Friday, April 26th, 2013 .

From picking cocoa beans as a young boy on the Ivory Coast to being handpicked to work for Wolfgang Puck at Spago, Francois Kwaku-Dongo’s journey to becoming a world-class chef has nothing if not an air of earthy sophistication.

That blend is reflected in his food at eleven14 Kitchen at The JHouse in Greenwich, CT—where he balances direct-from-farm produce and locally raised meats (think grilled chicken with chopped market-vegetable salad) with exquisite presentation and taste (think chocolate in gold leaf with almond dacquoise and nougatine)—and in the way he runs the restaurant.

“The 51%,” says Kwaku-Dongo. “That’s what we look for. The unspoken qualities in a person that make them undeniably good at what they do. The other 49% is skill, knowledge, experience, which can be taught, learned, or trained. We look for staff members that are gregarious, inquisitive, and joyful; the ones who are excited by the interaction of food, drink, and people.”

An innate drive, enthusiasm, and delight in their work is matched with a highly developed system for efficiency and superior customer service to surround the top notch chef with a top notch crew. Most importantly, this translates into a phenomenal experience for customers to drive them in the door.

“Since seating in our highly in-demand patio space is on a first-come first-serve basis, our living room lounge often fills up quickly with guests vying for a table,” says Kwaku-Dongo. “We have even had parties offer money to other parties in exchange for a better wait time for the patio.”

It’s great to have demand, but it’s not going to help the chef wow them if people are tired of waiting, either for their food or their tables. So when asked about how his restaurant manages high-demand and high-volume seating, he points to NoshList.

“The Nosh app is used by a number of our staff, and as a result we heard the early mumblings of the [at the time] forthcoming WaitList,” he says. “It certainly beats staring at that annoying flashing beeping racket, imploring it to release you from waitlist purgatory; or wondering if the host perhaps wrote your name on the wrong piece of paper (and the promo video gets a laugh or two as well.)”

Kwaku-Dongo’s blend of sophistication and simplicity has a bit in common with NoshList. He believes less complicate equals less problems. If you can deliver that from the moment the customer walk into the door, then you are on your way to stellar reviews and growth. More importantly, you have one less headache to worry about.

So while you’re waiting to try Chef Kwaku-Dongo’s sea-salt-crusted baked striped bass with baby artichoke, spaghetti zucchini, heirloom tomato, and chanterelles, NoshList will let you know when it’s your turn and let Kwaku-Dongo’s staff know exactly who is where and how long they’ve waited. It’s a simple sign of 21st-century management balanced with the simple sign by the wood oven that reads, “Today’s wood is apple.”

noshlist

Monday, March 26th, 2018 .

The countdown is officially on. For Lent observers, 40 long days of fasting are almost over. But for you and your restaurant, Sunday marks the beginning of a brand-new holiday season.

Push away those last-minute worries, boss, because everything really is gonna be all right. Waitlist Me is the app you need to ensure your holiday brunch, lunch, and dinner services run smoother than a hand-dyed egg rolling down a grassy hill.

Go ahead and put on your Easter best. We’ve got your holiday rush completely under control. Here’s how we’re helping you improve your customer service today:

Nixing MIA reservations

The worst problem customers face on big holidays like Easter Sunday is lost reservations. When your restaurant relies on overstuffed date books and grease boards, though, hostesses get used to saying, “What was the name again? I’m not seeing it in the book.”

Your guests deserve better, and Waitlist Me Premium helps you stay organized and manage your reservations in one location that you can access from multiple iPads or Android tablets.  You can even login from your home computer or your smart phone to keep tabs on your reservations.

Setting guests free

Kids stuffed into khakis and sun dresses as the sun rises on Easter morning aren’t the best at standing quietly in a restaurant lobby. And with spring in full bloom and sun in the forecast, adults don’t want to be cooped up, either.

That’s why Waitlist Me let’s ‘em run wild. The text notification feature does away with diners’ worries about losing their place in line. Now, they can wander. Whether they choose to window shop, walk down the block, or hang out in the car, one quick text lets them know when their table is ready.

Decluttering hostess stands

Remember those high school presentations where you stood at the front of the class and fumbled through your speaking points? Yep, that’s what it feels like to be a host who is drowning in sticky notes and chicken scratch while a hungry crowd looks on.

Luckily, those days are behind us. Waitlist Me’s intuitive interface makes adding and seating dining parties a cinch. With just a single glance at the app’s home screen, hosts can see who’s waiting and what reservations are walking through the door, no squinting or second-guessing required.

Offering on-the-go waitlists

For every lucky duck that slips in your door ahead of the rush, there’s the slew of folks behind them grumbling about why they didn’t leave sooner. Now, bad traffic or treks from far-flung parking lots don’t have to impact wait times.

By adding the Waitlist Me widget to your website or social media page, you can allow your guests to add themselves to your waitlist on their own time. It doesn’t matter if they’re just leaving church or hunting down one last Easter egg. In a few quick swipes, they can hop on line from a pew, a parking lot, or a park.

Distracting guests while they wait

There’s something about pulling out a smartphone while waiting with the family on Easter Sunday that’s a little bit awkward. But that doesn’t mean your diners want to stare at the floor until their name is called.

