Thursday, April 25th, 2019 .

You can tell by the block-long lines that people are waiting to get their hands on the newest It-burger or It-lipstick or It-phone. But should you invest your time (and your patience) into queueing for the latest must-have, too?

If you wanna stick around, by all means, go for it. We have friends who see a line and hop right on without even checking to see what they’re waiting for. (Yes, we think they’re crazy, but hey, #youdoyou.) Who knows? Maybe there’s really great music in the lobby. Maybe you have 74 minutes to kill before an appointment. Maybe the arch support in your sneakers needs testing.

Or maybe not. If your eyeballs turn into question marks at the sign of a line, here’s your definitive guide to figuring out if what you’re waiting for is worth the time you spent in line.

#1. The queue is out of control

Some businesses are experts at line management (see: Chick-Fil-A and Disney World). Some businesses aren’t used to lines but are happy to adapt to a surge in traffic. Others use long wait times to garner attention and tend to care more about press than customer satisfaction.

The first two are usually worth your time. They’ll either get you to the front as expeditiously as possible, where you can enjoy whatever it is you’ve been waiting for, or they’ll apologize and offer you something even better.

The last one? Not so much. Many businesses that use long lines as leverage also have limited stock (think: doorbuster deals on Black Friday or Build-A-Bear’s discount goof). That means if you’re not near the front, you’ll be waiting ages for diddly squat. If that’s the case—and a quick Google should give you an answer—we suggest cutting your losses ASAP.

#2. Exiting customers don’t look happy

Pay no heed to impatient line-grumblers—unless, of course, they’re grumbling is along the lines of, “Our pancakes always come out burned when we eat here. Why are we waiting for a table again?”

You want to know what the folks leaving the business-in-question have to say about their experience. Are they smiling and laughing? Are they toting doggy bags and saying they can’t wait to come back? Or, are they frowning? Grimacing? Shaking their heads? Crying?

Read their body language and, if you’re feeling particularly daring, pop on a grin and ask them straight-out what whatever-it-is was like. Most people will tell you honestly, especially if you catch them by surprise.

#3. You feel uncomfortable

The human body is a curious thing. It has parts without purpose. It can manage miraculous feats of strength. And it can sense when you need to get out NOW. That niggling feeling at the base of your spine? Those hairs standing up on the back of your neck? Those are your instincts telling you that, hm, something is a little off.

It could be too loud. It could be too frantic. Perhaps the food smells off or the waiting room looks dirty. Point being: If you’re not feeling it, for whatever reason, back on out of there and move on!

Waitlist Me can help

When there are good reasons to wait or a line is simply unavoidable, Waitlist Me helps businesses make customer waits more bearable. Benefits include improving quote time estimates, simplifying line management, and giving customers the flexibility to wait where they like and be notified when it’s their turn.  It’s great for the business as well. Better experiences mean higher customer satisfaction, less walkaways, and other positive business results.

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019 .

Any diner can appreciate black-and-white tile and chrome fixtures. Retro is always in, baby! But there’s a line between old-school cool and remarkably outdated.

Wondering where your restaurant falls? One easy way to tell is to check what’s waiting for queuers at your hostess stand. Is it a mobile device with a waitlist app, like Waitlist Me? Totally this-century. Is it a grease board and a dirty rag? A little grody looking, but still sitting on the fence. Is it a basketful of buzzers? Time for an overhaul!

Don’t believe us? Listen in to what your customers have to say when they’re handed a buzzer and told to wait ‘til it goes off.

I’m not holding it.”

At 5, a buzzer is a novelty. It vibrates! It lights up! You get to be the first to know when it’s your turn! Unlike watching a cat chase a laser pointer, though, it’s a novelty that grows stale with age. While many customers are totally down for coloring alongside the kids—um, if you’ll upgrade that crossword puzzle, please—they’re ready to leave the buzzers to the grade schoolers.

“Gross! I don’t want to touch it.”

When was the last time you cleaned those greaseballs? Even though customers get them before their food, buzzers tend to be streaked with dust, grease, and who-knows-what else. In the age of germaphobia and a rising spate of super-bacteria, customers would really rather not come that close to a buzzing petri dish, thanks.

“Darn, what if I don’t hear it buzz?”

