Wednesday, November 20th, 2019 .

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

Friday, November 8th, 2019 .

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.  

Wednesday, October 30th, 2019 .

The demise of fast fashion darling Forever 21 might have you reaching for a Xanax, but should it? Not necessarily. After all, while one empire has fallen, some fast fashion brands are thriving.

Look at Target! Their private label pivot in 2018 has been hugely successful. Look at Old Navy! The Gap, Inc. brainchild plans to open 800 stores in the next decade. Look at Gymboree! The beloved clothing brand for babies and toddlers is making a comeback as a pop-up shop concept within The Children’s Place retail outlets.

See? There’s no need to panic. From new merchandising tactics to rebooted branding and marketing initiatives, there are all sorts of ways to keep a fast fashion business profitable. One of our favorite ways to keep your retail venture in the green is to improve your customer experience.

Not sure how to wow your customers? Keep reading for our favorite strategies.

Make customers feel welcome

One prominent reason many consumers turn to online shopping: pushy sales tactics that make them feel uncomfortable. While you should always greet walk-ins with a smile and a cheery “hello,” it’s time to reconsider retail standards that feel like the opening of a sales pitch. Instead of, “Can I help you with anything in particular?” try deploying friendly small talk. A comment about the rainy weather or a compliment on the cute sweater they’re wearing will make the customer’s experience feel more conversational than transactional.

And speaking of conversation, there’s no reason for your employees to avoid it. We’ve all been the only customer in an otherwise-empty shop, shrinking under the microscopic gaze of associates. Awkward! While private conversations should be kept off the sales floor, bantering about TV shows, sports teams, and other harmless topics can make customers feel at ease in your store. Remind them, though, that their body language is important: They need to look approachable 24/7 and they should always be paying attention to customers, ready to offer help on finding a size or snagging a dressing room.

Eliminate long lines

Online fast fashion retailers like Amazon and ASOS struggle with shopping cart abandonment. Brick-and-mortar retailers should be concerned about a similar situation: long waits for fitting rooms and cash registers. 

Lines have the tendency to intimidate rather than to encourage. Many shoppers will load up their arms with potential purchases, then turn to the line for the changing room and wonder if all these goodies are worth the interminable wait. One solution is to use a waitlist and appointment management app like Waitlist Me, which makes long lines disappear by taking them digital. Retail staffers can hold on to the merchandise customers are interested in and let them continue browsing while they wait. A quick text lets shoppers know when they reach the front of the line.

Improve staff productivity

Top-notch customer service starts with staffing. If your sales associates are overrun by to-dos or traffic, they’ll be too frazzled to show the level of service that results in sales and customer retention. Adding an app like Waitlist Me to your toolbox can help retail store managers make smarter real-time decisions based on how busy the store is.

Waitlist Me allows managers to easily view things like how many customers are waiting for help or a fitting room, and how long fitting rooms have been occupied. Keeping tabs on traffic patterns means that they know where bottlenecks are emerging so they can direct employees accordingly before customer experiences start to suffer.

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!).