Yelp Inc., the company that connects consumers with great local businesses, announced it has acquired Nowait, a restaurant technology company with the industry’s leading waitlist system and seating tool. Previously, the company announced a strategic investment in Nowait and integrated its waitlist experience into the Yelp app, enabling restaurants to share real-time seating availability and providing an easy way for hungry diners to get in line remotely. Nowait is the perfect complement to booking tables with Yelp Reservations and ordering food for pickup and delivery through Yelp Eat24.
Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Nowait was founded in 2010 as the first mobile network for waitlist restaurants that enables users to discover real-time seating availability and remotely add their name to the waitlist. With Nowait integrated into Yelp, diners can move directly from their restaurant search to getting in line via the app, all within a few taps. The service also supports real-time communication between the restaurant and the customer. Nowait is live at about 4,000 restaurants across the United States and Canada with the ability to offer waitlist functionality and front of the house management to casual dining establishments. According to Statista, 54 percent of Americans have eaten in a casual dining restaurant monthly, three times the percentage who have eaten at fine dining restaurants.
The Nowait system replaces paper lists or handheld buzzers with a simple experience delivered via smart phone, helping to drive more business for busy restaurants while meeting the needs of time strapped diners.
"Yelp already plays a big role in millions of purchase decisions every day as consumers actively seek out businesses and services that save them time and money. The full integration of Nowait allows us to provide real-time seating availability that better equips diners to make informed decisions," says Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp co-founder and chief executive officer. "Nowait has quickly become an important feature for Yelp users and a valuable addition to our overall restaurant offerings. With this acquisition, we’ll make even bigger strides in the restaurant industry by allowing Yelp users to more quickly move from search and discovery to transacting at a local business."
"We’ve had a successful partnership and we’re excited to align fully with Yelp to drive even faster adoption. Together we’ll have the leading waitlist system in the restaurant industry paired with the largest engaged consumer base," said Ware Sykes, Nowait’s chief executive officer.
The $40 million acquisition of the entirety of Nowait will be paid in cash, and includes the partial stake, which Yelp acquired previously. The transaction, which was approved by the boards of directors of both companies, closed on February 28, 2017 and the purchase price will be reflected in Yelp's first quarter 2017 financial statements.