Waitlist Me lets you put your business on display, right in your lobby. It offers a completely customizable public waitlist feature that can show your brand colors, logo, upcoming events, or current holiday specials, while they check their place in line. You can even include graphics and videos. Pull it up on any TV or monitor, and you’re good to go.  Guests can also check it from their phones, through a link in the confirmation notification.

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, May 28th, 2019 .

With Memorial Day Weekend in our rear-view mirror, we are psyched to see what summer has in store. While all of us at Waitlist Me are enthusiastic about not waiting—and making every wait as painless and speedy as possible—we have to admit that we get a kick out of seeing what folks are itching to see and do, no matter how much time they have to spend in line.

What’s cracking us up, making us scratch our heads, and inspiring us to buy tickets this season? Here are the top-five crazy (and crazy-awesome) things people are waiting for this summer:

#1. A bucket of cookies at the Minnesota State Fair

Nearly 2 million people visit the Minnesota State Fair in the Twin Cities every year. The massive fair grounds have everything you could want in a fair, from giant sculptures made out of butter to an ax-throwing contest. They also have Sweet Martha’s famous chocolate chip cookies, available by the bucket-full. Last year, the line for these cookies was 45 minutes long.

#2. A ticket to see Shakespeare

Much ado about nothing? Not so say the theatre fans who wait (and wait and wait) for tickets to see Shakespeare in the Park in New York City. Each year, New York’s Public Theater puts on two shows outside in Central Park, soften starring big-time actors like Morgan Freeman and Anne Hathaway. How long is the wait? Who knows! Some line up the night before the free tickets are distributed.

#3. Exclusive merch at Comic-Con

With so many celebrities making it to San Diego for Comic-Con, you don’t have to be a certified geek to geek out over this event. It’s four days of panels, signing events, screenings, and, of course, all sorts of merchandise you can only get your hands on here. The lines themselves have taken on legendary status. Some of them even have their own Twitter accounts (we’re looking at you, Hall H)!

#4. To watch a little match play at Wimbledon

This summer, we’re certain of exactly one thing: There is no event that takes its lines more seriously than Wimbledon. While the Brits are certainly well-known for their queueing style, only this pinnacle of fastidiousness offers up a 30-page guide to lining up for tickets. Some wait all night (hear ye, hear ye: tents larger than a 2-person are forbidden). Some show up just before dawn, their fingers crossed that they’ll be among the first 500.  

#5. To leave the Nevada desert

If you’re looking for an experience this summer, you can surely find it at Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. In late August, that’s where the Burning Man festival sets up camp. After the titular man is burned—don’t worry, he’s not an actual person—it can take 6 to 8 hours to get out of Black Rock and even longer to get to the nearest city. This annual leaving is so massive that it has its own name: the Exodus.

Is your business ramping up this summer?

Use a waitlist and reservation app like Waitlist Me to manage your queues better and make your customers happier campers, no matter where, when, or why they’re hanging out in line. You can get started for free today and access features including text notifications, smart ETAs, and multi-location management.

Thursday, October 18th, 2018 .

Don’t let Amazon’s billion-dollar bank account make you close up shop. Sure, ecommerce is gaining traction, but that doesn’t mean retail is dead. Far from it!

It’s time for a retail revolution. It’s time for boutiques, mom-and-pop shops, and big-box stores alike to delve deep into the one frontier ecommerce institutions can’t touch: one-one-one customer service. Make it your No.-1 selling point, and you’ll turn walk-ins into loyal customers, and loyal customers into raving fans.

Keep reading for our best tips on how to improve your retail store’s customer service today with a little help from Waitlist Me, a waitlist and appointment app.

Ax the long check-out line (and turn returns into exchanges)

As the holiday season comes into view, we can look forward to swelling lines and swelling tempers. Instead of forcing customers into wait in endless serpentines or a series of parallel lines, try using a waitlist. When customers leave fitting rooms or start heading toward the register, add them to the list. While they wait, let them wander…and maybe add another item or two to their basket.

Set customers free from dressing room lines

What’s worse than a long line? Easy: waiting in one with hangers digging into your forearm. For those shoppers who know they’re going to try on a closet’s worth of clothes, Waitlist Me’s kiosk mode makes it a cinch for them to hop on line for a dressing room as they rifle through your clothing racks. A fitting room attendant can call them over (or text them!) when they make it to the front of the line.

Offer appointments for special shopping trips

Whether they’re hunting for 52-inch HDTVs or formal dresses, there are all sorts of different occasions where shoppers walk into stores looking for assistance. Using a simple appointment system, like the one built in to Waitlist Me, allows these customers to arrive knowing that they’re going to get VIP treatment from a sales associate who can help them find whatever it is they want to open their wallets for.

Transform complaints into kudos

When there’s only one manager on the floor to handle everything from returns to complaints about that one employee who’s having a bad day, everyone feels frustrated. A waitlist is a simple solution to keep guests happy and staffers on their A-game, and thanks to Waitlist Me’s multi-device sync feature, every employee has access to it. It makes for a smooth customer service experience (and far fewer ruffled feathers).

Create a complementary personal shopper service

Personal shopping isn’t just for jet-setters! Any retailer, from luxe boutiques to thrift stores, can bring superior service to every single customer who wants it, simply by giving them the option. Waitlist Me offers a same-day reservations feature. Shoppers can book a time that works for them and leave a note with what they’re looking for, and you can staff up (and set aside a dressing room) accordingly.