We've come up with north of 30 common issues we hear of restaurateurs having that simpleERB can help fix by providing various solutions.
We have also recently created a new collection of help articles and solutions for the unprecedented issues that have arisen out of new social distancing guidelines and changes. To view the collection on how simpleERB can help you adapt to COVID compliances, click here.
I want... to take bookings from my website
Every restaurant should have a website but how do you convert web visitors into bookers? You need to make sure you have a booking widget on your site along with your social media pages.
That’s easy with the simpleERB web booking widget. You can; take bookings, ask for details of children and babies, change the maximum number of covers, for deposits set an auto due date, easily switch bookings off when you’re busy, and insist on a minimum time between booking and arrival.
I want… to take Facebook bookings
A Facebook page lets businesses connect with their customers and is an essential marketing device for restaurants. But how do you convert Facebook visitors into bookers?
The simpleERB web booking widget can be used on your Facebook page to let you take bookings directly from Facebook.
You can take bookings, ask for details of children and babies, change the maximum number of covers, easily switch it off when you are busy, and insist on a minimum time between booking and arrival.
I want… to get bookings from Instagram
Instagram has fastly become a vital communication and marketing tool for restaurants with user-generated content doing all the hard work. By adding your simpleERB widget URL into your bio section of your page with a call to action, it will allow people to book without leaving the app.
You could also use a shortened private booking offer URL in a post for special promotions or set menus.
I want... to prevent overbooking
Overbooking is one of the primary causes of customer dissatisfaction in restaurants. You have the tables right? There was blank space in the paper diary for that part time waiter to take that booking for 22, right? Trouble is your chefs and your kitchen can’t cope. Result, slow service times, comps, and unhappy customers who give you a kicking on social media and don’t return.
simpleERB makes this impossible. You set the rules about how many covers that your staff can accept in any given time period and only a manager can override. You can vary this for times when you are staffed up and able to take more covers by using the override max covers in advance settings or even cap booking sizes at specific time slots.
I want… to maximise covers
simpleERB allows you to set up rules that make sure outside bookings from the web or Facebook, or telephone bookings taken by your staff, are taken in the most efficient way. Staff placing bookings for 2 on “four tops” is fine on a quiet Monday night but can be a serious missed revenue opportunity on busy services.
simpleERB automatically prevents this happening when you have set this up in table ranking settings. Only a manager can override the “rules”.
And on particularly busy periods you can prevent bookings of say, less than 4, at all.
I want… greater control for large party bookings
There is nothing more damaging than an online booking for a party of 10 on a Saturday night ending up a no show.
You might want greater control on where larger party bookings are allocated and prefer for them to be telephone bookings. Perhaps you wish to place them in a private room or on certain tables. You might also want to secure a deposit or card details to hold against the booking.
In simpleERB you can set a max booking size available through the widget to stop people booking a large table or close off your larger tables from online booking via widget settings. You can also set up deposit or card capture to certain booking sizes or times. See our video about how deposits work here.
I want… a CRM
Every big company has a “Customer Relationship Management” system, or “CRM” where they keep a record of customer preferences. In the best restaurants the “CRM” existed in the head of the owner or maitre d’.
simpleERB makes it easy for every restaurant to have a world class CRM. You can set up the exact customer preferences that you would like to record and have them at your fingertips on any device whenever a customer calls or walks in.
Our autofill feature also makes it super quick to get a returning customer booked in and their preferences highlighted.
I want… to create bookable offers
You can create bookable offers in simpleERB. These can show on your web and Facebook widget or can be “private” and only show on a particular URL sent to customers.
You can set exactly what days of the week, dates, or particular times that you want them to be available for, add an offer allocation, enforce offers, or set when you want them to expire.
These are useful to identify what menu the customer wishes to dine on (pre-theatre, afternoon tea) or for a set offer promotion you may be running.
I want… to take bookings from Google
Previously, you could add your simpleERB booking link to your Google My Business, (that’s the square that appears on the right hand side of Google search results with your address, phone number, open times and reviews.)
This would allow customers to book directly from Google searches and maps, opening you to new customer exposure.
Google has recently changed this, we are in the process of integrating with their new methodology and hope to have this available again soon.
I want… to deal with no shows
simpleERB has a few features you can set up to help you eliminate no shows.
You can do this by sending automatic booking reminders via email or SMS, asking for bookings to be confirmed via the email link on the reminder email, holding credit cards securely or asking for deposits with an auto due date set. You could even change to be a ticketed restaurant. simpleERB does it all.
I want… to quickly fill cancelled seats
If a customer or large booking cancels last minute on a busy night, the likelihood of that being refilled is slim. You could be kicking yourself if earlier in the day you turned away a customer as you were full.
