Hospitality Buzz

Category Archives: Wait List Management

6 Reasons Cell Phones Paging Systems are better than Restaurant Pagers

Restaurant pagers have been around for almost 20 years. They were invented before the iPhone, Facebook, and even Google! Not only are paging systems outdated, but they are also costly and constantly need to be replaced. Thanks in part to the presence of mobile phones and text messages included in large majority of cell phone plan packages, many restaurants are managing their wait lists with text notifications.

Here are 6 reasons why restaurateurs are switching from restaurant pagers to tablet-based wait list systems:

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Guests can split up while waiting for their table

Guests have been accustomed to waiting near the host stand for a table for years. Even with the restaurant pagers from JTech and LRS, guests must still remain close by otherwise the pagers go out of range and who knows if you’ll miss your table.

BuzzTable wait list app

In 2011, restaurants began to implement paging via text message. Nearly 99% of restaurant parties have at least 1 person in the group with a mobile phone that accepts text messages, so the move from buzzer to text message wait list started to take hold. And last year we witnessed first hand how many text message wait list apps there were (we counted about 20). So now the question becomes, what else do these systems offer me as a restaurateur?

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Guests Have Positive Experience with Wait List App

When we launched our iPad Wait List App last year we spent countless hours as hosts to understand exactly what was needed and more importantly what was not. It was an iterative design process over several months. We saw the challenges that the restaurant host staff faces everyday. Our app provided a much needed solution to one of the greatest pain points in dining — waiting for a table.

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Restaurant Paging Moving to Mobile

Nielsen recently reported that 74% of 25-34 year olds now own smartphones. A year ago that statistic was at 59%. There is no doubt that smartphones are making their way into the hands of more and more of your guests every month. And these smartphones have benefits beyond Facebook and e-mail.

It is estimated that 1-2 restaurant buzzers go “missing” each month from a single location. The restaurant pager systems, created in the 90s, are outdated and just plain costly. With the current smartphone penetration we’re seeing more and more restaurants switch to a tablet-based mobile wait list. Afterall, these days your guests are already coming in with a pager in their pocket… and it’s called a phone.

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Wait List App Feedback – Part 2

A few months ago I posted a short blog post on initial Wait List App Feedback. It was pretty positive because we heard nothing but raving reviews from users we interviewed about our WaitList App. We knew we were off to a great start when the app was met with such positive feelings from both users and restaurant staff.

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Wait List App Feedback

It’s been almost 1 month since we launched our wait list app. This app is the guest-facing compliment to the restaurant wait list app we built almost a year ago.

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Wait List Design Decisions

Guests have wanted to know where they were on the wait list since the beginning of time. Restaurants, however, have been hesitate to part with this information and for good reason. Few guests understand that the estimated wait time is just that — an estimate. This is mostly because the host doesn’t know how long patrons currently sitting at the table will be. They check to see what checks have been dropped and whose paid, but again its an estimate. To further complicate things, some guests call ahead (if the restaurant accepts that) and other guests are just exceptions. They might be regulars or friends with the staff.

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Thoughts on UrbanSpoon’s “Right Now” for Real Time Waitlist Availability

Last week UrbanSpoon launched a new service called Right Now. Sarah Perez of TechCrunch picked up the story and wrote an article titled, Urbanspoon Debuts Rezbook “Right Now,” Lets Diners See Real-Time Availability For Reservations & Waitlists.

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