Wednesday, February 24th, 2021 .

As the United States enters its second year living through the coronavirus pandemic, we’re all beginning to reach our limit. Individuals—including you, your customers, and your employees—are battling monumental levels of stress and burn-out, while businesses are still facing sink-or-swim moments.

An essential element of keeping our heads above water while the COVID-19 vaccines are distributed and herd immunity is achieved is finding ways to balance safety and living our lives. As a restaurant owner, you can help folks in your community reclaim parts of their normal, pre-COVID lives while being safety conscious.

Here are some ways to encourage customers to return for happy hour, date night, brunch, and beyond.

Make your safety protocols easy to access

Uncertainty around your safety protocols can influence concerned customers to stay home instead of visiting your restaurant, even if it’s just for take-out. 

Waitlist Me makes it easy to communicate important information to your customers via text message. Once they join your waitlist or make an appointment, you can remind them to mask-up, let them know where they can wait safely, inform them of food pick-up procedures, and more! Our public waitlist feature and add yourself features are also customizable.

Because we understand that your business needs can change, we make it easy to update your messaging. Whether it’s a dish-of-the-day or a new safety notice, you can tweak your text messages and your public waitlist quickly from the Waitlist Me settings.

Note: Remember to make your protocols (and everything else, like your menu and your payment system) easy for everyone to access. Have alternate delivery methods prepared and train your staff on how to use them. This accessibility guide from Toast can help you get started.

Enforce your business’ safety rules consistently

These days, there are few experiences more disheartening than finding a local business with solid COVID-19 safety protocols in place, only to visit in-person and observe that management isn’t enforcing those protocols.

Quality control is essential for small businesses. It’s what transforms your best dishes from one-hit wonders to house favorites. And, during a pandemic, it’s what gives your restaurant a five-star reputation for health and safety, both for your employees and your customers. Communicate your safety measures frequently, and make this communication and enforcement visible and audible to your visitors, too.

Note: Be clear with your management team and your staff about the safety protocols, how you will enforce them with your employees, and what enforcement powers they regarding guests. Spend time on this training. Indignant guests can be intimidating, and your team needs to be able to confidently and calmly diffuse tension while still enforcing the boundaries you’ve set.

Eliminate other sources of stress

Many areas are repeating the pattern of tightening restrictions, watching case levels decline, and reopening, which has guests and employees alike feeling like they can’t control their day-to-day life.

Waitlist Me can help you help them stress just a little bit less. When we first launched, our goal as a waitlist and reservation app was to set customers free from a designated waiting area. Thanks to our text message notifications and publicly visible waitlist, guests can wait where they’re comfortable—and can join your queue from wherever they are via our add yourself web widget.

Many of the features we’ve added over time empower business owners to help their clientele stress even less. Guests can save their place in line by texting your restaurant when they’re running late, and you can reply to them to clarify additional requests. You can also prevent last-minute confusion by providing menus and COVID-related changes on your website, add yourself page, and public waitlist page. 

Thursday, February 11th, 2021 .

Due to increased fees by mobile phone carriers for delivering text notifications, we will be raising the subscription price of Waitlist Premium on March 1, 2021 to help offset these additional costs.  The new fees levied by phone companies are industry-wide and affect every service that sends text notifications, not only Waitlist Me. 

Waitlist Premium Monthly will change from $24.99 to $29.99 and Waitlist Me Premium Annual will go from $239.88 to $287.88.  The subscription prices for Waitlist Me Pro and Waitlist Me Platinum will not change.

We are still committed to providing the best value to our customers and even with the price increase will still have considerably lower prices than other comparable offerings. We also add value to the Waitlist Me service on an ongoing basis through new features and improved performance.

Tuesday, February 9th, 2021 .

Nowadays, with everything from smart mugs to smart bike helmets managing and monitoring our days and nights, you might be wondering if you really need to add another techie solution to your lifestyle.

While we won’t weigh in on, say, a smart saltshaker, there is a clever must-have that every business owner or manager will fall for fast. Waitlist Me is a waitlist and reservation app that will have you tossing your grease pens and appointment books after just one date—er, dinner service.

Designed with restaurants and a variety of other types of businesses in mind, Waitlist Me is a flexible, plug-and-play app that makes managing waitlists, reservations, and appointments a breeze. Keep reading for 7 reasons to L-O-V-E Waitlist Me.

Lose the crowded lobby

Waitlist Me uses text notifications to alert your customers when they’ve made it to the front of the line. This allows them to maintain their place in line without standing in line. Our app sets them free, letting them wait while they window shop or drop off their dry-cleaning or hang out in the car.

Improvements made easy

Pro and Platinum subscribers are able to access Waitlist Me’s reports on table and assignment usage. You can harness this data to learn more about how your business uses its resources, from physical space to employees. With these numbers in hand, you can start making small changes that lead to cost savings, larger margins, and bigger bottom lines.

DIY updates are a cinch

Waitlist Me is built for businesses, not for techies. And because businesses can change from day to day, we’ve made it a breeze to make changes to your waitlist and the text message notifications you send to your clients—just in case.

