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Contact form for restaurant booking


Junior Member
Could you give me your opinion on using a contact form for the online booking for a restaurant?
Especially offering a call to action/link to online booking on the homepage that leads to a contact form.

Personally I'm uncomfortable with the idea. As I user I would be annoyed by the promise of an online booking function that turned out to be a contact form. I would be inclined to encourage users to make telephone bookings and play down booking online via the contact form to avoid putting them off.
What do you think?
I had a similar thought while doing a contact form recently for a wedding officiate.
It seems so impersonal, but at the same time it alleviates the issue of people farming phone numbers/ emails.

I ended up going with a form, but also provided a phone number (with some html commenting worked in to maybe help with farming).

I still don't know if going with a form was the right thing. Anyone have ideas on forms? Or encouraging people to contact you in general?


I suppose it really depends on the restaurant and at what level their service is at. I would expect a top restaurant to have some form of online booking and would be a little frustrated if I had to phone someone up.

If it's just your average restaurant that servers middle class people, I think it would be more acceptable to have just a contact form - but I would not advertise in any way that you can book online. If you have to make a phone call to make a reservation then it needs to be advertised. Generally anything misleading is going to annoy people.


Junior Member
@squiddy, thanks that backs up what I was thinking. The restaurant falls into the catagory of serving middle class people (and I imagine they dont want to pay for of have the hassle of running an online booking facility).
The client has been sold the concept by a third party who is not a web designer or a restaurateur and then passed on the brief to me.
I'd be inclined to encourage customers to phone to book and if not to then use the contact form. I'll have to have a look around for a restaurant with a similar form system for ideas on the form layout.
In the past I have seen restaurants give the option of contacting them by phone or to book a table through another site such as toptable.com. As a lot of people are tending to compare their choices in this day and age they are more likely to look through a site such as toptable.com to book a table, this also gives a view that the restaurant could gain more business by having their booking through another site.


Junior Member
I wrote a simple online booking form for a local restaurant which automatically e-mails the owner when the form is submitted. The e-mail contains a link that when clicked can automatically approve the booking (which sends a confirmation back to the customer). I configured his iPhone to pick up the e-mails so he gets them almost immediately and can click on the appropriate link to approve or not. The customer gets a reply within a couple of minutes.

This seems to work well for him but as stated by others, it does depend on the restaurant as well as having the ability to pick up the alerts easily.


That seems like a rather simple, but seemingly effective solution to the problem. In an ideal world they would utilise a system which runs directly through your web server to a local system to provide notifications of bookings. It'd also be pretty awesome if they could place their order online as well as select what time they want to eat so that they could eat almost as soon as they arrive. That would save a lot of time and the restaurant would be able to process more customers and make more money :)