Online Reservations Survey: Few Make Restaurant Reservations Often

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Posted Dec 19, 2016

The majority of restaurant diners think that technology helps their guest experience, according to a study from Toast. And one of the ways that restaurants can potentially integrate technology into the guest experience is to offer online reservations. Instead of calling ahead or waiting hours for a table, diners can simply log on and reserve their table from a computer or mobile device. But how many consumers have already made online reservations with their favorite restaurants? And how many think it’s a benefit for restaurants to offer such a service? We asked 1,000 respondents about their dining habits and their thoughts on online reservations.

online reservations

Dining Habits

In Ask Your Target Market’s latest survey, 10% of respondents said that they’ve dined at full-service restaurants within the past day. 20% have done so in the past week. 25% have within the past month. 17% have within the past three months. 11% said they’ve dined at a full-service restaurant in the past year. 10% said that it’s been more than a year. And 7% are not restaurant consumers at all. Of those who dine at full-service restaurants at least on occasion, just 4% said they always make reservations ahead of time. 7% said they make reservations most of the time. 13% do about half the time. 40% said they rarely make reservations when dining at full-service restaurants. And 35% never do. Looking forward, 28% of respondents said they’re at least somewhat likely to make reservations at full-service restaurants within the next year.

Online Reservations

Of those who have made restaurant reservations, 72% said they usually make their reservations over the phone. 25% regularly make online reservations. 19% do so in person. And 9% use mobile apps. More specifically, 13% of diners said they’ve made online reservations at restaurants many times. And 32% said they’ve done so once or twice. Some of the most popular restaurants where diners have made reservations online include Olive Garden and Outback. And many also said that they’ve used OpenTable as a platform to make their restaurant reservations online. Overall, 65% of those who have made online reservations said they were at least somewhat satisfied with the experience.

Guest Experience

In general, 47% of restaurant consumers said that making reservations online is easier than making restaurant reservations in other ways. 44% said they are more likely to make restaurant reservations if they have the option to do so online. And 34% said they’re more likely to choose restaurants that offer the ability to make online reservations.

Key Takeaways

Not many restaurant consumers make reservations online very often. But there are a fair amount of consumers who appreciate the option enough that they’re more likely to pick restaurants that offer online reservations. Even if diners only make reservations on occasion, if restaurants can offer a quick and easy way for them to do so online, it can potentially have a positive impact on their overall experience and help restaurants save time and resources by not having to field as many phone calls or in-person reservation requests. However, making it quick and easy is essential. And since fewer than half of people think that making reservations online is easier than calling or stopping by, it might also be beneficial for restaurants to call attention to the ease of the process on their websites or social platforms so that consumers think of that the next time they go to make a reservation. You can view the complete survey results in the widget below and be sure to click “Open Full Report” to take advantage of all the chart and filter options.Photo Credit: Late Afternoon by Patrick Emerson under CC BY-ND 2.0What do you want to know? If you need some consumer insights on a particular topic, let us know in the comments below and we’ll consider it for an upcoming survey post.

Results were collected on December 13-19 via AYTM’s online survey panel.

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