limited menu with only a few meal choices to select from.
  3. Plan the complete menu choices in advance with the person organizing the meal.  They can select three dinner choices from the menu and offer their guests they opportunity to pre-order from those selections.  With a little mark on each person’s name card, serving the right dishes to the right people becomes a cinch.
  4. Prepare the same meal for each guest, as determined by the person organizing the party.
  5. Consider family style dinners, where guests share larger portions amongst each other.
  6. Set up a buffet instead of serving the meal. Or, you can use a buffet to house the appetizers instead of butlering them before you serve dinner, or you can use a dessert buffet after you serve the dinner, so your staff aren’t serving every course.

Worried you’re not sure how much food to serve?  Be sure to check out our helpful resources pin board to find the answers!  We’ll show you how much cake you’ll need, how to stock your bar, and even how to set the table.

Talk about bar options before the party with the event organizer.  Is it an open bar? A cash bar?  Is it fully stocked?  Is it beer and wine only?  Alcohol is one of the most expensive items on your menu, so make sure both you and the organizer are in agreement over what type of bar you’re having the night of the party.

Depending on the number of guests, the type of menu and meal options you decide on, and whether your restaurant is open for normal business during the time of the party, you’ll have to consider the amount of staff you need to have on hand.

DECORATE & ENTERTAIN

It’s time for the finishing touches!  Be astonishing and add those details that really make your guests “ooh” and “ahh” when they walk in that front door!  Whether it’s a traditional cornucopia or a contemporary dash of glitter and glam, you want the party-goers to feel special. Take the extra steps to add some decorations, centerpieces, or holiday charm to the room. You’ll also want to consider if you’re using linens on the tables, chair covers, or if you need to secure stack chairs, folding chairs or Chiavari chairs for the special event. Maybe you need to find a holiday station on the music platform you subscribe to for entertainment, or book a live band for your guests’ enjoyment. And don’t forget to train your staff to be courteous and cheerful, so the party is a hit for everyone in attendance!

It’s the extra steps you’ll take that will set you apart from your competition and get a repeat booking for next year’s celebration!

On behalf of everyone at East Coast Chair & Barstool, we wish you a very happy, joyful, and peaceful Thanksgiving. May you have many blessings to count and a successful holiday season!