Different options can keep customers in the Christmas spirit by giving them more autonomy and alerting them to free tables quickly, Eloise Shephard, managing director of the technology firm recommended.
Operators can avoid the image of bored customers queued up, a visual that is off-putting to new people walking in.
Queues can be made ‘invisible’ by handing out customer paging solutions to people waiting so that they have the freedom to wait wherever they like.
These can come as noisy buzzers or objects that light up and are a simple way to reduce congestion, Sheppard said.
The festive period can bring the daunting combination of staff shortages and an increase in trade.
“There may not always be someone available front of house to seat customers as soon as they arrive,” warned Sheppard.
She recommended placing call buttons at the pub entrance to ensure staff are alerted by new guests to be seated.
Handheld devices can be used by waiters to update a house management system with current seating availability or alert fellow staff that a table needs to be cleared.
This helps to seat queuing customers quickly despite customers occupying tables for longer as they catch up with friends and family.
“Table management solutions assist venues that want to turn tables faster and serve more customers,” said Sheppard.
Connecting front-of-house staff with the kitchen by a radio system results in quicker customer service. Managers, kitchen staff and servers can use the simple technology to communicate instantly.
According to Sheppard, this means “table turns are increased, incidents are dealt with immediately, enhancing the customer experience and ensuring staff are on hand to deal with the queues or any issues should they arise”.
If all else fails, the tech firm recommended operators have something in place to keep a line of customers entertained.
This could be a technological solution such as a screen situated nearby the bar or venue entrance, or involve staff in Christmas costumes or a music act on busy days, they said.