7 Actionable Steps for Effective Queue Management

Have you been wondering how to manage queues in your restaurant? This article lists 7 actionable steps for effective queue management.

7 Actionable Steps for Effective Queue Management
Photo by Roman Arkhipov / Unsplash

Effective queue management is an important part of your restaurant’s guest management system. Without an effective queue management system, you may have problems managing your guests and retaining customers.

We’ve compiled a list of 7 actionable steps to take for effective queue management so you can successfully keep your staff and customers happy:

1.   Identify What’s Not Working

If you’ve been having some issues managing queues in your establishment it may be time to take a look at what’s not working. We can all fall into the habit of sticking to what’s working “just fine”. By identifying what areas can be improved and changing what you can accordingly, you can ensure a smoother running system.

Some common issues restaurant businesses face are the use of slower, more outdated systems such as restaurant waitlist sheets or take-a-number systems. A restaurant waitlist sheet can end up slowing down the pace of the queue and unclear entries from messy handwriting can confuse the process.

The take-a-number system can lead to slower queuing and it can feel impersonal to the customer. In this day and age, personalization matters to your customers.

2.   Evaluate the Best Queue Management System

Once you’ve figured out what’s not working for your business, it’s time to find the best queue management system that fits your restaurant’s operations. Many options could work for your business from apps to QR codes.

During these times, businesses are adopting waitlist apps as part of their queue management operations. Waitlist apps offer a great digital queue management system, where the queue data and client information are stored in a cloud. Set up is simple, and all that is required is a smartphone and the app.

The process is also straightforward. The customer downloads the app, inputs their details, and usually, they provide either their phone number or email address. While they are waiting, they can check their status in the queue on the app. Once it’s time to be seated, they are alerted through a notification or text message.

Although the process is straightforward, it does have a longer onboarding time and it also means downloading another app to your phone that you may not use regularly.

Another great system that can help with your queue management is a QR code ticketing system. Once the customer joins the restaurant waitlist, they receive a paper ticket containing a unique QR code. They can scan their code with their smartphone and it will let them know the status of their place in the queue.

The main benefit of this system is the fact that no number or contact details need to be provided, unlike the waitlist app. Now more than ever, customers worry about privacy issues and how their data is used, so this is a great way to combat that issue.

If you like the sound of this and think this QR code system is the best fit for your business, OrderBee offers affordable pricing plans and support to fit your style of operations.

3.   Set-Up the Queue Management System

Once you’ve chosen the best queue management system for your restaurant business, it’s time to set it up.

Depending on the waitlist app you have chosen, the setup can vary. Some apps require an iOS device to operate and they usually work best on an iPad. Many waitlist apps sync directly with your restaurant’s POS system for ease of setup.

With the QR code ticket system, the setup couldn't be any simpler. All that is required for set up is a ticket book and a smartphone.

4.   Train Your Employees Correctly

Once the queue management system is set up, the next important step is ensuring that your employees are trained correctly to manage the system. With the correct training, you will minimize mistakes and complications.

5.   Manage Customer’s Expectations

A tip to greatly improve your customer’s experience is to give your customers the advantage of knowing what they’re walking into when they arrive at your restaurant.

When queue and wait time data is collected you can give accurate estimations of wait time. This helps remove human error and it means you don’t have to rely on a staff member giving their best guess on how long a customer will wait. Which also prevents customers from walking away when they hear long wait times.

With both the waitlist app and the QR code system, the customer has the freedom to spend their waiting time however they choose. Which then creates a better experience for the customer. Customers no longer have to stand in front of the restaurant waiting to hear their name or number being called.

6.   Use Queue Data to Pinpoint Staff Needs

Additionally, with the data that’s collected, you can use it to pinpoint your staff needs. As mentioned previously, if your staff are trained correctly you should be able to minimize complications.

With the data collected, you can see where your staff can improve, and what changes can be made to help meet their needs. You will be able to see the wait times for different times and days of the week and make changes accordingly.

7.   Refine Your Service Recovery

Even after ensuring that your customers have a great experience in your establishment, there will inevitably be times where customers feel as if they have had a poor experience. If this is to happen, your staff must be trained in service recovery.

If a staff member fails to deal with a situation in a calm way, this can lead to an unhappy, angry customer. But if the staff member is trained to accept the issue while simultaneously helping to resolve the problem, this can turn an angry customer into a satisfied customer.

Managing your guests and retaining customers doesn’t have to be difficult, with the correct queue management system and the help from these actionable steps your guest management operations can run like a well-oiled machine.