Restaurant reservation systems are one of the most essential investments a restaurant owner can make. Today’s top reservation systems do much more than booking and table management. The right platform makes operations more efficient—saving you time and money—while providing a seamless booking experience for guests.
The best restaurant reservation systems are robust, versatile, flexible, and affordable, with capabilities like online waitlists and third-party integrations. Advanced features like virtual storefronts, experience and event management tools, and robust CRM capabilities can boost revenue and take your business to the next level.
In this guide:
- Why Restaurants Need a Reservation System
- How to Choose a Restaurant Reservation System
- The Top Restaurant Reservation Systems, Compared
- Toast Tables
- The Best Reservation System for Restaurants
Why Restaurants Need a Reservation System
Restaurant reservations have come a long way since the days of phone calls and reservation books. The latest reservation and table management trends empower owners and managers with POS integrations, reduce no-shows, turn tables faster, and leverage customer data for better hospitality and marketing opportunities.
An online reservation system doesn’t just help you and your team work more efficiently. Upgrading your restaurant table management system can deliver smooth booking and payment for diners, creating guest loyalty and enhancing your business’s online reputation. The right technology can also make selling offerings like events and preorders easier, boosting sales and future bookings.
How to Choose a Restaurant Reservation System
As you consider online reservation platforms, think about the features your business needs to succeed. If you often host chef tastings or other unique offering experiences, you’ll want restaurant reservation software with experience and event management capabilities. Service outages mean lost revenue, so seek a platform offering hands-on customer support. Watch out for per-cover fees, which cut into your bottom line, and pay-to-play promotions that can make it hard to grow your customer base.
The Top Restaurant Reservation Systems, Compared
With so many restaurant table management apps available, it can be hard to know which is right for your business. This guide breaks down the pros and cons for various platforms. Learn more about the best restaurant reservation systems for 2024 below.
Tock is the only restaurant reservation system created by restaurants for restaurants. Backed by more than 500 years of cumulative hospitality experience, this flexible, all-in-one table-booking platform was designed to meet your needs. Tock gives restaurants the ability to sell everything in one place, including reservations, events, experiences, and takeout, while increasing efficiency and streamlining operations.
Tock pioneered the concept of experiences for restaurants and has been helping restaurants market these revenue-boosting offerings since it launched in 2014. Plus, its prepayment and deposit features help reduce no-shows while providing cash flow upfront. This is in addition to credit card holds which reduce no-shows as well. Unlike its competitors, Tock charges zero per-cover fees, which translates to savings you can invest elsewhere in your business.
- Manage reservations, tables, experiences, events, and takeout orders in one place
- Robust experience and event management capabilities
- Seamless guest discovery and booking of reservations, events, and experiences via mobile app or desktop
- Extensive online and in-person waitlist functionality
- Prepayment, deposits and credit card holds to reduce no-shows
- Powerful CRM tools and personalization of guest communications
- Full ownership of secure customer data
- Zero per-cover fees
- No pay-to-play promotions
- No competitive advertising served to your guests
- Multi-year discounts available
- Some restaurants may not take advantage of all features
- POS systems like Toast and Upserve with Premium tiers
- Delivery apps like Doordash and Uber
- Bookings through Facebook, Instagram, and Reserve with Google
- Winery software like Commerce7 and WineDirect
- 500+ years of combined hospitality experience
- Easy onboarding
- Customer support via chat, email, and phone, including nights and weekends
- Resource Center articles help customers get the most out of Tock
- Base: $99 per month, 3% fee on prepaid reservations for waitlist features
- Essentials: $299 per month, 2% fee on prepaid reservations
- Premium: $399, 2% fee on prepaid reservations
- Premium Unlimited: $899 per month, 0% on prepaid reservation fees
- Events: 3% per transaction plus $0.99 per ticket
- Tock To-Go: 3% per transaction
- Enterprise: Available on request
Founded in 1998, OpenTable is the oldest online reservation management system available, with strong brand recognition among diners. However, standing out on this platform can be challenging as OpenTable charges additional fees to “boost” your business’s visibility to its network of diners.
- Reservation and table management tools
- Platform supports events and takeout
- Online waitlist functionality
- Robust CRM capabilities
- Per-cover fees cut into revenue
- Pay-to-play promotions can put your business at a disadvantage
- Basic plan offers limited features
- Shared ownership of guest data
- POS integrations included with higher price tiers
- Delivery platforms including Uber and Postmates
- Customer loyalty and email marketing software
- Phone, email and chat support
- Basic: $149 per month plus $1.50 per-cover after 30-day trial, with a $0.25 per-cover or $39 per month flat fee to take reservations on your own website, 2% service on takeout and experiences
- Core: $299 per month plus a $1 per-cover fee, 2% service fee on takeout and experiences
- Pro: $499 per month plus a $1 per-cover fee, 2% service fee on takeout and experiences
Resy is known for its editorial content and trending restaurants. The company is owned by American Express and extends exclusive benefits on Resy to cardholders. Resy’s pricing structure is based on a flat monthly fee, but critical features like guest surveys aren’t available with its entry-level plan. Like OpenTable, Resy doesn’t give restaurants full ownership of guest data, which can limit customization and marketing opportunities.
