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Crafting the Customer Experience With a Restaurant Reservation App

sushi dish and ippudo logo

Ippudo NY is regarded as one of the busiest and most popular restaurants in NYC. They are known around the world for their Michelin-rated ramen noodles. Ippudo is one of the most reviewed NYC restaurants on Yelp; however, being so popular comes at a price, as customers are often disgruntled when they find out that the quoted wait can often exceed 2 hours. Ippudo’s guest experience was suffering during these busy times, and the restaurant was searching for a solution that created a more enjoyable customer experience while capturing and tracking valuable guest and operational data.


The Challenge

• Received an average of 20 guest complaints each week regarding the wait experience.
• Spent an average of 4 hours per week responding to customer comments, including customers who vented publicly on Yelp and other social sites.
• Host staff was often overwhelmed by juggling tasks, including addressing guests’ questions on wait progress, keeping track of a large waitlist, and locating guests when tables became available.
• Over 12% of guests that were added to the waitlist ended up “walking away.”
• Due to a large customer base, the restaurant had trouble identifying and storing data on repeat and regular guests.


The Objective

• Create a better guest experience during wait times, while collecting relevant data about customers.
• Lower number of guests that “walk away” and improve waitlist communication.
• Increase customer satisfaction and lower negative comments posted publicly by collecting and responding to feedback in real-time.
• Take pressure off of the host staff by streamlining operations and focusing on improved guest communication.


The Solution

Mobile waitlist management

CAKE’s restaurant reservation app provided Ippudo with their waitlist platform, consisting of three parts: 1) an iPad-based waitlist management application that allows hosts to greet and notify their guests with SMS messaging and collect/store guest information; guests are then prompted to download 2) The guest management restaurant reservation app (free for iPhone & Android) which gives customers the ability to check their waitlist progress, browse top trending dishes with photos, unlock rewards, and provide private feedback; and 3) Control center and email reporting (sent daily and/or weekly) which reports all collected data directly to the restaurant.

Custom account settings

Ippudo NY was up and running on CAKE’s guest management system within 15 minutes, including custom text messages to match their brand, custom status colors on the wait list interface, high-res photos of their top dishes, and custom feedback fields in the restaurant reservation app.


The Results

25% Decrease in walk-aways

Prior to our guest management system, Ippudo was losing an average of 12% of guests added to waitlist. After implementation, their walk-away rate has decreased to under 9% creating thousands in incremental revenue each month.

94% of guests agreed guest management is a “big improvement” 

50 random repeat customers were surveyed and asked if the new waitlist system was “no improvement, a small improvement, or big improvement.” 47 out of the 50 people surveyed felt the improvement was drastic.

50% Decrease in wait times complaints and an increase in compliments

Before the guest management system, Ippudo averaged over 20 complaints per week which was decreased to 10 with an average of 7 positive compliments each week after the platform was implemented.

10,120+ Automatic guest profiles created

Profiles allowed FOH staff to immediately identify repeat, regular, and VIP guests. Over 15% of those profiles were created through Guest Management’s App, which enrolled each customer into Ippudo’s private mobile loyalty program. Those enhanced profiles collected email, birthday, and number of visits.


Additional Value Provided

The reservation app retains 20% more guests

Guests who downloaded the guest management’s app for guests (free on iPhone or Android) were 20% more likely to be seated (not walkaway or cancel) than other guests.

Facebook conversations created

75+ Facebook engagements and over 3,100 Facebook news feed impressions were generated through the system’s Facebook integration on the App for Guests.

Purchase decisions influenced by “trending dishes”

25% of customers polled purchased an item on the menu based on the “Trending Dishes”, which were highlighted with photographs in the Food tab on the Guest Management’s Guest App.

33% Less staff required to manage waitlist

One of the three hosts was able to move from behind the host stand to focus on greeting guests and escorting guests to their table.

Real-time guest feedback collection

Guest management’s app for guests allows customers to leave verified feedback. Ippudo management was able to mitigate six different “customer dissatisfaction” cases within 24 hours of receiving negative feedback, preventing possible negative Yelp posts.

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