When restaurant patrons are hungry, the last thing they want is to wait around. Restaurants that don’t have a queueing strategy can potentially jeopardize customer loyalty and even hurt their business. It’s all part of customer experience management, and any missteps can be damaging to the bottom line. Even with the best marketing, it’s difficult to counter poor queue management.


Understandably, restaurants are uniquely different from other businesses. Your patrons are not there to make a purchase and leave – they want a customer experience that encompasses sitting, chatting, socializing, and eating. Not to forget, that experience also includes restaurant queues. And while long queues might be considered “positive”, there are also potential downsides.


Understanding the essence of effective queue management


Business profit in the restaurant sector is certainly a measure of success – but it’s short sighted to overlook the importance of customer satisfaction. Simply put, restaurants that successfully build a loyal customer base are poised for profit – and that has to include effective queue management.


Restaurant patrons find it super frustrating to wait. Worse still, it’s annoying to be told “you are next” only to wait for another half hour. Managing patron waiting time is absolutely critical in keeping patrons satisfied. As such, effective queue management is key to operational success.


Employing queue management strategies that work effectively 


While it’s unlikely that patron lineups can be eliminated completely in a thriving business, a viable queue management system will certainly reduce waiting time and improve operational efficiency. Many strategies are easy to employ, allowing for patron retention and satisfaction.


Properly training employees

Restaurant employees are the first point of contact for patrons. It’s therefore important that your employees are trained to manage customers and communicate with customers. A well-trained staff employee can effectively manage problem situations and likely diffuse negative experiences.


Managing the expectations

An important part of queue management is managing the expectations of your patrons. There’s no benefit in promising a short waiting time with a chance of disappointment. It’s better to be upfront and candid – that way patron expectations are addressed with little chance of frustration.


A welcoming waiting area

Whatever your “reception area” looks like, there must be a strategy in place that alleviates the downside of waiting around. Wherever possible, patrons who are waiting must be comfortable, and that’s dependent on the physical setting. Uncomfortable patrons are quite easily frustrated.


Recovering from bad service 

In the event that one of your patrons has had a poor service experience, there is no other option but to engage in “service recovery”. The idea, of course, is to transform frustration into loyalty. Your people must acknowledge an issue and offer a resolution that will turn the situation around.


Installing a digital system

For many restaurants, a digital queue management system is the answer to peak performance. Patrons can join a virtual queue – they follow their progress on a mobile phone – and they spend their “waiting time” to suit their need. Once ready, the restaurant will send a confirmation text.


Restaurant marketing solutions should encompass effective queue management


Restaurant owners who want to keep ahead of the competition would be wise to use restaurant management software that incorporates “smart” queue management. MILAGRO has the answer – with SmartWAIT™ – the all-in-one wait list and reservation management system.


Created by MILAGRO, SmartWAIT™ allows restaurant owners to work entirely on an iPad. Guests can join a wait list remotely, and can make reservations any time, from anywhere. Your staff can manage the wait list, run business analytics, and create guest profiles concurrently.

SmartWAIT™ is the new way to do business – an efficient queue management system, with highly responsive guest notifications, and without the need for an APP. For analytics, built in restaurant customer survey software allows for wait time analysis, table turnovers, and more.

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