If you've ever taken your family out to a fast-casual restaurant on a busy evening, you may have placed your name on a wait list and received a vibrating pager so you can walkabout and get alerted when you table was ready. One company focused on further modernizing this pager system is NoWait, a mobile wait listing management service out of Pittsburgh.
NoWait announced Tuesday that it closed a $2 million Series A round of funding led by Birchmere Ventures with participation from Sand Hill Angels and previous investors.
NoWait is specializing in its diversity of options, by combining SMS text messaging and an iOS software application that runs on iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad.
Now, customers can leave the host/ess their name as well as their cell number then, as their table becomes available they can get a phone alert to check in with the reservationist. Smartphone users are also able click a link that gives them info about where they are in the wait list so that they can possibly walk about, shop or grab a drink before their reservation. As a former hostess, I know that the only thing one can be sure of is that guests will lie about the time they were quoted and will check in roughly every 5-10 minutes. This system seems like it not only empowers the guests that want to know how long their wait is, but it takes some of the busy work and burden off of the host that spends a lot of time re-quoting wait times to guests.
There is another app called NoshList that was working on SMS communication 2-way between customers and restaurants as well as an array of offerings from Livebookings, Timeview, Tableista, DinerConnection, WaitList Manager, and TurnStar that offer different deals with restaurants based on their reservation system and a range of preferences.
And this mobil-centric system of reservation and wait listing not only reduces the hardware and time spent by employees, it also provides restaurants with (drumroll please) DATA. Of course. Company owners get analytics about how their business runs, what average wait times are, party sizes, trends and anything else they can pull from the data that once was relegated to a big paper binder that few people looked in or put onto a spreadsheet.
NoWait customers include: Texas Roadhouse, Red Robin and TGI Friday’s. NoWait has seated over 4 million diners in 45 U.S. states, Canada and Puerto Rico.