Wednesday, May 5th, 2021 .

Running a restaurant isn’t the same as it was a couple years ago.  With the introduction of government mandates regarding COVID-19, technology has shaped customer expectations around service in all parts of their lives, and people are less willing to put up with unnecessary waiting to get the goods and services they want. Fortunately, there are applications like Waitlist Me that help restaurants and other businesses raise the bar and deliver at a higher level of service that meets today’s expectations.

Cut the clutter and stay organized

When the phone is ringing off the hook at the front desk, it can be near impossible for a frazzled host to serve the line of customers spilling out of the entrance, waiting to be acknowledged. Forget grease pens and paper planners. Waitlist Me eliminates hostess stand clutter and makes it easy to add and seat dining parties. Your front of house staff can see your business’ waitlist in a single glance and add customers to it with a swipe.

Over-deliver on wait expectations

With Waitlist Me, even a rookie host can quote accurate wait times and set the right expectations. The app shows real-time waits next to quoted times to make it easy to improve and know when things are running ahead or slow. Using status colors and notes to organize and keep tabs on waiting customers helps you get them seated more efficiently. And with the smart historical wait estimate features available with Waitlist Me Pro, you can take into account the previous 4 weeks of data to get more accurate estimates. You can’t always control the wait time, but you can improve the wait experience by serving customers on time, when you say you will.

Set your guests free

With so many new mandates on restaurant capacities, having guests wait in the lobby is no longer an option for many businesses. The text notification feature does away with diners’ worries about losing their place in queue without requiring them to physically be there. No more looking for a socially distanced area around your hostess stand, and no more long queues stretched 6 feet apart around the corner turning off new walk-ins. Whether they choose to window shop, walk down the block, or hang out in the car, one quick text lets them know when their table is ready. All you have to do is tap a button, and the customer will be paged instantly.

Give people visibility into their wait

The number one question your host doesn’t want to answer when it’s busy: Is my table ready yet? A close second: Where are we on the list? Waitlist Me keeps customers in-the-know automatically with its popular public waitlist feature. Once they’re added to your waitlist, they’ll receive a text confirmation that includes a link to your public waitlist that they can check in their phone browser (no app download required). In real time, they’ll see exactly where they are in the queue along with their wait time.

Never lose a reservation

The worst problem customers face on busy nights or big holidays is lost reservations. When your restaurant relies on overstuffed date books, though, hostesses get used to saying, “What was the name again? I’m not seeing it in the book.” Your guests deserve better, and Waitlist Me helps you stay organized and manage your reservations in one location that you can access from multiple iPads or Android tablets. You can even login from your home computer or your smartphone to keep tabs on your reservations.

Make waiting less painful with Waitlist Me.

Wednesday, April 28th, 2021 .

Waitlist Me offers several methods for calculating and displaying estimated wait times to help improve quote accuracy. The default option provides a rolling average wait that is recalculated every time a party is checked off the waitlist by being marked as served. You can choose a time period to include in this average, from 1 – 24 hours. Three group size ranges can be customized for displaying these averages. These settings are in the app under the gear icon > Customization > Waitlist View > Wait Estimates.

With Pro and Platinum subscriptions, there are advanced features to help you estimate wait times based on party size and time of day. The calculations can be set to use the previous week or previous four weeks of data for parties served. To enable this option, select Historical for the Calculations option from the menu shown above. Then you can access the data any time by pressing on the Avg Wait option from the main waitlist screen. (These settings can be accessed again quickly by selecting Historical on the main waitlist screen.)

The Waitlist Me iPad and Android tablet apps let you view graphs and charts that average the data for the previous week or four weeks, which makes it easy to spot trends over time. Use the menus at the top to switch between days of the weeks and various group views. This view shows a breakout of group ranges: 

While the combined view gives a historical waits that includes all group sizes:

If the data shows you consistently have waits for specific group sizes, it may be beneficial to remove some of the lesser used table sizes and add more to accommodate the group sizes that usually wait the longest. These metrics can help you plan future staffing so you can ensure coverage for the busiest times. Beyond helping with the real-time process of providing more accurate wait estimates, reducing walkaways, and improving customer satisfaction, the data can be used for strategic analysis and improvements.

