Guest Center Availability Update
The new version of Guest Center Availability is available gloablly, with the remaining of the US to come within the next week. We’ve made some important changes to make controlling your table availability easier, more flexible, and more efficient. Now you can:
The new Availability setup draws a distinct line between creating availability and controlling it. Though much of the setup path will remain the same, we’ve made some key improvements and additions.
Floor Plan: Create floor plans, define table capacities, and categorize tables by type.
Previously, you would set your table availability by clicking the slider bar on “Available For Reservations” to define its availability for reservation. This toggle has been moved to the Schedule section, and is assigned based on shift (covered below.)
This solved a main issue of needing multiple copies of the same floorplan with different availability.
I have a patio that I open up for reservations for lunch, but for dinner it is first come first served. Previously I would have to create two copies, one with no reservable tables assigned to dinner, and one with reservable tables assigned to lunch.
With the new setup, I would define that availability in the shift itself. This eliminates the need to have multiple copies of the same floorplan.
Table Combinations: Set combinations based on table categories and create larger party availability.
Following with the removal of table availability on the floorplan, you also no longer define availability in the combinations settings. Availability has been moved to the shift settings.
Reservation Settings: Set global reservation definitions
You will now be able to define what constitutes a “large party” for your restaurant.
This adds the ability to do two things:
Previously in a scenario where you would want to limit large parties at certain times, you would had to have created duplicate floorplans, one which limited availability by flagging large party tables and combinations as Non Reservable, and then assigning that floor plan to the shift where you wanted to limit it.
Now, that availability will be defined in the shift, based on the party size selected in Reservation Settings.
Schedule: Set reservation taking hours, define shift periods, turn times, pacing and define table availability.
In the new Capacity Setting screen you can still set your shift turn times and cover pacing limits, but now you can also define how different table types should be offered on a shift by shift basis.
This update will allow quite a few more options with regards to defining table availability, and ultimately give more control on table inventory. Now you will be able to:
Click the link that says "Split into peak/off peak times" to break shift into sub shifts:
Select how many sub shifts you want to create:
Time periods within a shift: Define Early, Mid and Late times
One Time Period
Two Time Periods
Early, Mid and Late Periods
Set Table Category Availability and Large Party Availability per time period:
This gives us the ability to define table availability based on category.
Click on the specific category’s time period to switch that category from Reservable to Not Reservable.
All Categories Reservable:
Counter Tables, High Tops and Large Party tables and
combinations Non Reservable for the middle of the lunch shift:
Set Exceptions to Availability Rules:
Adding exceptions to the Category Availability rules set above will allow you to further customize which tables are bookable or not.
Clicking the button “Add Exception”- which is underneath the “Exceptions” heading.
Select the specific tables you want to modify (select as many as you want) and then click the blue “Add” button to create a new exception rule.
Once the Exception is created, tap the Reservable button to change the tables availability based on shift period.
You can modify or delete the Exception by clicking the ellipsis next to the exception, then choose “Edit” or Delete”.
1. Large party booking and seeing confusing availability.
If you set your large party size to say 8+, and then mark your large tables and combos as unreservable, every table that can seat 8 people will be considered a large party. So if you have tables that seat 6-8 people, and your large tables of 8+ are unreservable, GuestCenter will see them as large party tables and consider them unreservable.
In an extreme case, if you were to make all of your tables 1-8 tops, and made your large parties of 8+ unreservable, you would surface no bookable inventory.
This is not a bug, but more of how GuestCenter categorizes large parties. The large party setting is actually assigned to tables, not actual party sizes. (think of large parties as just another table category, like outdoor or bar) - which is why we see this reservability for tables that aren’t exactly what is defined in the large party settings.
2. Updating floorplans by shift
We have discovered that when you change floorplans on a shift, it will reset the reservability on that shift to the default, which makes all tables and categories available. This will also delete any exceptions created.
This is important, because the mere action of deselecting and then reselecting a floorplan in the shift setup will reset the availability.
This also surfaces in special days - deselecting the assigned floorplan and reselecting the exact same floorplan will reset any reservability flags that were set up previously.
Just to note, the only thing that gets reset is the table availability. Subshift part settings, pacing, turn times are not changed.
We strongly recommend getting rid of duplicate floorplans with different availability and customize all your availability using the new settings to avoid any potential errors.