In simpleERB you can monitor the day's cancellations for all bookings (today’s and future) and also keep a record of people you would like to be added to a wait list allowing you to see if a table opens up that you could offer a hopeful customer to recoup that lost booking.
I want… to manage bad reviews
You and your team have busted your asses on a busy service and you wake up to a stinky review on TripAdvisor. It’s a horrible feeling. Why didn’t the customer raise the problem with you at the time?
simpleERB makes that much more likely they make you aware first, if you enable our feedback feature. Each booking confirmation sent by email contains a link for the customer to rate their experience after they have dined… privately. Often customers go straight to TripAdvisor as it is the only route they feel that they have after dining, however, simpleERB feedback will also send the customer a reminder to leave a review 2 hours after their booking time.
The “private” review on simpleERB allows you to deal with an unhappy customer directly and resolve it amicably, before they go to TripAdvisor or other social media platforms.
Plus, simpleERB lets you, with one click, send a custom request to people who have left you reviews to post them on your desired social media mentioned in the email.
I want… to deal with coupon companies, eliminate phone calls & harvest the emails
simpleERB revolutionises the way restaurants deal with discounted deals companies.
It works like this: when you arrange to do a deal with a “coupon company” you set up the offer in simpleERB’s “Offers” section. This allows you to decide exactly how many covers/seats you will allocate to that offer on any day and time of day and set the voucher allocation over the booking validity.
We give you the URL for that offer which you give to the coupon company to publish. Each purchaser of the deal is then sent to that url where they see your simpleERB booking widget along with the deal description they are booking. They can only book on the times/days that you have set up and are available as per your settings. So if on a Tuesday night you get a surprise showing of full price paying customers, then the availability for the coupon company offer disappears.
All of the booking information flows into your simpleERB with names, emails and mail list opt in preferences. So next time, you can market to them for free. No commission to pay to the coupon company!
I want... to take deposits for big parties
You can set up rules that all bookings over a certain size have to pay a deposit with Stripe integration.
Your staff are reminded of this for telephone bookings or it comes up as a requirement when customers are booking online. A due date can also be set to send out auto reminders to pay the deposit.
simpleERB gives you reporting on unpaid deposits, overdue deposits and paid deposits and at a glance see the payment status with icons in each view.
I want… to create a waitlist
In simpleERB you can create an advanced waitlist using the Manager’s Day Book or add bookings to the current ‘waitlist’ button to be used on the present day.
Use the advance waitlist to record customer details and to monitor cancellations and fill empty seats, find out here.
For the current ‘waitlist’ you can add customers bookings to the waitlist feature located in the navigation bar, record their location, e.g. “The Pub Next Door” and send them a text message (chargeable) when their table is ready.
I want… to send auto reminders to my guests
You can create auto booking reminders that will go to all your guests at a predetermined time before they arrive, by either email, SMS (chargeable) or both.
You will need to have obtained the customer’s email address or mobile telephone number for this to work. Credits are required to be purchased for the SMS feature to work.
You can set two dates so that customers who have booked far in advance are given two reminders, say at one month and the day before their booking. The reminder email also has a “confirm booking” link where if the customer clicks this it is recorded in their booking for you to see.
I want... to maximise and control my covers at Christmas / Valentines Day
With simpleERB you can override your normal booking requirements for a specific date and you can create a new “area” within your restaurant to allow you to optimise and control bookings.
The new area is simply the table plan that you will have for Christmas Day or Valentine’s Day. On the specific date, this is the only table plan available and you can then adjust the table turn times so that they are shorter, increase the max covers per timeslot or change the time slots to sittings.
You can take deposits and/or hold credit cards or indeed charge a non-refundable “ticket” for the whole meal. You can adjust your terms and conditions so that you are legally covered.
Additionally, set up and enforce booking offers for set menus so you and the kitchen can be prepared ahead of time and know which booking is dining from which menu.
I want... to get a better price for my restaurant
Are you thinking ahead to the day when you sell your restaurant?
Think about two restaurateurs, Jill and Janet.
Jill relies on a paper diary and has some telephone numbers and even fewer emails all in a series of battered diaries. Janet however has been using simpleERB for years and has built a historical database of thousands of customers with everyone’s preferences, and a history of exactly when they visited, their telephone numbers and emails. Along with the ability to pull various reports to view the restaurants customer booking patterns.
Janet gets an extra 10% on the selling price of her restaurant as the new buyer knows exactly who Janet’s customer base is.
I want... to see my “disappearing customers”
simpleERB allows you to analyse your “disappearing customers”.
You set the criteria, for example, “Show me all customers who visited more than three times in the last 12 months but haven’t visited in the last three”.
You can download this list, export it to your email service provider, for instance, Mailchimp, and send them a special private bookable offer to get these customers back.
I want… to see my loyal customers
simpleERB lets you analyse your loyal customers.