Monday, March 29th, 2021 .

FACTORY GIRL is a breakfast & lunch restaurant in Amsterdam and in Berlin.  The concept of FACTORY GIRL was founded by Sofia D Sözen in Berlin in 2009 to become a hip and stylish culture serving healthy breakfast & lunch all day long. The atmosphere bursts with warmth, friendliness, coolness and charm. FACTORY GIRL is an exciting and homey culinary experience built on values of being cruelty-free to animals. 

“We serve extremely rich, luscious vegan & vegetarian food with beautiful presentations,” says Sözen. “We change the menu often to keep the excitement alive and the ingredients we use are mostly organic.” 

The concept of FACTORY GIRL is a place where you can begin your day or take a break in style or just drop by for a coffee or quick Vegan Coco Anjela treat. FACTORY GIRL believes in a healthy lifestyle with a planet-friendly attitude. That’s why the restaurant provides daily fresh, healthy vegan and vegetarian food with an infinite amount of ingredients, spices and herbs. 

“We try to create distinctive recipes that still have conventional tastes. And above all, FACTORY GIRL welcomes everyone with different preferences!” says Sözen.

There are a lot of dishes that are customer favorites, but a couple that stand out are the Vegan Dessert Coco Anjela, Shakshuka, and Gluten Free Pancake and Benedict. The menu contains many options, so it provides a great way for guests to create their own meal. 

“We have a lot of caring and love for our brand,” says Sözen. “We enjoy our work as a team. We play good music, provide a high level of service, and make fine and healthy food in a friendly environment. We support kindness and we love animals as much as we love bringing people together.” 

FACTORY GIRL’s commitment to quality service and spotless management was what originally led them to try Waitlist Me.  When the restaurant was busy, they would have to write down the names of the waiting people and it wasn’t easy to keep things in order.  They were having difficulties due to the long wait times.

“Waitlist Me allowed us to communicate with our guests by letting them wait from anywhere then telling them it’s their turn with an SMS,” says Sözen. “Our guests can check in online, they can see the wait times and we can keep everyone informed. It’s a new way to not wait in line. We can also control the number of customers inside at any given time. Waitlist Me lets us create an awesome customer waiting experience.”

FACTORY GIRL’s previous system of using paper was also throwing off their internal system and processes. Often guests had to wait too long, especially on weekend nights when things could get chaotic. Switching to Waitlist Me gave better tools for their management and team to help run things more smoothly when things got busy.

“We are now able to monitor our lines in real-time,” says Sözen. “We can see how different locations compare, the number of guests waiting, current wait times and other metrics that help to empower our team and streamline how our business operates.”

FACTORY GIRL’s flexibility in trying new things has been part of their ability to keep the personality of their brand consistent as they continue to make improvements within their core concept.  They are driven by the passion for making people happy and making strong connections with their customers and within their team.  These values have also helped them through the past year, which has been particularly challenging for restaurants because of COVID.  In their Amsterdam location they adapted and modified their service to allow for pick up. “FACTORY GIRL has strong founding pillars,” says Sözen, “We prefer to re-form ad re-sculpt our projects and plans for the current situation and needs. People still want to eat good food, and we always try our best to please our customers.”

Locations:

FACTORY GIRL Berlin – Auguststraße 29c, 10119 Berlin, Germany

FACTORY GIRL Berlin – Saenredamstraat 32, 1072 CH Amsterdam, Netherlands

Friday, March 26th, 2021 .

If you find that you, your staff, or your customers are more exhausted or more stressed out than usual, you’re not alone. In fact, these feelings are so common right now that the American Psychoanalytic Association has a name for it: PTSE, or Pandemic Trauma and Stress Experience.

APsaA’s COVID-19 advisory team has put together a long list of stressors and fears that those experiencing PTSE generally struggle with. It includes everything from “increased withdrawal, isolation, and fear of others as a source of infection” to “increased altruism, including worry about others.”

And you know what? All the points on this list of fears has the power to impact small businesses like yours.

Read on for four ways you can help customers have less stress when they visit.

