Restaurants are increasingly trading in pagers and using cellphones for reservations. Consumers no longer have to worry about juggling their martinis and buzzers while they crowd around the bar during dinner service. When their cellphones vibrate with a text from the restaurant, they can head to the hostess stand to be seated. This trend is great for them but also beneficial to restaurants.
A big win for restaurant owners with this trend is that they no longer have to foot the bill for pagers. Various websites start sets of 10 or 20 restaurant pagers at anywhere from $500 to $800. That's only for the initial price. They often get dropped on the floor, in toilets or in drinks, which leaves the additional cost of repair or reordering them if they're beyond the point of getting fixed. What's more, restaurant owners are responsible for keeping pagers clean, changing their batteries and replacing them every so often.
Minimize wait times
Furthermore, the pagers typically restrict use to be within the walls of the establishment, whereas a cellphone allows guests to wander anywhere while they wait. People have a million places to be and a lot to do, so helping them cut corners with text alerts can keep them coming back to your establishment.
Engage the guests
Further, pagers are typically bulky and impersonal, but text messages can convey a restaurant's etiquette and a host's manners. It's much more engaging and people will remember speaking with another person over handling robotic machinery. A text message gives clients a chance to save the restaurant's phone number, and it's a chance for the establishment to get on the right foot with the guests from the moment they walk in the door.
Behold, the text reservation
In addition to restaurants increasingly texting patrons to let them know their tables are ready, mobilization is reaching another level in the industry. Consumers can make reservations via their mobile devices, which can save them time and keep the restaurant from getting overcrowded. According to FSR magazine, more than 16,000 restaurants in the country were using online reservations in 2012.
Everyone has a cellphone
Since then, the country has only grown to embrace mobilization and the Internet. Forbes magazine and other major news sources were quick to report when Apple sold its 500 millionth iPhone – a sure sign of this movement. In May, the company celebrated its 50 billionth download from the Apple store. Although they're a big player in the cellphone game, they don't account for everyone, which means even more people use their cellphones than those numbers indicate.
Future of the SMS reservation
This means that it's likely companies will continue to offer text message reservations. As more places adopt mobile reservations and services, pagers will continue to disappear from the scene. Establishments that wish to experience the benefits of cutting costs, engaging consumers and minimizing wait times should consider texting their guests.
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