You set the criteria, for example, “Show me all customers who visited more than three times in the last 12 months”.
You can download this list, export it to your email service provider, for instance, Mailchimp, and send them a special booking private offer to let them know they are valuable.
I want... to seat walkins fast
How do you use simpleERB when you have a crowd of walkins that you need to seat fast? Easy!
simpleERB has a “mobile view” (m.simpleERB.com), that works on any mobile device. Keep the page bookmarked and any manager or a trusted member of staff can whip out their mobile, see what tables are free and add the walkins to the most suitable table.
You can even add their details on your mobile to add them to your CRM.
I want... to make sure I safeguard customers with allergies
simpleERB lets you record customers’ allergy status using the custom ‘quick info’ buttons and because simpleERB is multi device, staff and chefs can access this information too.
It will also add to your CRM so when the customer books again this will be auto selected to make staff aware ahead of the booking.
I want... to keep my staff “on message”
With temporary staff it can be hard to keep staff “on message”.
With simpleERB you can create messages for staff that appear every time they take a booking and on the Diary page of simpleERB.
These can be customised for any day, date or range of days and dates e.g. “every Wednesday” or "December" via the Manager’s Day Book and Messages for Staff. The Manager’s Day Book is where your people can record important messages.
Crucially this is recorded so no one can say “I wasn’t told” or “They didn’t tell me”.
I want... to control “who does what”
You can set up 3 digit pin numbers that at certain points, e.g. when making a booking, staff will be asked to enter. This will provide a quick and easy way of adding an additional level of auditing of which staff member enters information and which ones can action setting overrides.
You can also set up in ‘staff settings’ individual usernames with set authority levels or one generic staff username with ‘waiter’ access which managers can override with their own login.
I want... to keep the chef happy
Since simpleERB is multi-user, the chef can easily keep track of who has arrived and who is about to arrive, along with any dietary notes they may have by setting up a login that is “view only” for the kitchen. Or print out the bookings in advance of service from the Diary view.
I want... to monitor my restaurant from the beach
If you want to know exactly what’s going on in your restaurant when you’re not there, simpleERB lets you see the state of play in real time from any mobile device and internet browser anywhere in the world.
I want... to link associated restaurants
Easy! Just ask us and we will link your restaurant accounts so that you can tab between them. Not need to log out of one account and into another.
I want... to maximise my income at peak periods
simpleERB can suggest a few different methods to help with this.
You could set up rules that prevent bookings of two covers at really busy times or you could turn off bookings on certain tables .
Use advanced table turn time to override and shorten your default turn time at peak times to get more bookings through the door in conjunction with increasing your max covers per time slot at certain time periods.
Finally, set your widget advance booking time to 0 mins to allow people to book and see availability while right outside the restaurant door.
I want... to make sure I’m covered legally
simpleERB lets you customise your terms and conditions so that you’re not caught out in an argument with a customer. In recent times, you could also outline your booking conditions for social distancing rules and your policy on cancellations and no shows.
You could also highlight and refer customers to check your terms and conditions by pointing this out in a message on the widget or in the custom message on the confirmation email.
If taking penalty fees for cancellations and no shows, we highly recommend outlining this in your terms and conditions.
I want... to make sure my customer can find me
You can enter your exact latitude and longitude on simpleERB so customers can easily find you.
I want... to know in advance if there are children in the party
simpleERB lets you ask if there are children in the party and prompts your staff to ask when telephone bookings are made.
It helps to know in advance that that table of “10” is actually 4 adults, 4 children and two babies! Children will be included in the booking total to avoid overcrowding tables.
I want... to lock bookings to a table
Make sure your staff don’t accidentally swap table bookings and give away a table that a VIP customer should have had, simpleERB lets you do this.
I want… to predict future bookings for peak holidays or festive seasons
If you are looking to get ahead with business planning for marketing campaigns, staff rotas or ordering for a specific upcoming holiday or the festive period, simpleERB has a useful report for you.
In simpleERB reports, using our ‘Forward Covers Booked’ report will be able to assist you with this. Easily use this report with your selected criteria of previous years bookings to predict forward covers.
I want… to be able to see my historical booking data
Your historical booking data is a highly valuable asset to any business, to observe and monitor your customer booking patterns. Things like under booked time slots, attended bookings vs. no shows/cancellations and where your customers are booking from can all be located in simpleERB reports at a glance.
simpleERB also has the ability to access 15+ customised criteria reports that come from your historical booking data and that can also be exported to help you import into other systems that can assist with financial planning.
I want… to leave certain tables for walkins only
You might always leave a couple of tables of 2 covers available for walkins right by the bar area to avoid turning away people when your diary is fully booked. simpleERB can help by having the ability to set specific tables to not allow widget bookings to be allocated too. You could even add a staff message to ensure your team knows which tables are walkins only.