Communicate safety precautions clearly

Proactively inform your guests about the precautions you’re taking to minimize the spread of the virus.

Post signs on your door, require hosts and servers to introduce them early in a guest’s visit, and include it on other forms of communication, from menus to social media profiles and posts. These precautions can protect not just your customers, but you and your employees as well.

Eliminate waiting area anxiety

Hanging out in a restaurant lobby wasn’t fun pre-COVID. During a pandemic, being that close to strangers for a long period of time is the stuff that panic attacks are made of.

Luckily, WaitList Me empowers customers to wait where they feel safest—outside in the fresh air, window shopping around the block, or hanging out in the car. Thanks to our text notifications feature, you can reach them wherever they are to let them know when they’ve hit the front of the line.

Cut unnecessary interactions

In this hand sanitizer-soaked world we now live in, many customers are concerned about touching items they never would have thought twice about a year ago. Everything from door handles to menus are suspect.

Eliminating these stressors requires a little bit of ingenuity. Wherever possible, install items like foot-pulls to enable guests to access areas without using their hands.

You can also use QR codes for menus and other ways. Post a QR code of the link to your Waitlist Me web widget and let customers join the list before they step foot in your restaurant, further minimizing lines and crowds.

Socially distance eating areas

For stressed-out customers, seeing a tightly packed dining area is enough to make them turn tail and leave—and may think twice before returning in the future.

You may want to reevaluate your restaurant’s table layout. Waitlist Me Platinum’s floorplan view and table management features are handy for optimizing your dining spaces and knowing where to seat the next customer to keep things flowing smoothly. 

One more thing: While community tables may have been the restaurant trend du jour, pre-COVID, now is not the time to bring them back. In fact, even when herd immunity has been reached, it might take awhile for diners to be psychologically comfortable enough to eat elbow-to-elbow with strangers again. 

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021 .

Toe-tapping, lobby-sitting, hostess-stalking? With Waitlist Me, these tired time-passing tactics are in the rearview mirror.

Waitlist Me is a waitlist and reservation app that sets you free. Thanks to our text messaging technology, queuers can ramble and roam while they wait without worrying about losing their place in line.

The only question remaining is this: What should you do with all this newfound freedom? Read on for 19 things to do while you wait.

1. Can’t remember who bought the last round? Race around the block to see who will pick up the bill this time around.

2. Declare a thumb war. It’s on!

3. Host an impromptu walk-off, America’s Next Top Model-style.

4. Predict the future with a middle school throwback: M*A*S*H.

5. Settle a disagreement by surveying passersby. Ketchup vs. mustard? Fries vs. onion rings? Coke vs. Pepsi? Anything goes.

6. Pop open a package of breath mints and see who can catch the most in their mouth. First one to land three-in-a-row gets to choose dessert!

7. Up the ante on people-watching by counting the number of buzz cuts or leopard print or mom jeans you spot.

8. Tap into your inner elementary student with a few rounds of hopscotch.

9. Freeze! Suggest a game of statues to see who’s the best strong-and-silent type.

10. Yuk it up with an impressions competition. For a stiffer contest, provide charades-like categories.

11. You know what they say: The best way to learn a new language is to practice! Have a conversation completely in French. (Or Klingon. You do you, friend.)

12. Have a way with words? Put it to the test with an on-the-spot limerick or haiku competition. Level up by requiring poets to include a particular word or phrase.

13. Co-opt a bright outdoor (spot) light for a speedy (fingers crossed!) open mic night.

14. Circle for hair braiding or shoulder massages.

15. Ready? OK! Pick a clean patch of grass and build a human pyramid.

16. No card deck? No problem. Grab a napkin and a spare pen or rogue crayon. Then, sketch out a brand-new game.

17. Lend a hand to your favorite local hotspots by using your waiting time to leave five-star reviews on Google and Yelp. Trust us, every rating counts!

18. Give your tablemates a challenge by throwing a speedy scavenger hunt. Use your phones to record finds and don’t forget to set a timer!

19. Face-off with a mirror mime contest. May we recommend mixing old-school techniques with 21st-century actions, like VR gaming or snowboarding?