The Glasgow-based business’ software aims to make life easier for both restauranteur and customer and is used in more than 60 countries worldwide.
7,500 restaurants currently use the system – 2,500 of them in the UK – and just under 3m reservations are processed every month.
Originally established in 2004, the business has experienced growth on a significant scale since 2012 and its customers vary from restaurant groups such as TGI Fridays, Thai Leisure Group and Turtle Bay to venues such as the Royal Opera House and the Houses of Parliament.
Chief executive Mike Conyers previously built and ran restaurants before founding ResDiary.com, using his 25 years’ experience of the best ways to manage reservations.
The firm originally raised £100,000 seed funding from six investors in 2004, who remain with it. It has used cashflow to grow organically since then.
The ResDiary system is used by restaurant operators from your local neighbourhood Italian to fine dining establishments, and 30 per cent of users are restaurants in hotels.
Diners search for available tables at restaurants near them, either on the Resdiary.com website or on the restaurant’s own website and can make a booking in a few clicks.
“If you’re in the middle of service and the phone goes off it’s hard for someone to stop doing what they’re doing to answer it,” chief operating officer Mike Breewood told BusinessCloud.
He says the changing habits of diners also suits the system. “People are becoming less regimented now, they want the flexibility of booking online and deciding at the last minute where they’re going to eat and that’s a great strength of it.”
For diners who want to contact the restaurant by telephone, the ResPhone product diverts calls from a restaurant’s number and allows them to make a booking by pressing their key pad. Breewood says ResDiary’s work often lies in showing restaurant owners a new way of working. Thirty per cent of new customers every month previously used a paper-based system.
The consumer website uses location to find available tables and displays offers and reviews of any suggested place. One important aspect for the restaurateurs is that data gathered during the reservation process belongs to the restaurant, rather than ResDiary. Another differentiator is its charging policy.
“We charge a fixed monthly fee and this is one of the reasons we’ve been growing so fast,” said Breewood, who believes the business is probably the third largest of its type in the UK.
“Restaurants can see we’re open and honest and they know how much they’ll spend with us as we never charge commission on reservations, we’re not trying to drag people away from their websites and, in fact, they can use our tools to make bookings directly from their own websites.”
Another factor is that the restaurants using the software are not using it because they’re desperate for the custom. They’re busy places anyway and are trying to make life simpler for that reason.
The system is available in 17 languages, although the business will remain based in Scotland where it has received support from Scottish Development International and Scottish Enterprise over many years.