Long lines at the host podium can be intimidating for diners, even with a competent staff and buzzers, restaurants lose money and customers when turning tables.
NoWait seeks to eliminate that money loss. A cell app that texts diners when their table is ready, and provides a more realistic time than the standard “Your table will be ready in 10 to 15 minutes.”
“[Before NoWait], it was impossible when we were really busy. I’d write down names on the list, you write down ‘David in the glasses and plaid shirt’ and look up, and suddenly you have six people that look the same,” says Josh Yingling, owner of Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House in Dallas. Goodfriend has been using NoWait for 14 months.
Using an iPad at the host stand instead of a mess of papers and pagers, the host books a table with a standard wait time and takes the diners’ numbers. They are then free to have a drink at the bar or window shop, no longer tied to standing in earshot of the podium or perimeter of the buzzer’s signal. It truly allows its users to be mobile. They will receive a message confirming their table, and giving them their number in line. If they do not have a smart phone, a simple SMS text is sent.
Yingling says NoWait was a lifesaver. “You either adapt to crowds or you don’t, and it really sucks if you don’t. We didn’t have buzzers. NoWait is less intrusive than running around trying to find people,” he says. “Once our customers understood we weren’t going to use their number to call them 800 times, they think it’s really cool.”
Yingling says he was impressed by the ease of usability. In the dining room, servers and host work together to indicate available tables on their iPhones. When a table becomes available, the host stand iPad is updated in real time and a message is sent to the diner telling them the table is available.
The app is free for restaurants to download, and has monthly usage pricing increments based on the crowd size a restaurant will be serving. It also can be used as a loyalty-reward interface, allowing a restaurant to send out promotions and coupons virtually.
“NoWait helps restaurants retain customers and improves the speed of which they turn tables,” says Ware Sykes, CEO of NoWait. NoWait’s platform is compatible with large chains as well as small, independent businesses, like Goodfriend. NoWait has 1.3 million customers per month. The paid packages offer customization and analytics, so restaurants can see problem areas and where they are losing customers. NoWait is continuing beta testing to constantly improve the app and find ways for restaurants to save time.
By Kirsten Ballard