Friday, May 17th, 2013 .

We are getting ready to head to NRA, and are happy to have reached 11 million diners seated through the NoshList waitlist app.

We have also added three key features to improve restaurant efficiency, which include customizable text message notifications, multi-restaurant management, and a customer-facing waitlist display. These are now available on iPad, iPhone, and Android devices.

The customizable text message notification feature gives restaurants the ability to modify their text messages for waitlist notifications and allows managers to better engage customers by adding a link to their website or menu, or to inform their diners about specials and promotions.

With the multi-restaurant management feature, new admin accounts allow owners or companies with multiple restaurants to login and see how each restaurant is doing from one account. We work with a number of large chain restaurants and wanted to give them more powerful tools to manage all of their stores’ waitlists. These new multi-restaurant administrative features are an introduction to all the advanced analytics and other tools we can provide to restaurant operations managers and owners of multiple restaurants.

The third new feature released this week lets any restaurant using NoshList display a public view of the waitlist that customers can check from their phones to see where they are in the list. The mobile version uses a custom link in the notification message to highlight each individual customer’s position in the list on his or her mobile phone.

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NoshList will also be attending the National Restaurant Association show in Chicago this weekend, May 18-21, and will be located in the Technology section in the North Hall, Level 3 in Booth # 5867.

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 .

NoshList was proud to be a sponsor of the 18th Annual Restaurant Industry Conference put on by UCLA Extension in collaboration with world-leaders in brand development, food services, design innovation, operations excellence, market analysis and customer satisfaction.

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Having recently launched our new waitlist app for iOS 7, the conference was a great place to show how NoshList continues to innovate in helping restaurants improve their guest experience and operational efficiencies. We also plan to be at the big National Restaurant Association conference on May 17-20 in Chicago.

The UCLA event was a great place to network and learn, as it brought together a number of honored speakers and panelists to discuss current industry issues and trends. Conference topics included brand development, food service, design innovation, operations excellence, market analysis and customer satisfaction. The leaders of Yelp were there along with emerging restaurant concepts panel speakers. BrightLocal said that 95% of consumers are turning to the internet to find local businesses.

One of our favorites was the presentation by Chef Thomas Keller (The French Laundry), Innovation Award Winner. He has won multiple awards, including “America’s Best Chef,” though the interviewer (Pres of the Culinary Institute of America) also called him the most important chef in American history. He was interviewed by Dr. Tim Ryan, President of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). Dr. Ryan won the award last year and came back to interview Thomas Keller this year, partly because they are very good friends, which gave the interview a different perspective. Keller had a very interesting story and presented a lovely lunch.

It was also fun when the UCLA singers came in at the beginning and sang the itinerary for the day to the group.

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 .

BL Sign

Little Star Pizza took San Francisco by storm in 2004 by quickly becoming one of the best pizzerias in the city. Known for its Chicago-style deep-dish pizza with cornmeal crust, Little Star quickly garnered five-star customer reviews and a loyal following among local residents. There are now three Little Star Pizza restaurants in operation throughout the urban San Francisco region and another four Blue Line Pizza locations, owned by the same company, in the surrounding suburbs.

 

The two restaurant concepts do not take reservations, which means Little Star diners wait anywhere from 90- 120 minutes for a table on weekends, said founder Angela Pace.And wait times at sister chain Blue Line Pizza run anywhere from 60-to-90 minutes.

“Not taking reservations was a conscious decision because, for us, the community does so much for us that we don’t want anyone to not get served because we’re booked with reservations,” Pace said. “We want to make sure our dining room is always there for our neighbors and neighborhoods.”

In order to make customer wait times easier to manage, the company enlisted the help of WaitList, the country’s fastest growing wait list app available for iPad, iPhone and Android devices. The app was launched in 2012 and has seated to date nearly 40 million diners.

“The use of technology is unique to a place like Blue Line because we really want to focus on the guest,” Pace said. “We’ve always been very open to technology and willing to embrace it as an organization.”

Pace said the company chose NoshList from a variety of options because of its ease of use for customers and staff.

“We tried so many different things that all had their own little merits. Ultimately, we had to find a solution that we knew would work for us. Not just me personally but for our entire staff,” Pace said. “It boiled down to NoshList being so easy to use and straightforward, and the user interface is very simple and direct.”

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One concern with the app was if customers would be hesitant to give out their cell phone numbers in order to interact with the app; however, adoption has been widely accepted.

“We even created an explanation of how the system works for our hostess to use on hesitant customers, but our hostess doesn’t even get to it. We’ve had no pushback,” Pace said.

The company’s philosophy toward the use of technology has been to use it as a tool to improve the guest experience. By replacing pad and paper or buzzer seating systems, waitlist apps are changing one of the most arguably antiquated seating systems in the industry.

