Wednesday, October 16th, 2019 .

The eye-popping, groan-inducing truth is that Americans spend 37 billion hours waiting in line every single year. And while we can get on board with some of these waits, most of them aren’t worth it. On any given day in any given place, the average person is wasting their time waiting. And here at Waitlist Me HQ, that’s not something we believe in.

Not sure if your wait is worth it? We’re breaking down the types of situations that warrant a wait and the ones that don’t to ensure that you, dear reader, get the most out of your most valuable commodity: time. Scroll down for four worth-it waits (and four more that should make you walk).

Eating out

Getting your grub on? Don’t be so quick to join the line.

Wait for…pop-up restaurants. If you have your eye on an hour-long wait, make sure that you’re waiting for something special, like a one-night-only dining concept or a chef collaboration that the whole town will be buzzing about over tomorrow’s breakfast.

Don’t wait for…a happy hour table. Don’t let trendy hot-spots trick you into queueing for a table when they’re not offering anything better than the less-busy bar down the block. Happy hour specials tend to feature common offerings that appeal to the masses rather than house specialties, anyway.

Playing ball

Trust us: There’s no need to sweat a long line 24/7.

Wait for…playoff tickets. Supporting your favorite teams is an investment that lasts longer that two halves, four quarters, or nine innings. When you show up en masse for a sport you love, it keeps the teams you enjoy cheering for hanging around from season to season—and that’s a win in our book.

Don’t wait for…gym equipment. A well-managed gym shouldn’t include a line of toe-tappers waiting to snag their 40 minutes on a treadmill. If your favorite workout spot refuses to evolve in order to keep up with demand, consider taking your membership dollars elsewhere.

Yukking it up

Nothing kills a good time quite like a queue.

Wait for…a big-time live show like SNL. Did you know people regularly camp out on New York City sidewalks for 12-plus hours at a time to see a taping of Saturday Night Live? For die-hard fans, it’s a worthwhile experience that comes with stories, new friends, and sometimes even munchies delivered by the host of the week.

Don’t wait for…trivia night seats. Waiting is stressful—that’s a fact. But your limited time out with your friends shouldn’t be a nail-biter! With British pub-style trivia exploding in popularity across the U.S., there’s no reason to queue for a table. Find another venue and discover a new favorite!

Finding a deal

Shop ‘til you drop? Fabulous. Wait ‘til late? Not so much.

Wait for…a sample sale. Whether you’re a bride-to-be or a bargain-hunting fashionista, you know that there are sales and then there are sales. Black Friday might make you feel more “eh” than “yay,” but if a favorite store or brand is having their once-a-year blow-out, go ahead and queue your heart out.

Don’t wait for…a Saturday afternoon shopping trip. A casual trip to the mall shouldn’t make you want to pull your hair out in frustration or grumble about how slow other shoppers are being in the dressing rooms. When it comes to brick-and-mortar stores that need your business to keep the lights on, stellar service should be offered alongside the merchandise.

Of course, businesses can improve the wait experience by using Waitlist Me. So if you find yourself stuck waiting somewhere, you can always mention that to them!    

Monday, September 30th, 2019 .

Everything from plastic straws to disposable containers are getting 86ed left and right. Why should paper clutter be any different because it’s piled up on your hostess stand instead of your tables?

But truth be told, it’s not just the toll paper takes on the ecosystem that should inspire you to transition toward digital waitlist and reservation management systems. There are a host of other reasons to switch to a waitlist and reservation app, like Waitlist Me, that go beyond your recycling bin. 

Need an example of why paper is passé? Here are 6:

You’re annoying your guests (and your staff)

A datebook can’t be in two places at once, but an app can. You can put Waitlist Me on as many tablets, smartphones, and computers as you want. While your hostess seats guests, a front-of-house manager can keep tabs on staff efficiency, a GM can track long-term customer trends, and a regional manager can check in on a few different locations.

Your wait times are inaccurate

How long will it take for that two-top to scarf down their chocolate mousse? When will you be able to squeeze a few tables together for a large party? With paper, you’re left guessing. Digital waitlist solutions, however, make it easier to make accurate wait estimates. That means your hosts can focus on customer service, not crunching numbers. 

You look unprofessional

Scrabbling through crumpled reservation book pages and scribbling party sizes onto a grease board makes your restaurant look like a slap-dash operation. Switching to an app lets you move all that mess onto one simple screen. No more MIA reservations, no more hard-to-read handwriting, and no more endless flipping while customers tap their toes.

You can’t multitask

Nobody likes the holler-back method of seating guests. For hosts, it’s laryngitis in the making. For next-in-line diners, it’s round after round of the “wait, did they just call our name?” game. And for even the most patient of waiting customers, it shatters the ambiance. An app like Waitlist Me lets you quickly, quietly, and easily text guests when it’s their turn.

You can’t gather data

Sure, you can tally up the heads served and tables turned by the end of the night, but with a pen and paper, a pile of chicken scratch is all you’ve got. Digital tools are built with analytics running automatically in the background as you and your staff go about your day. When you’re ready to see how your team has performed (and analyze trends, like your average table turnover time), the data is waiting for you.

You’re not serving your customers to the best of your ability

A hostess with a grease board in hand and a line to manage is working the numbers, not focusing on customer experience. But while lines are a fact of life that guests can deal with, a bad experience can wreck your restaurant’s reputation. Waitlist Me offers a bunch of features that helps hosts serve. One of our favorites: the public waitlist. Guests can check it on their smartphone or a monitor in your waiting area to see exactly where they are in line (and stop asking your hostess for an ETA!).

