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?

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.