JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s leading reservation software company has just launched a free online booking platform for restaurants in South Africa. 

Branded “Requests by Dineplan”, restaurants can now load an interactive booking widget on to their website, Facebook page and Google business listing for guests to make quick and easy booking requests online. It also integrates into the Dineplan mobile app for consumers booking on the go.

The widget allows guests to choose the date, time and party size they would like to book for. Once a request booking is made on the widget or app, the system automatically notifies the restaurant via SMS and email to respond to the guest timeously.

Dineplan co-founder Greg Whitfield said this platform is highly beneficial for restaurants, particularly those still using outdated booking enquiry forms on their websites.

“Around 80percent of guests who do not receive a response to their book­ing request within 30 minutes book else­where. The decision was made to roll out ‘Requests by Dineplan’ free of charge to encourage restaurants to offer online reservations. Consumer trends show a significant increase in demand from consumers to be able to transact online. It’s standard practice to book flights, rental cars, accommodation and movies online, and restaurant bookings are no different.

“Unfortunately, many restaurants are still behind in offering online bookings, and ‘Requests by Dineplan’ goes a long way to provide a solution. Our longer-term goal is that we can convert many of the restaurants using the free ‘Requests by Dineplan’ platform on to one of the paid-for packages that Dineplan offers,” Whitfield said.