Thursday, September 12th, 2019 .

Running a restaurant isn’t the same as it was 10 years ago. 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 modern expectations.

Cut the clutter and stay organized 

A frazzled host and a messy greeting area is a big red flag for guests who come to you for an enjoyable evening out. 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. 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

Kids aren’t the best at standing quietly in a restaurant lobby, and adults don’t want to be cooped up either. That’s why Waitlist Me lets guests relax and wander about if they like. The text notification feature does away with diners’ worries about losing their place in queue. No more hovering around your hostess stand, no more long queues stretched around the corner, and no more crowded lobbies 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. No muss, no fuss, no empty tables.

Give people visibility into their wait

The No.-1 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.

Avoid lost reservations

The worst problem customers face on busy nights or big holidays is lost reservations. When your restaurant relies on overstuffed date books and grease boards, 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 smart phone to keep tabs on your reservations.

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019 .

If there’s one thing social media has shown us, it’s that skincare, makeup, and hair products aren’t going out of fashion. Everyone wants to look good and feel good in their own skin, and this niche helps them do exactly that.

There’s great news for cosmetics retailers, too. While other industries are beating back e-commerce competition, beauty counters, branded boutiques, and local bath and body shops alike have a major advantage: their customers crave professional advice and want to try before they buy. That advantage keeps shoppers walking through doors rather than logging in online. The best way to keep them coming back, though, is to wow them with stellar customer service.

Want to gain an edge on your local cosmetics store competition? Check out Waitlist Me Pro.

First, let’s talk about waitlists

Waitlists are more common in restaurants than in retail stores, but Waitlist Me is changing that one customer experience at a time.

The thing about waitlists is that they make every situation during which customers might encounter a queue smoother and more positive for everyone involved. Whether they’re in a makeover line or need the help of a sales associate to make a decision about a product, waitlists let stores cut frustration out of the equation (along with the line-cutters that drive customers nuts).

At its most basic level, our app lets businesses add customers to a waitlist and text them when they reach the front of the line. Except with a digital waitlist, there is no line! Guests are free to roam about your store and look at different products they might be interested in, or to walk down the block and return when a sales associate can focus on them one-on-one.

Read more about how cosmetics stores can use waitlists here.

Why Waitlist Me Pro 

Superior customer service is more than a guessing game. To gain insights on how to improve your business, it helps to have data to back up your gut instincts. That’s where Waitlist Me Pro comes in.

The Pro-level app, which is compatible with Apple, Android, and web-based devices, comes with several valuable reports. Just by using the app you’ll be saving information in the background while you and your employees are working. When you’re ready to create new schedules, you can quickly download these reports to see when you need more help and when you can get away with less.

Waitlist Me Pro helps you track your customers from the minute you add them to a waitlist to when they walk out the door. That makes it easy to see where you need to allocate time and resources, and how you can improve your store’s efficiency and productivity.

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019 .

While fine dining might grab more press and shinier awards, fast casual is the largest growing restaurant sector around the world—and has been since 2015.

The name of the game isn’t just speed or price; if it was, fast food will still be earning top honors. Nope, fast casual continues to soar because it offers a superior customer experience. It’s all about serving great food to busy people on a budget.

Sounds good, right? Well, there’s one way to make it even better—and to ensure that your fast casual restaurant scores top marks on review sites like Yelp: make your guests’ dining experience more convenient.

Here are three ways to increase convenience at your fast casual restaurant starting right now.

#1. Go for mobile notifications

Waiting to pick up your meal at a counter is one of the few downsides to fast casual. Even worse? Perching on the edge of your seat trying to figure out if your name has been called. Hello, anxiety!

With a waitlist app like Waitlist Me, you can now text your guests when their meal is ready for pick-up. That means they can sit down and relax while they wait to nosh. It’ll cut down on noise in your restaurant and decrease customer stress (and the amount of food growing cold on the counter). No more crowding impatiently around the counter? That’s a win in our book!

#2. Take your waitlist online

Sure, the food might be worth the wait, but a wait isn’t what fast casual diners are looking for (see the “fast” in “fast casual”). From breakfast to lunch and dinner through late-night, nobody’s looking to stand around and watch other people scarf down goodies. That’s where an online waitlist comes in handy.

Waitlist Me offers a widget you can easily add to your restaurant’s website. Once it’s there, diners can hop on-line digitally, and walk through your door at just the right time. Bonus? Use our option to let customers join your list straight from their Google search, no website updates required.   

#3. Offer easy take-out and delivery options

Not every diner wants to park it in-house. And you know what? That’s just fine for your bottom line. An emptier restaurant gives newcomers the idea that you’re ready and waiting to serve them without requiring you to sacrifice orders. In their mind, they’ve arrived ahead of the crowd. In yours, you’re still busy fulfilling orders without needing the tables and chairs to accommodate them.

Make this a reality by setting your fast casual restaurant up online for easy take-out ordering. If your area offers delivery options—think: Postmates, UberEats, Seamless, or Grubhub—create special pick-up zone for delivery drivers. That way, they can get in and get out, and your diners can enjoy hot, fresh food from the comfort of their own home.

Remember, every time you make a change, you need to let your customers know! Add it to your website, have employees mention it when guests order, and post it around your restaurant.  

Our favorite way to ensure diners are in the know 24/7 is to post updates on an in-restaurant monitor, along with your waitlist. Waitlist Me Pro lets you do this easily, and there are no limits to what you include! Whether you’re celebrating your 1,000th 5-star rating, are offering a limited-time special, or you’re launching a loyalty program, anything goes. (Hint: funny cat videos work, too.)