‘Tis the season for fresh powder and freezing temperatures. This winter, ski towns across America are riding high on the sort of snowfall that would make Frosty proud. As the inches accumulate—and ski bunnies flock in droves—the small businesses that keep these high-altitude towns running are awash in customers.
How are they turning out consistently excellent customer service? They’re downloading Waitlist Me, the intuitive waitlist and reservation app designed for restaurants, retailers, and all sorts of businesses in-between. The service makes interacting with your customers a cinch from the first day the slopes open to the very last snowfall.
Not sure how your business can use Waitlist Me to improve customer service and make overall operations more efficient? Take a peek at how these winter businesses are leveraging the app to win over customers and boost their bottom line.
Food and beverage businesses
From fine dining to dive bars, American ski towns are awash with excellent eateries. Here’s how businesses are using Waitlist Me to score customer service points:
– Wrangling the queue for a popular downtown bar
– Managing the constant waitlist at a teensy locavore dining hot spot
– Arranging behind-the-scenes tours and tastings at a brewery
– Letting guests sip wine while they wait for a table
– Squeezing in a pre-run breakfast
Resorts and hospitality-focused establishments
No matter how visitors are spending their days, they all have one thing in common: They require some serious rest-and-relaxation. Here’s how an assortment of hospitality businesses use the app to help their guests chill out:
– Booking private, slope-view hot tubs at a resort spa
– Scheduling a moment of zen with yoga classes
– Offering walk-in appointments for chair massages
– Reserving luxe recovery amenities
Retailers and recreational outfits
Niche small businesses are what turn tiny towns into delightful vacation spots. Waitlist Me enables business owners to deliver spectacular service to their customers and clientele. Here’s how they’re using it:
– Prep for incoming customers at a bike rental shop
– Arranging private tours for parties large and small at a historical site
– Booking beginner spots in ski school
– Saddling up for sleigh rides
– Scoring space on a slopes-bound shuttle
– Fitting skis and gear on newbies at a shop
Want to see how your business can benefit as well? Contact us for a free trial and see how Waitlist Me can change business-as-usual for you today!
If you’re just getting started with Waitlist Me Pro or Platinum, you’ll want to go through these steps to set up your tables, sections, and layouts.
Set up tables – In the settings, navigate to Assignments. (In the app this will be under the gear icon > Manage Assignments.) Enter in the names of all of your tables, as well as their sizes. Each account defaults with assignments 1 – 30; delete any you do not need.
Name sections – When you’re done with the Assignments, go back to the previous screen and then choose Sections. Add the names of every section you will be using in any layout.
Name layouts – Enter the name of all the layouts you have. For example, Weekday Dinner & Weekend Dinner, or 4 Servers, 5 Servers & 6 Servers. If your sections never change, simply create one layout and name it something like Main or Dinner.
Set up layouts – For each layout you’ve named, press Edit to set it up. Put a check in the box for each table that belongs to your first section. Then press the +Section in the middle of the row, and assign that section. If you want to use the color coding for your sections, choose the color at this time too. Continue this process until you’ve assigned all of the tables to the sections that belong in that layout. (You don’t have to use every table in every layout.) Then go back and repeat the process for other layouts.
Once finished, Pro users can see more on how to utilize the grid view for table management here.
Place tables in rooms – With a Platinum subscription you’ll be able to create a spatial floor plan. To do this, go back to the main waitlist screen and then press the circle with the line in it on the upper left. From here, follow along with this video tutorial to set up your room(s) and place your tables:
With the floorplan features in Waitlist Me, it’s easy to visualize your tables and manage your sections and staff.
In Floorplan view, you’ll see all of your tables, arranged however you like. Green tables are open; red tables are occupied. You can also see how long a table has been occupied, or if it’s been reserved for a particular time. And you can tap on a table to open the action bar, where you can see details about the party, update their table’s status, clear the table when they’re done, and more.
You can also see your sections, marked with colors, dividing lines, or both. You can create custom layouts, and change these sections on the fly. Perhaps three sections is enough for a quiet lunch, but you need more for a busy evening. You can see which employee is working each section, and how many groups, and how many people, they’ve served today. You can zoom in for a closer look, and scroll across your floorplan. You can even see floorplans for other parts of your restaurant—for instance, for your patio or an upstairs meeting room. It’s all up to you.
To start building your own floorplans, just tap on the round icon to access the table management section.
Notice: Here in Grid view, you can see that I’ve already set up some basic tables. Each one has a name (in this case, the table number), and a size: the number of people it can seat. And I’ve divided those tables into sections. If you need any help with tables and sections, please see our video on “Managing Tables.”
Now, tap the button on the right, and switch to Floorplan view.