- Offers reservation and table management
- Optimizes floor plans to turn tables more quickly
- Mobile waitlist functionality
- Resy Pay app allows guests to pay and split checks by phone
- Surveys, and custom guest messaging not available with basic plan
- Custom reports only available with Enterprise plan
- Shared ownership of customer data
- POS systems like Omnivore API, Upserve, and Toast
- Integrates with Facebook, Instagram, and Google
- 24/7 support via chat and email
- Basic: $249 per month
- Pro: $399 per month
- Enterprise: $899 per month
SevenRooms’ restaurant reservation technology includes features like customizable communications and full ownership of guest data. With no diner marketplace, the platform pushes bookings through social media integrations. The company doesn’t publish pricing, so you can’t compare it to other restaurant reservation apps without sitting through a demo.
- Reservation and table management
- Mobile management capabilities
- No per-cover fees
- Easy to offer add-ons to reservations
- Pricing only available after requesting a quote
- Reservations API costs an additional monthly charge
- No diner network to promote restaurants
- More than 100 integrations
- Online help center articles
- Technical support available 24/7 via phone and email
- Non-technical support only available between 9 A.M. and 7 P.M. Eastern time
- Custom, based on three tiers with optional add-ons
Toast, the restaurant POS system provider, offers add-on reservation management software. Toast Tables features automatic table status updates since it’s integrated with Toast POS and can help drive rewards program sign-ups managed with Toast Loyalty. If you’re not already a POS customer, you’ll have to switch to use Toast Tables software. That can mean high upfront fees for hardware and software, plus monthly fees for the POS system and table management software.
- Automatic integrations with Toast POS and Toast Loyalty
- No per-cover fees
- Only available for existing Toast POS customers
- Only 25 reservations per month included with basic plan
- No charge to integrate with Toast Point of Sale and Toast Kitchen Display
- 24/7 support via web messaging
- Toast Tables: $50 per month for unlimited waitlists and 25 reservations per month, plus the cost of Toast POS
- Toast Tables Plus: $199 per month for unlimited waitlists and reservations
Yelp Guest Manager
Yelp, the consumer-facing online review platform, offers reservations through Yelp Guest Manager (formerly Yelp Reservations). While a high-traffic site like Yelp could drive bookings, attracting diners on such a competitive restaurant reservation platform can be difficult. With limited features, Yelp Guest Manager doesn’t offer the best value compared to other platforms. Prominent Yelp reviews on the reservation interface may negatively affect guests’ booking decisions.
- Reservation and table management
- Basic reporting and shift management features
- No per-cover fees
- Brand recognition among diners
- Limited integrations and features
- Highly competitive platform makes it difficult to stand out
- Basic plan doesn’t include POS integrations or custom floor plans, limits monthly booked covers
- Yelp reviews appear on the platform, which can negatively impact online reputation
- Yelp branding appears on reservation widget on your website
- Toast, Reserve with Google, and Yelp
- Available via phone with limited evening hours
- Basic: $99 per month
- Plus: $299 per month
- Enterprise: Custom pricing (for restaurant groups)
If your restaurant, bar, or winery hosts special events, you’ve probably considered using Eventbrite to sell tickets and communicate with attendees. This platform wasn’t built specifically for the hospitality industry, so restaurants may find managing reservations and events on two separate platforms cumbersome. The lack of reporting, personalization, and customer support makes it less attractive than event management tools created with restaurants in mind.
- Flat-rate pricing options
- Robust CRM tools
- Email marketing tools and promotion to Eventbrite ticket buyers
- Not created for restaurants
- No integrations with reservation management platforms, winery management software, or POS systems
- Limited customer support
- Fees must be passed on to diners or paid by the restaurant
- Shared ownership of guest data
- Marketing, productivity, and reporting apps
- No onboarding support
- Up to 25 tickets: Free
- Up to 100 tickets: $9.99 per event
- Up to 250 tickets: $24.99 per event
- Unlimited tickets: $49.99 per event
- Pro 100: $29 per month for unlimited events with up to 100 tickets each and 2,000 daily marketing emails
- Pro 250: $79 per month for unlimited events with up to 250 tickets each and 6,000 daily marketing emails
- Pro Unlimited: $159 per month for unlimited events with unlimited tickets and 10,000 daily marketing emails
The Best Reservation System for Restaurants
Among today’s top restaurant reservation systems, Tock outshines the competition with powerful, flexible features and no per-cover fees. Tock was created by and for restaurant professionals with more than 500 years of cumulative restaurant experience backing the product, and they’ve been leaders in the events and experiences space for nearly a decade.
Get started with Tock today.