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Reservations User Manual
Reservations User Manual

What you need to know about reservations

Kevin avatar
Written by Kevin
Updated over a week ago

In this article:


Reservations are an Abacus add-on. Please contact your sales representative if you wish to start using Abacus reservations!

In order to use Abacus Reservations, you need to set up Reservation Sessions - or periods of time during which your customers can make a reservation online. You can also "black out" reservation sessions for certain dates that you do not want to take reservations at all, e.g. on public holidays (Blackout Dates).

Customers who request a reservation online will get an email to acknowledge that their request has been received, and then they will receive another email when you accept the reservation.

If you have Abacus SMS credit, you can also send a text message to them via the POS to update them about their reservation.

For a quick summary of the setup process, check our our Reservations Quick Setup Guide.

If you have a specific question, check out the Reservations FAQ.

Set up Reservation Sessions

First of all, you need to set up reservation windows, or sessions, for which customers can make their reservation. These are the broad periods of time that are available for reservation; they do not dictate the length of the reservation.

1. Go to Reservations > Reservation Configuration.

2. Click Add Session.

3. Enter the:

  • Name: Your session names will only show on the POS, not in the customer-facing online reservation system.

  • Start time & end time: any times not included here will be greyed out and unselectable

  • Maximum guests for each reservation session

4. If you wish to create more than one session, repeat steps 2 and 3.

5. When you have completed adding your sessions, click Save (or Sync Data).

6. Scroll down and you can also set:

  • Reservation Types: each time you create a reservation, you will be able to select the "type" of reservation based on the options you create here, e.g. "General", "Birthday", "Corporate event", "Wedding".

  • Default Reservation Duration: the time that each reservation will normally go for. e.g. If your default reservation goes for 2 hours, and your customer places a reservation at 5pm, it will go until 7pm. This duration only affects how long it will be reserved online so other customers cannot book it.

  • Estimated Waiting Time: We highly recommend that your Default Reservation Duration to equal your Estimated Waiting Time. The Estimated Waiting Time is the amount of time that the Reservations page timer starts counting down from so you can predict when the next table is available.

  • Venue Name: by default, your Company Name will show on the online reservations website, but you can show an alternative name.

  • Customised Name for Guests: Instead of referring to "Guests" on the customer-facing online reservation portal, you can display "Patrons", "Customers", etc.

  • Terms & Conditions (coming soon)!

    If you have made any other changes click Save again.

7. On the Abacus app, go to Settings > Sync. Sync Appointment and Reservation Settings.

You will now be able see to your reservation sessions on the Reservations screen in the Abacus application. Each "session" is a tab.

Finally, make sure that you turn on setting A2. ENABLE RESTAURANT MODE in the Abacus app Settings.

Online Reservations

The webpage colours and images are set on the backend in Online Ordering > Theme Customisation.

Reading the Reservations Screen

When in List View, the numbers at the top of the screen will show you how many guests there should be based on the reservations. This excludes any walk-ins who have been seated without being registered through the Reservations screen.

When in Table View, the first number outlined represents the number of guests who have reserve a spot as of this current moment.

See also:

Summary Screen

The Summary screen shows you all the online reservation requests that have not been accepted yet, regardless of the date (provided there is connection to the internet).

Tap a specific reservation to enter its Reservation Session tab.

Reservation Session Tabs

The Reservation Session tabs show the reservations for specific periods of time that you have set in Reservation Sessions. Note: You cannot take reservations in the backend, only on the POS. A Reservation Session is a period for which you will take reservations.

Each colour represents the reservation's status, depending on how the reservation was made.

Reservations in advance

  1. Awaiting approval - the customer has requested a reservation using your online system, but this has not yet been accepted or rejected.