The first time you visit this page, you’ll be prompted to add a room—for instance, your main dining room. Just give your room a name, choose a portrait or landscape orientation for your floorplan, and then tap “Add.” You can add additional rooms if you like. Then, tap “Back,” to save. You can tap on the name of your room at any time, to see a different room, or to add additional rooms.
Now, tap “Edit,” to start building your floorplan. If you have not yet created your tables, just tap on the gear icon to access the table management settings, where you can manage your tables, sections, layouts, and more. Or, if you’re ready to proceed, just make sure you’ve selected the room you want to design. And then, tap “Add.”
You can choose an existing table from the list—or, add a new table at the top. (Simply give your new table a name, specify how many people it can seat, and tap Save.)
You’ll be prompted to choose the physical size, and the shape, for this table.
Now, just tap where you want your table to go. The table appears on your floorplan, along with a set of tools. You can tap and drag, to adjust your table’s position. Drag the arrows to stretch the table in a single direction. Use the double arrow to stretch your table in both directions at once. Tap the round arrows to rotate your table, by 45 degrees at a time. Tap the copy icon, and then choose an existing table or set up a new one, to make it exactly the same size and shape on your floorplan. Or, tap the dots, to edit the table’s name and size, or to delete it entirely. When you’re ready, tap anywhere else on the screen to hide these tools.
You can add as many tables as you need.
If you like, you can also use your floorplan to work with any sections and layouts you’ve defined for your restaurant. (For help setting up sections and layouts, please see our video on “Managing Tables.”)
Choose a room, and a layout. And then, tap “Add,” and choose “Element.”
You can add a dividing line—just tap to give your line a starting point, and an ending point. You can drag either of these points to adjust the angle of your line, or move the whole line to a new position. And again, tap anywhere else when you’re done.
Or, you can tap “Add,” choose “Element,” and then pick “Label.” Just choose which section this label is for. And tap on the screen to choose its position.
When your floorplan is complete, tap “Exit.” Then, tap “Yes” to save your changes.
Once you leave Edit mode, your section labels are automatically updated to show helpful details—by default, the name of the server in each section, and how many groups and individual customers they’ve served today.
Of course, you can come back to Edit Mode at any time, and update your floorplan. Or, you can modify your floorplan for another layout—for instance, to set up this same room for a different shift. Your tables remain where they are, but your lines and labels disappear, so you can set up a different set of sections for that shift. Then, you’ll be able to change your sections on the fly, as you move through your day.
Remember, you can tap the gear icon to access the settings pages for your tables, sections, and layouts.
For more options, tap “Display,” and then choose “Floorplan.” For instance, you can change the size of the text in your section labels, and decide what information those labels should include. By default, the label shows any notes for the section (for instance, the name of the server), and the total number of parties, and individual customers, who’ve been seated in that section today. But if you like, you can show the current number of open tables (and/or occupied tables) in each section, instead.
In the same way, you can decide what information should appear directly on your tables. By default, you’ll see how long each table has been occupied. But you can hide this information—or show the name of the section, instead. And if you’ve assigned colors to your tables, you can use these colors to highlight the table name (in this case, the table number), or highlight the name of the section, or not.
You can also come back to Grid view, tap “Time” at the top, and decide how to calculate the totals that will appear in the section labels on your floorplan. Would you like to see how many parties, and how many individual customers, you’ve served in each section all day, or just during the current shift? Or, would you like to see your totals for the past so many hours—from the past 1 hour, to the past 24?
Now, you’re ready to start using your floorplans. At the beginning of each shift, simply choose the appropriate layout, to instantly update your sections. Then, tap on any section label, for a list of all of your sections, and your notes on each one—in this case, the name of the server assigned there. Tap “Clear All,” fill in the servers for the new shift, and then save your changes, and you’re ready to get to work.
And remember, you can tap “Open” at the bottom, to enter split-screen mode, where you can see your floorplan, and your waitlist, at once. You can drag the handle to show more or less of the waitlist—or tap “Close” to hide it entirely and only see your floorplan.
You’ve been the curious customer discovering a new spot, so you know just how promising it feels to walk in a restaurant and see happy people eating mouth-watering food. You’ve also been the hungry diner who’s waited an hour before discovering that the hostess somehow missed your name on the list roughly 10 tables ago. Cue the toe-tapping, eyeball-rolling, and finger-pointing.
As a consumer, you want to see your favorite restaurants doing good, steady business. After all, you want your neighborhood picks to stick around! However, you don’t want to experience the downsides of busyness: interminable waits, lost reservations, and poor customer service.
That’s why we built Waitlist Me. Here at Waitlist Me, we’re creating customer service technology that helps you manage your guests more efficiently and effectively. Five-star review, here you come!
What is Waitlist Me?