The NoshList wait list app also does what other systems cannot: such as automatically calculate average wait times for guests. This takes the guesswork out of estimating seating times for restaurant patrons. It also frees up restaurant staff to focus on other areas of the customer experience.

“Much of today’s wait list application technology can support two-way communication between restaurant staff and guests. This two-way communication system is great because it gives guests the freedom to decide whether they want to sit and wait at the restaurant or walk around the area knowing they won’t be forgotten when their table is ready,” said Craig Walker, founder of NoshList. “Obviously we think our NoshList app provides the best wait list app functionality available today.”

In addition to the core seating and management features, NoshList enables restaurant staff to customize the notifications and public view of the waitlist that users can check from their phone or from anywhere. Customers can even add themselves to a wait list from wherever they may be if a restaurant turns on this feature. The company also recently unveiled a reservations feature which opens the door for continued innovation in waitlist technology.

“Now, restaurant operators don’t have to rely on web sites or single-use apps to handle reservations and manage a wait list. In this way, technology such as ours will continue to integrate into it as much functionality an operator needs to run their businesses better on the back end while improving the guest experience on the front,” Walker said.

Functionality was another key driver behind Blue Line’s decision to implement and use NoshList.

“We found that a lot of other technology had a lot of bells and whistles that ultimately did not get used,” Pace said. “NoshList has bells and whistles as well, but it truly is functional. We feel that NoshList in particular has made it so much easier to manage and track our wait list and now people can walk down the street and know they’re going to get paged when their table is ready. From the customer standpoint, it has really come down to peace of mind.”

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Friday, February 28th, 2014 .

We are always looking for ways to make people’s wait experience better, and we have added a new way for restaurants to engage and communicate with guests in a non-obtrusive way while they are waiting.

There is now a new NoshList Premium feature for restaurants and other places using NoshList to customize their public waitlist page on WaitList with any information they’d like their customers to see. Some ideas include daily specials, reward program information, a social media feed or video, a link to leave a review on Yelp, among others.

Here is an example of how a rewards program could be highlighted below the waitlist on the page visitors can check from their phones:

NoshList public page copy

The way NoshList normally works is when a visitor has left their phone number and is added to the waitlist on NoshList, they automatically receive a text message confirming they have been added to the list and giving them a link to the public waitlist so they can check their place in line. The new feature allows guests to see more information below this waitlist, giving restaurants a great way to improve the guest experience even more and give helpful information to guests while they are waiting, right on their phone. The public waitlist can also be displayed on an internet browser in the restaurant or can also be viewed by customers from home. This public waitlist page is free for all NoshList accounts, and NoshList Premium users get access to this new customization feature as well as the option to let customers add themselves to the waitlist from their phone.

To add information to the public waitlist page, login to NoshList on the web and go to the Settings in the Account area. There is a “Customize Page” link that goes to a page where you can add text or HTML and preview how it will look on the page. Adding HTML gives you the flexibility to style the area with any fonts, colors, links, and images that you’d like to appear on the page. Otherwise you can just add text for some simple messages. There are also various online HTML editors as well as HTML views in most popular online blog services (like Tumblr, Blogspot, WordPress, etc.) that can help with formatting text into HTML

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Want to customize the page even more or include the NoshList waitlist on your site? Let us know at support@noshlist.com and we can help you with this as well.

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 .

Want a better idea of how well you are serving your customers? There is a new Waitlist Me feature that will allow you to send quick surveys to your customers after their visit. Customers can rate easily rate their overall experience in a few seconds or have the option to send more detailed feedback or even request a manager contact them. It is a great way to get insights into what your customers are thinking and to respond quickly when there are questions or problems.

To enable the survey feature, log into www.waitlist.me and go into the Settings, which are in the Account area. Click on the link in the Customer Feedback Surveys section to go to the page. When you turn on the surveys so they go out to your customers after they have been checked off the list, you will see a variety of options for customizing the surveys.

In the Survey notification area, you can edit the text that is sent to the customer and how long after they are checked off the list that it is sent. The surveys are designed to be as simple as possible for customers to send a quick rating, so they can just reply with a number from 1 to 5 in a text message and we will record that response automatically. There is also a link where they can follow if they prefer to visit a webpage on their phone to leave their rating.

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If the customer does choose to visit the web page and leave an overall rating, they will also be presented with the option to rate a couple more specific questions, and you can change these questions to whatever you like in the settings.

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Here is an example of how it looks for the customer. First they would receive a text message like this:

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If they choose to click on the link, they will go to a page like this:

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If they fill out the first question, they will be given an option to rate more specific questions. They can also request to be contacted by the manager, and if they do an email will be sent to any users you have associated with your account.

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The details for any surveys completed will be included in the weekly summaries that are sent out, and you can also download the data on the responses in the Analytics section of the Waitlist Me site.

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The Feedback Surveys are currently available to all Waitlist Me Premium users.