Add a Waitlist for a specific Shift

Give your guests the chance to place themselves on the Waitlist. They can be notified automatically about empty tables in your restaurant.

Operations avatar
Written by Operations
Updated over a week ago

Nothing is more frustrating than empty tables in your restaurant. Even if you book a full house in advance, there's still the possibility of a last-minute cancellation. With a waitlist, you have a number of backup guests that can fill the gaps if necessary.

Do you only want a Waitlist for dinner and the Chef's Table, but not for the lunch? Formitable makes it easy to decide for each Shift if you want to accept waitlist inquiries or not.

You can also decide if waiting guests will be notified automatically about available spots or if you want to remain fully in control and assign the empty table yourself.

What do guests see?

With the Waitlist enabled, guests can select in the widget to be placed on the Waitlist if there is no more space available in the restaurant. Guests can either pick a specific time or choose a more flexible timeframe for arrival time. They are then subscribed by mail to notifications.

  • Manually. If a spot in your restaurant becomes available and you manually assign it to a waitlist party of your choice, the entry turns into a regular reservation. If an email address is filled in, the guest will receive a confirmation of their booking.

  • Notifications. If you have automatic notifications for your waitlist enabled, guests will receive an email if a spot opens up. With the click of the button, they are guided to your reservation widget where they can place a booking for the chosen time.
    In case someone was quicker than them and there are again no more spaces available, guests will be notified again if something opens up. They can always unsubscribe from notifications.

💡 A chance for guest loyalty. At the end of the day, in case a guest on the waitlist could not get a spot, we'll inform them by mail that their place on the waitlist has unfortunately expired. On top, we do encourage them to make another booking for a different day.

How to enable the Waitlist for your Shifts?

For each Shift, you can decide if you want to offer a Waitlist or not. On top of that, you can choose whether you want to send guests automatic notifications when a spot opens up or if you prefer to place waiting reservations manually.

  • In Formitable, go to Settings > Shifts.

  • Select the Shift for which you want to offer a Waitlist.

  • In the Waitlist tab, enable the Waitlist.

  • Choose if you want automated notifications to be sent to guests that are subscribed to your Waitlist when a spot opens up, or not.

View in the blink of an eye for which Shifts you have enabled a Waitlist

In the overview of your Shifts, you can see in the blink of an eye whether you have enabled the Waitlist for a Shift or not. And also, if enabled, whether guests will be notified automatically or if you place Waitlist reservations manually.

Per Shift you'll see underneath the hourglass icon whether the Waitlist is activated or not. Do you also see a bell icon? This means automated notifications are switched on.

Manage your Waitlist during service

At the bottom of your overview, you see the hourglass icon ⏳ and the number of parties waiting on the Waitlist.

The Waitlist button will start flashing green if a spot opens up for people from the Waitlist. You will also be notified by the notification bell at the top.

In the Overview, click on the 'waiting' button at the bottom to open the Waitlist side panel

  • Add guests to the Waitlist. Click on the blue + button to add a new entry to the waitlist. Choose in which time frame your guests are able to arrive. Add an email address to allow notifications to be sent.

  • Prioritize by dragging. Drag the waitlist items into position with your finger or with a clicked mouse button on the six grey dots.

  • Delete guests from the Waitlist. Click on the waitlist entry you want to delete and select the 🗑️ (trash bin icon) at the bottom.

  • Filter your Waitlist. Click on the filter icon at the top right and filter your waitlist based on party size and/or time frame. This way, you can instantly view which guest(s) can fill a certain gap in your planning.

  • Sort your Waitlist. Click on the two arrows at the top right corner to sort your Waitlist based on who has recently joined or who signed up first on the Waitlist. This way, you don't have to scroll through all Waitlist items, and you can reach out to guests who have been on the Waitlist for a long time if needed.

  • Place guests to turn their waitlist spot into an actual reservation. If there is space in your restaurant for one or more parties, the corresponding place button will turn blue. You will see the same reservation details as to when adding a new reservation, just with all available information already filled in.

  • 🔕 Notifications? You can always change if particular guests should be notified about available spaces or not. Guests who will not receive notifications are marked with a muted bell icon.

  • Search guests on the Waitlist. Looking to find if a guest has subscribed to your Waitlist? Simply use the search bar in the Overview, and view if a guest is on the Waitlist for today or any day in the future.

What's next?

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