Restaurants have wait lists an average of 6.6 hours per week, with parties waiting nearly half an hour on average for a table, according to data from a new study.
The survey of 267 restaurant owners and managers was released by Long Range Systems, LLC (LRS), a leading supplier of technology that enhances the guest experience. The results indicate that nearly 93 percent of restaurants have at least some wait-time periods, and 30 percent of restaurants report that waits are getting longer.
And yet, most restaurants have not yet found ways to effectively engage customers during the valuable time spent waiting in their establishments.
“Restaurants have dealt with this issue for years now, but little has been done to leverage the wait time,” says Skip Cass, CEO of Long Range Systems. “With new technology, restaurants can take advantage guest idle time and their existing Wi-Fi network by deploying mobile-based guest engagement offered through tablet-friendly wait applications, such as iQueue.”
About 80 percent of restaurants have Wi-Fi, but tablet usage remains in the early stage of adoption for the majority of those restaurants. Less than 10 percent of respondents said they use tablets in any way to run their establishments.
Tablets can be used for all kinds of guest engagement and for staff, tablet-based applications make managing wait times easier. Guests can order drinks and appetizers – or even peruse the menu and order their meal – via tablets. And mobile apps can provide a depth of information on ingredients and nutritional information that old-fashioned menus can’t touch. The possible uses extend to allowing guests to pay for their meals and leave feedback.
Restaurants certainly have plenty of time to engage their customers. According to the study, the average wait per party is 23 minutes, but nearly a third of all parties are waiting more than 30 minutes. Eight percent wait longer than 40 minutes.