Best Restaurant Pagers

Updated November 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

18 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
171 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best restaurant pagers

Last Updated November 2019

The world’s top restaurants pride themselves on not only the quality of their cuisine but also the seamless operation of their establishment, including good communication. A restaurant can be loud and crowded, making communication between patrons and staff more challenging. That’s where restaurant pagers come in: they eliminate obstacles to swift communication.

Restaurant pagers are alert systems that can inform patrons when they can be seated or call on waitstaff with a press of the button instead of trying to flag someone down. Pagers operate on radio frequencies that cover ranges between 100 and 3,000 feet. They buzz, flash, or vibrate to initiate contact. The straightforward system is easily programmable, and it’s designed to interact with other pager sets from the same manufacturer.

If your restaurant is ready to say goodbye to complicated lists and charts and hello to organized, stress-free service, it’s time to invest in restaurant pagers. Our buying guide has all the information you need, including some we think stand out from the crowd.

Restaurant pagers are great for use in stores with child care to alert parents when their child is ready to be picked up or needs help. Since they run on radio frequency, it’s easy to get in touch with parents if they can’t be reached by phone.

Key considerations

Why pagers?

  • Radio frequency: Restaurant pagers use radio frequency to transmit an alert between the receiver and the pager. While it could seem antiquated in the 21st century, it’s simply a reliable piece of technology, and in the restaurant industry, there isn’t much room for error. Cell phones can fall victim to outages and difficulty connecting to WiFi, which is why alerts sent via text can be problematic. Because radio frequency doesn’t experience the same types of interruptions, it’s the preferred alert system for many establishments.

  • Range: Restaurant pagers have transmission ranges between 150 feet and almost a mile, though it depends on the environment. Indoors, pagers usually reach between 150 and 500 feet, but walls can obstruct the range. Outdoors, or in large open spaces, pagers can reach as far as 3,000 feet. The average restaurant pager has a range of about 300 feet indoors and 1,500 feet outdoors.

  • Communication: When we think of restaurant pagers, we most often think of the one handed to us when we’re waiting for a table. It alerts us when the table is available. Other restaurant pagers are held by patrons and used to alert waitstaff. With the press of a button, it informs staff that a specific table needs immediate attention. While it’s a less commonly used type of restaurant pager, establishments do use this system to streamline communication and service.

Quantity

The number of pagers in a set varies, but in general there are between 6 and 20 in a set. If you’re getting restaurant pagers for the first time, a set of 10 is the average to manage a dinner rush. As a restaurant becomes more successful and attracts more patrons, it could require more pagers. Instead of buying a larger set (with another charging station), there is the option of buying additional pagers and controlling all the pagers from a single transmitter.

Power

  • Charge station or batteries: Restaurant pagers are generally equipped with rechargeable lithium batteries, so you won’t need to worry about individual batteries and chargers. The pagers fit into a docking station that can charge all of them simultaneously via an AC adapter. However, some pagers that transmit information from the patrons to waitstaff require individual batteries to operate.

  • Charge time: Completely dead pagers need to be docked for a few hours to fully charge. Restaurants often manage battery life by rotating pagers regularly, so they can all be charged at the same time when business is slow or the restaurant is closed. Because the docking station or base stays plugged in, your pagers will charge while they’re waiting to be handed out.

  • Operating time: A pager’s battery life depends on how often it’s used. Restaurant pagers, both battery powered and rechargeable, last between 36 and 72 hours before requiring a charge or battery change. While it seems like a large range, it includes hours for both standby and actual usage.
EXPERT TIP

When purchasing your restaurant pagers, buy a couple individual replacements to keep on hand in case a pager stops working during peak times.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Pagers are handled by many people every day, so it’s important to regularly clean and sanitize them with alcohol wipes, disinfectant, or hand sanitizer to keep germs from spreading.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

If possible, program your pagers with combination alerts. The redundancy will help make sure that patrons will still be alerted if they miss a visual or audio alert.