  2. Awaiting assignment - you have accepted or created a reservation request, but not yet assigned the guests to their table

  3. Assigned - you have assigned the reservation to a table for when the guests arrive later

  4. Checked in - your guests have arrived and you have checked them in at their table.

  5. Completed - your guests have finished and paid.

Walk-In reservations

  1. Awaiting assignment- you have made a reservation for a walk-in customer, but not yet assigned them to a table.

  2. Checked in - you have checked in the guests to their table.

  3. Completed - your guests have finished and paid.

Table availability

The top right corner shows how many tables are available for the selected reservation session. The black number represents what kind of table there is (how many seats it has), and the blue number represents how many tables of that type are available. For example, 8/2 means that there are 2 tables that seat 8 people, whereas 4/7 means that there are 7 tables that seat 4 people.

Creating a Reservation/Managing Walk-Ins

  1. Tap Add New to create a new reservation.

  2. Enter the customer details, guest count, and any deposit made.
    You will need to include:

  • Customer name

  • Phone number or email address
    If an email address is provided, the customer will be created on the backend

  • Guest count

  • Reservation time and duration

3. If your customer is reserving for the future, enter the reservation time and duration. If they have not made a reservation in advance, tick Is Walk In.
4. Select Tables if you wish to assign the table they will be seated at.

5. Tap Save to generate the reservation for later or tap Check In to check in the reservation instantly.

See also:

Approving/Rejecting an online reservation

  1. Tap an "awaiting approval" reservation request to see its details, including any special requests.

  2. Accept or reject a reservation.

  3. Your customer will receive an automated email either confirming or declining their reservation.

See also:

Assigning a Reservation

  1. Tap on an “awaiting assignment” listing

  2. Press Select Tables

3. Select the table(s) you wish to assign the reservation to and press Done.

4. You will be redirected back to the Reservations page. Tap Save.

If you look at the Table Map, it will now tell you when the next reservation is scheduled. For larger tables, the customer's name will also display.

Note: You can also approve and reject reservations in the Pocket Manager app (iOS).

Checking in a reservation

  1. Tap on an "awaiting assignment"/"assigned" listing

  2. Press Check In.

3. Select the table(s) you wish to assign the reservation to and press Done.

If you had previously assigned a table for that reservation, it will already be selected (orange), so just press Done.

4. The table will be activated, with the time elapsed (hours:minutes), guest count, deposit amount, and reservation name attached to the table.

Instead of showing the time elapsed, you can show the time remaining for the reservation (hours:minutes), if you enable setting E4. RESERVATION COUNTDOWN MODE. It will count down from the Reservation Duration.

5. Tap the table to start an order.

Taking a deposit


When customers request a reservation online, you can impose a minimum deposit for guest counts over a certain number, e.g. $5 per person for reservations of 15 people and more.

  1. Go to Reservations > Reservation Configuration

  2. Scroll down to Deposit and set the Minimum Guest To Charge Deposit. Enter the Deposit per Guest or Deposit per Reservation.

3. Click Save.

When placing a reservation online, your customer will be prompted to enter their card details for any reservation that requires a deposit.

See also:

The deposit will be applied to the order so the amount owing is a negative figure.

  1. Tap the coin icon to view the deposit amount.

2. The total figure will automatically update as the order is taken.

NOTE: The total order amount must eventually equal or exceed the deposit amount for the transaction to be completed.

Messaging a customer

Tap the smartphone icon to compose a text message (SMS) to send to your customer's mobile.

Note: Ensure that you mention your company's name in the text message for your customers.

See also:

Black out reservation sessions (Blackout Dates)

If you have a function for on a weekend, or if you are closed for a public holiday, you can "black out" specific reservation sessions on specific days so that your customers cannot place a reservation on those days.

  1. Go to Reservations > Blackout Dates

  2. Click Add Blackout

  3. Select the Date

  4. Click under Blacked out sessions

  5. Select the session that you wish to black out for that day.
    Note: the times shown will be based on the Reservation Sessions that you already created.

6. Click Save.
7. Now if your customers select that date for a reservation, those blacked out sessions will not display.

See also:

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