A+ experience ratings

A hollering host? Not on our watch. Our waitlist and reservation app notifies guests by text when their table, their doctor, their changing room—whatever it is they’re waiting for—is ready for them. No rude interruptions and no missed summons makes for a five-star rating. Cheers!

User-friendly interface

We’re reinventing waitlists, not apps, which is why we built Waitlist Me to be easy to use the second you log in. Our intuitive interface works the way you expect it to, and we’ve made all the most important information available at a single glance, giving you an ASAP way to see how your business is doing in the moment.

Unlimited device sync

Built for scale, Waitlist Me allows you to use as many devices as you want to manage one queue, all at the same time. Forget paying per user. Now, managers can ensure business runs smoothly while everyone else goes about their daily tasks.

Always upgrading

The development team is constantly looking for ways to improve our service. We are continuously talking to business owners and managers in different industries to see what would make their lives easier. Being better at business? Here are Waitlist Me, that’s our M.O.

Wednesday, December 16th, 2020 .

What kind of device can be used for the Waitlist Me service: a tablet, computer, or smartphone? Yes, yes and yes! The service can be used on iOS and Android mobile devices using apps from Apple iTunes or the Google Play Store as well as on computers through web browsers. You might choose to use one or a mixture of these depending on the size of your business and the features you want to utilize.

iPads and iPad Minis are the most popular device options due to the popularity and solid performance of these tablets. It is important to make sure the device is a newer model capable of running the most current version of iOS available, as Waitlist Me is optimized for the latest version in accordance with Apple’s guidance for developers. You don’t have to go out and buy the newest iPad. You can use a prior generation model if you already have one, but for example, you would not want to use an old iPad 2 that cannot run operating systems higher than iOS 9 with Apple now on iOS 14. You can check here whether your existing Apple device currently has or is able to update to the latest iOS version.

Android tablets are another popular choice for running Waitlist Me. Android has a wider range of manufacturers and price points, and to some degree you get what you pay for. We don’t recommend buying a cheaper Android tablet for less than $150, as you are more likely to run into performance issues. Look for a device with at least 2 GB of RAM, which would be in the middle of the range for Android tablets. The Samsung Galaxy Tab A is a popular choice. As with Apple, we advise using a tablet that is updated to the latest Android OS. Instructions for how to check and update your Android version can be found here.

You can also use Waitlist Me in a web browser on a computer or tablet, and we recommend using Chrome or Firefox for the best performance. Some of Waitlist Me’s more advanced features, however, are only available when using our iOS or Android apps on tablets.  For instance, our apps for tablets you can use our self check-in kiosk feature, the floorplan view, and a few other features that aren’t available in the browser.

Likewise, iPhone or Android smartphones can be used to run the Waitlist Me app and access the basic functions of the service like adding guests, sending notifications, adjusting assignments, etc. To take advantage of features like the spatial floorplan view, you would need to use a tablet with a 7” or larger screen.

Waitlist Me will also run on a Kindle or Fire tablet in a pinch, but we don’t recommend these devices due to performance limitations for more than basic waitlist management for places with lower usage. They are comparatively low-end devices designed more for consumers to use for reading e-books and other forms of entertainment. 

Thursday, December 3rd, 2020 .

Waitlist Me makes it simple to track table availability and server assignments. There are a couple options that can be customized to your business needs and workflows. 

If you manage your tables by section, the first thing you’d want to do is visit this page to learn more about setting up your sections and layouts. If your business isn’t a restaurant, you can also use these same features to group your staff, rooms, or other resources visually in the Grid view.

Our Pro level service provides a very simple way to know what server is assigned to what section by using the Assignment Notes feature. Simply tap on the “Notes” link to view a list of sections and text form fields where you can enter server names or other notes for each section. It is easy to see high level information about each section and make changes all at once.

With our Platinum level service, you can also set up an additional floorplan view, and be able to position these same notes where you’d like in the floorplan view.

Also with Platinum you also have the option to assign servers individually to tables and track the activity by server rather than section. This is especially useful if you don’t use sections and use a system of assigning tables based on server turns or server activity. Or if you have servers assigned to sections, but need to have some floaters to help out where needed or other cross section activity, you can combine the section notes with individual server assignments to keep track of everything.

To set up individual servers, tap on the gear icon in the Waitlist Me app to go to the Settings and then go to Manage Assignments > Servers. Here you can enter the names of your servers. Select Status on the upper right of this menu if you want to add colors for the servers. Using different colors can make it easier to see where your different servers are assigned. Or maybe you want all your patio servers coded as green to make it easier to distinguish them from the indoor servers. 

After a table has been seated, select the table to access the footer bar. Here you will see a Server button, which brings up a menu of active servers. Choose a name to assign that server. You can sort by alphabetical order, the number of tables or seats each has had, or the amount of time since the last table was sat for each employee. 

Also, in the upper right of this server window is a Status option. The Server Status area lets you mark the servers who aren’t working today as inactive, and to change status colors if needed. 

If you haven’t yet named your tables, you can do that in the settings under Assignments. For the Pro features, you can find helpful information on navigating the grid view here. For the Platinum features, the video on this page will show you how to place your tables in your floorplan.