Waitlist Me puts your customers right where they should be: at the front of your mind. It’s an app that’s designed to make it easy for your front-of-house staff to keep track of both your waitlist and your reservations. We keep it all in one at-a-glance place so that you’ll never lose another name again. Phew!
How does Waitlist Me work?
The days of grease pens and messy paper appointment books are over. Waitlist Me is the forward-thinking tech your service-oriented business needs. And you know what? It’s an absolute cinch to use. We designed Waitlist Me to be intuitive for everyone to use, no matter how comfortable you are with smart devices. You can set it up for your business during an afternoon lull and train your staff to use it in minutes.
After that, you’re good to go! With a few taps, Waitlist Me lets you add walk-ins to your waitlist. With just one look, you can see how long they’ve been waiting and when their table should be ready. And once they hit the front of the line, you can forget about hollering out a last name. Instead, one more touch on the Waitlist Me app will let you send them a text notification right to their phone. No matter where they are—the parking lot, a nearby store, or hanging out in your lobby—they’ll know exactly when it’s their turn to take a seat.
It doesn’t get any easier than that.
And Waitlist Me isn’t just for restaurants, either
Sure, Waitlist Me is an obvious must-use for restaurants, but scores of other businesses are using our app every day to make their businesses run better—and keep their customers walking through the door.
Who’s using Waitlist Me?
Big box retailers that rely on sales associates to sell big-ticket items, like televisions, computers, and smartphones
Jewelry stores helping individuals pick out special gifts for anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays
Recreation centers, like bowling alleys, ice rinks, and arcades
Gyms and fitness centers that see high traffic volume on certain pieces of equipment
Doctor’s offices and veterinary clinics with urgent care
Hair and nail salons that offer a variety of walk-in services
Retail chains, specialty boutiques, and consignment shops to allow for more one-on-one time between employees and customers
If you’ve been out to eat lately at any number of casual dining options, you’ve likely witnessed the growing popularity of pay-at-the-table services now available at restaurants large and small. It doesn’t take long to realize the significant upsides they offer. No more waving down waiters to get your check? No more tapping your toes while you wait for your receipt? This technology is a customer service game-changer.
What does this sort of service look like? Pay-at-the-table point-of-sale tech comes in a few different flavors. Keep reading to find out what they are and how they benefit different types of restaurants.
Tablets maximize ordering convenience
Early adopters, like Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill, introduced a tablet-style device that stays at the table. Diners can often use these devices not only to close out their tab at the end of their meal, but also to order food and beverages throughout their stay at a restaurant.
Many of these devices are also able to educate customers about membership or loyalty programs, daily specials, or featured menu options. And because they’re digital, they can offer glossy, mouth-watering photography that entices diners to order more items, like appetizers or desserts, or guide them towards items that offer a better margin for your bottom line.
This style of device has also filled a gap in settings like fast casual restaurants and eat-in bars where diners are offered full menus without traditional table service. Now, customers can order at their convenience without needing to wait in line or catch the eye of a busy bartender. In addition, it can help open-all-day restaurants provide prompt service with limited staff.
Hand-helds improve payment speed
More recently, restaurants have been introducing a new type of pay-at-the-table device. It’s a handheld unit used by servers to capture the entire dining experience, from beginning to end.
Traditionally, waiters memorize or scribble down orders on notebook pages. This heightens the risk of error when they need to transcribe their notes for the kitchen or transferring tables between shifts. Using this sort of pay-at-the-table device, though, servers can now input orders directly into a digital order management system. There’s no forgetting who wanted a margarita without the salt, who requested a sandwich with no pickles, and who needs a side of mayo with their fries. Happy customers 100-percent of the time? That’s the name of the game!
In addition to managing orders, servers are also able to use these pay-at-the-table devices as hand-held registers. Swiping credit or debit cards—by far the most popular method of payment option in dining establishments—adding tips, and printing receipts is literally in the palm of their hand. This is a boon for restaurants with tons of traffic. It increases table turnover and decreases the amount of stress on servers because they can now get more accomplished in a single visit to a table. Less-frazzled wait staff means a better work experience for them, a better dining experience for your customers, and a better bottom-line for restaurant owners and managers.
Another customer convenience game-changer? Waitlist Me
Keeping customers waiting can have a devastating impact on a restaurant. They might order less, tip less, leave a bad review, or walk out your door, never to return. Waitlist Me is an app that keeps customers happy while they wait.
How do we do that, exactly? It’s a breeze. Waitlist Me brings your waitlist from the lobby of your restaurant to an easy-to-manage digital interface. Our app makes it easy to see waiting customers at a glance, provide accurate wait estimates that are tracked in real time, and notify customers with a text or automated call message when their table is ready. It also has a number of other features like reservations, table management, and the ability for customers to add themselves from a kiosk, your website, or even Google.