You’d think a hand-held buzzer would be easy to notice but often times, they aren’t. In fact, if customers set them down on the bar or slide them into a jacket pocket, the flashing lights and rattling plastic are easy to miss. To prevent this, one or more guests will disengage from the social atmosphere you’ve worked hard to create, all to ensure that they don’t miss out on their table.

“Someone needs to hold my drink.”

Short of a menu taller than a toddler, there’s nothing clunkier than a restaurant buzzer. Customers either need to set them down (where they tend to be forgotten), balance them on a limb (where they tend to fall), or hold them in one hand (where they take up much-needed real estate). For those that are keeping tabs of coats, bags, children, phones, or beverages, this becomes a nuisance they quickly resent.

“How close do you think we need to be?”

Will a buzzer work outside the lobby? How far from the front doors can customers wander? Being handed a buzzer on a crowded evening puts guests in a precarious situation: They need to pinpoint a space where they can comfortably wait and where the buzzer will still work. For long wait times, this can create anxiety. With every minute that ticks by, they wonder if maybe they missed their table. Cue constant check-ins with your staff, which defeats the purpose of the buzzer in the first place.

A better solution

Replace those outdated, expensive buzzers with a more up-to-date solution. Waitlist Me is so simple you can get started in a few minutes, and your guests will appreciate receiving a text instead of a clunky buzzer.

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019 .

Need a good ol’ guffaw to get you through a 30-minute wait? How about a giggle while the host squares away your table? Whether you’re queueing for an age or hardly a second, you’ve gotta spend your time doing something.

Since a bout of laughter is scientifically proven to decrease stress—which waiting around can cause—we’re all for a rip-roaring, rib-crabbing roll in the aisles. Snorts, snickers, and smirks are welcome, too.

Ready to get your grin on? We’re dialing up the most GIF-tastic reaction shots to waiting for anything and everything.

When you walk through the door…

Cut to the hostess telling you there’s a wait…

Sigh. OK, ok, how long will that be?

Are you joking?

Are we there yet?

How ‘bout now?

Still a “no,” then. Awesome.

Lookit! That one’s open!

Surely, I’m not invisible.

Come onnnnnn….

When it’s finally your turn.

YES!

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019 .

Make your table management more efficient by viewing the waitlist on the same screen as table assignments. Split screen mode, currently available for iPads, will allow you to handle the waitlist while simultaneously managing table turnover.

Press the circle icon on the top left of the waitlist to go to the table management or assignments view.

Press Open in the footer bar to show the waitlist in the bottom half of the screen.

The waitlist, as well as today’s reservations, will now be visible. Drag the bar up or down to adjust the height of the waitlist to fit your needs.

From this view you can still add parties to the list, notify guests when you are ready for them, and check parties off the list. All of the waitlist view features are available without leaving the table management view.

Waitlist Me makes table management simple and effective. Our unique approach to section and resource management provides an intuitive tool that restaurant staff can pick up in a few minutes and enjoy using.  If you haven’t set up your sections yet, you can see how to do that here.

Check out more ways to get the most out of Waitlist Me by visiting our Knowledge Base.

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019 .

For businesses looking to automate more of the reservation acceptance process, Waitlist Me has new ways to restrict how many reservations you accept by day and by hour. With a Waitlist Me Proo subscription, you can set reservation limits on the number of groups and people that you’d like on an hourly and daily basis. For example, if you don’t want any more than 4 groups to schedule themselves per hour, you can quickly set up that rule.

Simply press the gear icon in the app and head to Add Yourself > Scheduling Rules. Choose a day and you will be able to set the maximum number of people and groups you’ll allow by day and by hour.  There are four different options, but you can pick and choose the ones that work for your goals in managing capacity at your business. You can avoid having too many people schedule at the same time without all the work of tracking the usage of every single table at your restaurant or resource at your business. You can use the Copy Rules button at the bottom to apply these rules to every day, or set up each day separately.

That’s it! Your rules will apply to self scheduling done through the Web Widget and Kiosk, where customers will see a message when there isn’t availability for a particular time or day.  They wouldn’t be able to book that time, but could still check other times.

The rules will also trigger warnings within the Waitlist Me app if you try to schedule above the limit to make it easier to know when you might be overbooked.  Though it won’t block you from scheduling above the limits for cases where you know you can handle the booking.