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Reservations – Using the Waiting List


If walk-ins cannot be immediately accommodated with a table, you can use the Waiting List feature to manage unseated walk-ins.

Before You Begin

Review Waiting List Views

Access Settings | Other | Display and ensure you’ve enabled Show waiting list in table view and Show add button (+) in waiting list are enabled. If you plan to use the Sheet tool to manage waiting lists, ensure Show waiting list in list view is also enabled.

Enable Customer Wait Listing

If you would like to allow customers to add themselves to wait lists when no table are available for booking, access Settings | Online bookings | Customize your online booking options and enable Allow customer to be added to the wait list. Note: if Allow to find next available is also enabled, Allow customer to be added to the wait list will override. That is, TouchBistro Dine will not offer a choice between wait listing or the next available time blocks.

You can customize a message for the reservations page to display in the event of an unavailable time. For example, if we prefer customers to wait list themselves, we can display a message directing them to add their party to the wait list.

The message will display at the top of the screen.

Customizing the Table Ready Message

The text of the table ready SMS can be customized under Settings | Other | Communication. Review this.

Select Automatic Wait List Confirmation Preference

By default when a party is added to the wait list, they will receive a confirmation as long as Automatically send a confirmation to the new waitlist reservations option is enabled. You can disable this under Settings | Other | Communication. Review this setting.

Adding a Party to the Waiting List

1.  Click the + button to the right of the Wait list panel.

2.  Ensure Wait list button is enabled. Select an estimated waiting time using the Waiting time drop-down box. The time you select here will be persistent and default that time when you create a new wait list party. The time you set here will appear on the party’s wait list confirmation page.

3.  Enter the party name and other contact details. If you wish to alert a party their table has become available, ensure you enter either a mobile phone number or an email address. The SMS or Email entered (and the selected communication preference) will also be used for the wait list confirmation alert message. Note: The Waiting List‘s communication features are best used if the party can supply a mobile phone number.

4.  Enter the number of people in the party and click OK.

5.  Your party will be added to the Waiting list panel. Here you can manage and communicate with waiting parties. The (#/#) number at the top of the Waiting list panel indicates the number of parties waiting for a table and the total number of covers. In the pictured example, you have 2 parties on your waiting list representing a total of 6 covers.

6.  If a party is on the wait list longer than the wait time given to the party, the party’s wait list entry will turn red.


If Automatically send a confirmation to the new waitlist reservations option was enabled, TouchBistro Reservations will send a wait list confirmation SMS or email to the party, depending on desired communication type you selected when you added the party to the wait list.

If SMS was the preferred method of communication, the party will get a text message similar to the one above.

If Email was the preferred method of communication, the party will get a text message similar to the one above.

If the party clicks on the URL in the SMS message or clicks one of the communication options in the confirmation email, the party will be taken to the wait list confirmation page. If you set a wait time, it will show them the estimated wait time. If they reload the page, it will indicate how much time remains on the wait list.

Note: If a party adds themselves to the wait list via your book site or the TouchBistro Dine app, TouchBistro Reservations will not automatically set an estimated waiting time. You will need to manually add one for the party.

Communicating with the Waiting Party

Click the Gear icon associated with the party you wish to communicate with. You can use the Actions items to alert them when their table is ready.

Send a Confirmation

If you disabled automatic wait list alerts, you can manually push one using this option.

Notify by SMS that the table is ready

It is likely you will primarily be using the Notify by SMS that the table is ready option. When a table becomes available, click this option.

TouchBistro Reservations will generate an alert to the party’s mobile phone that appears similar to the sample pictured above.

Once sent, the wait listed party will be flagged with the SSM confirmation icon.

If the party replies with 1 (cancel), the SSM confirmation icon will turn red.

Send a message

You can use the Send a message option to send any free form SMS message you choose.

After clicking Send a message, enter the message. You might, for example, want to use it to send a message of apology if a wait listed party cancels. You could also use it to let a party know their wait might be longer than the initially offered waiting time.

The SMS message will appear similar to the one above.

Using Request a confirmation via Bookenda

If you prefer to offer a wait listed party a reservation at a later time, you can use Request a confirmation via Bookenda to accommodate the party at a later time. Usually you might use this if a party has wait listed themselves online via TouchBistro Dine and you want to offer the party a reservation some time after the wait listed time they requested.

Imagine a party has booked online. They found no available tables but picked the Wait List option.

We can see the party on the wait list and they’re a party of 9. We know there is no way that party can be accommodated at that time. We can, however, offer them a confirmed booking later in the day. To do so:

1.  Click on the party name and open the Wait List dialog box. Adjust the time to next available time that party can be accommodated (for example, 6:15 pm). Click OK.

2.  Click on the Gear icon associated with the party and click Request a confirmation via Bookenda.

3.  The wait listed party will see an SMS message similar to the one above.

4.  The party can free form text back their answer.

5.  The party’s listing on the Waiting list will be flagged with an SMS response icon. If you hover over the icon you will see the response. If it is long, you can open the party and read the full message in the Chat box in the Booking Dialog box.

6.  Click on the party name and open the Booking dialog box. Click Wait List to remove this party’s status as wait listed. In the Tables field enter the table or tables you wish to reserve for this party. Click OK.

7.  The party now gets moved to the Guest List as a reservation.

8.  You may want to click on the party’s Gear icon and send a confirmation.

Changing a Wait Listed Party’s Wait Time

Imagine we’ve set a party’s estimated wait time for 30 minutes.

After 10 minutes we realize the wait time isn’t 20 minutes, it’s now going to be 40 MORE minutes.

So we open the wait listed party’s details and set the new wait time to 40 min.

However after we click Ok, we see the estimated wait time is not 40 minutes but 30 minutes. What happened? What happens is TouchBistro Reservations subtracts the 10 minutes the party has already “served” on the waiting list from the new wait time setting. In the example above, we originally set the wait time for 30 minutes. After 10 minutes on the wait list, we decided to set the new wait time for 40 minutes. TouchBistro reservations subtracts the 10 minutes “served” from the new wait time and indicates the party now has a 30 minute wait time.

Note: Resetting the wait time does not generate a new confirmation. If you reset the wait time, you should use the Send a message option to inform the diner of a changed wait time.

Seating a Wait Listed Party

To seat a waitlisted party do the following:

1.  Click and hold on the party name in the Waiting List panel and drag it to an open table.

2.  TouchBistro Reservations will automatically move the party to the Guest List panel.

Other Options

Other provides two options:


If selected, History will show you a chronological list of communications, changes, and status settings made to the waitlisted party. The staff member who made the change is also logged.


Print will print basic details about the waitlisted party.

Customer Support

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