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A Closer Look at How SMS Saves Restaurants Time and Money

In South Africa we offer a unique feature that most restaurant reservation systems do not: an SMS reply feature.

SMS’s by themselves are a fantastic way to communicate reservation confirmations and reminders, but with the reply feature we take this one step further.

Many restaurants call on the day (or the day prior) to confirm guest reservations. This is a costly exercise to do everyday given that they are generally calling mobile numbers. Call costs from a landline start at R1.40 per minute, and then someone needs to spend the time to make the calls. Have you calculated how much it costs your restaurant to confirm all your bookings every month?

Lets work through an example of a 100 seater restaurant that does 700 bookings per month. That is 700 confirmation calls you are making, and maybe 15% of which go to voice mail and need to be called again. That equates to R980 in telephone bills every month (700 * R1.40) and R1127 when you take into account the extra 15% of calls that go to voice mail.

Dineplan offers an SMS reply feature that we call “reminders” that can send an SMS to each of your bookings either on the day or the day prior, in order to confirm the reservation. The guest receives an SMS with the details of their booking asking them to reply “Confirm” or “Cancel”. By doing so Dineplan is able to identify the booking being confirmed or cancelled and automatically updates the status of the booking in the system. Granted not all guests reply to the SMS’s sent to them, but it is far easier following up on these few than to call everyone. To be more accurate we have a 87.37% reply rate to “reminder” SMS’s (based on 127,693 reminder SMS’s sent).

Our SMS’s cost an average of 35c per credit and in comparison to the example we used above, that equates to a cost of R245. Comparing this to the monthly cost of R980, that is a R735 saving per month, a massive 75%.


It is clear to see the benefits the SMS reply system Dineplan offers when comparing the monetary value, but there is more than just a cost saving. Restaurants can free up the time of their staff, and guests appreciate the less intrusive approach to an SMS instead of a phone call. It is obvious that an SMS system for reminders is the way forward, and by moving in this direction the cost saving a restaurant benefits from can pay for the Dineplan system in itself.

There are many other features that Dineplan offers over and above its SMS reminders that justify its use further. Have a look at our website Dineplan.com to learn more about how we help restaurants.

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