Staff  | BestReviews

Restaurant pager features

Alerts

The type of alert used by a pager is important to keep in mind because some are better suited to particular environments than others. Restaurant pagers utilize vibration, light, and sound alerts, and often use more than one at the same time. For loud and dimly lit establishments, the combination of vibration and light is effective. Audio alerts are also effective, especially when paired with vibration, though they can be disruptive and too high-pitched for some people.

Customization

Customization is relatively limited when it comes to restaurant pagers. Even the colors of the pagers are limited to three or four, with black the most common. Some pagers have dedicated space on which you can place a sticker printed with a company logo, while others have a removable window to fit a business card or advertisement of the same size.

Long-range convenience

These pagers have an excellent range of 3/4 mile — a lot farther than many other choices. They fit in the hand like a cell phone and lend a sophisticated feel to your restaurant. The cost isn’t exorbitant for 16 sleek-looking pagers, either.

Restaurant pager prices

Restaurant pagers range in price from $99 to $200 so even a fledgling establishment with a small budget has plenty of options.

Inexpensive: Sets that cost between $99 and $125 generally consist of six to ten pagers with limited alert settings. They’re straightforward and have a decent transmission range.

Mid-range: These sets cost between $130 and $160 and include at least ten pagers. They can be programmed with other pager sets from the same manufacturer. These also have customizable alert settings.

Expensive: At the top of the price range, between $160 and $200, the pagers have unique docking stations, advanced alert programmability, and the longest transmission ranges.

Expandable and programmable

This ten-piece pager system is as streamlined as it gets. Easily set pagers to chime, blink, and vibrate up to 500 feet away. The stackable charging base and compact station optimize space, too. As for adding new pagers, this receiver is programmable for up to 999 units, so you’ll never have to worry about the system being too small for your restaurant.

Tips

  • Post the wait time. Even if you use restaurant pagers to manage patrons, you can benefit from posting the average wait time online or on a whiteboard or chalkboard.

  • Train waitstaff to use the pagers. If the host or hostess is unavailable, you’ll need someone to fill the role. Train your waitstaff how to program the pagers and manage wait times so you don’t have to scramble to figure it out during peak times.

  • Alternate pagers in the charging station. Because rechargeable batteries only have so many charges, it’s important to rotate your pagers regularly.

  • Test the pagers when you get them. When you first receive your pagers, test them in the farthest corners inside and outside to confirm the transmission range before you begin using them with patrons.

  • Keep the charging station clean. For pagers that dock in a station, use a can of compressed air to blow away dust from the slots to keep the charging contacts clean.

Other product we considered

We’re impressed by the Retekess T-116 Wireless Calling System. With 20 pieces, this set is a cost-effective option compared to similarly priced models that include half as many pagers. Unlike other sets, these coffee-colored pagers are easily visible and won’t get lost in a sea of black electronics. The eye-catching LED light across the top of each pager changes color when charging, so you’ll never have to wonder if they have enough power during a busy night. This set also comes with a two-year warranty with fast customer service.

If your restaurant has a dimly lit lobby or waiting area, opt for brightly colored pagers with flashing alerts.

FAQ

Q. I’m changing restaurant locations. Do I need to reprogram my restaurant pagers in the new place?

A. Because restaurant pagers operate on radio frequency, programing the location isn’t necessary, although it is important to check the square footage of the new space to make sure the pagers will work. Provided your new location is still within the right range, you can start using them immediately.

Q.  I have a very small dining establishment that only gets busy during holidays. Do I need restaurant pagers if I don’t use them very often?

A. If your establishment is short on space, restaurant pagers can help organize the crowd and cut down on the chaos of orders and pickups. It’s not unusual for restaurants to implement seasonal or holiday systems to handle the rush, and pagers are a simple way to communicate with patrons and let them know their orders are being handled.

Q.  My restaurant pagers look like smartphones. Are there individual cases available for them?

A. Unfortunately there aren’t. This style of pager generally fits into a docking station, so it’s unable to have the added bulk that could cause it to sit unevenly during charging. A case could also obstruct exterior lights as well. Restaurant pages are designed to be handled heavily and often, so rest assured they can hold up to significant use before needing to be replaced.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Sian
    Sian
    Writer

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