We have been working on a number of new features for NoshList, and one thing we have just released is a whole new look for the WaitList website. It is cleaner, faster and more mobile-friendly, so the pages will adjust to your tablet or phone as well as a computer browser.
Have a Kindle Fire at home? Now you can run your waitlist and schedule reservations for your business on your Kindle. Just go to the Kindle app store and search for Waitlist Me to get started.
Waitlist Me has been on the Android platform for a while, but historically the Kindle has been more of a consumer rather than a business device. Recently though, we have seen businesses start to use Kindles more in work environments, and decided to make our app available in the Kindle store. Amazon has added a number of security and IT-friendly features to Kindles including Mobile Device Management Compatibility, Device Encryption, VPN, Single Sign-On, and more, making them more enterprise-ready for businesses.
Running Waitlist Me on a Kindle Fire, with its more portable form factor, can be a nice option extra device for managers that might be walking around the restaurant. By logging into the same account, it will automatically sync with other devices the business may be using. The 6 inch Kindle Fire is also very cost effective at only $99 dollars.
As people flock to tourist destinations throughout the Northeast for their summer vacations, local restaurants are using Waitlist Me to handle the surge in demand. According to the National Restaurant Association, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are expected to hire a combined total of 100,000 new employees this summer to address the rush of seasonal customers, and restaurants are turning to technology to help manage it.
Many are using this new text-based app to increase customer satisfaction and improve business results. By using the Waitlist Me app, available on Android and iOS tablets, restaurants can track waiting guests and send them text notifications when their table is ready. This gives customers the freedom to explore the surrounding area while waiting for a table, which leads to fewer walkaways and greater customer satisfaction.
A little ways up the coast from Boston, the Portland Lobster Company is known for its award-winning Lobster Roll that customers can enjoy while sitting outside by the water. Open from May to October, they get about 70% of their traffic from tourists, and run waits of 30-35 minutes per night.
“We use Waitlist Me on a 10-inch Android tablet at the front for the hostess to add people to the list and estimate wait times, and the person bussing the tables has a 7-inch tablet to notify people that their table is available,” said Ethan Morgan, general manager at Portland Lobster Company. “This saves us a few minutes on each table, which adds up to shorter wait times and happier customers.”
With its open-air gazebo and large deck overlooking the Genesee River in Rochester, New York, Schooner’s Riverside Pub is another seasonal restaurant that has a perfect location for summer dining. “We are slammed during the summer when people are enjoying the nice weather on our dock,” said manager Jake Clawson. “Waitlist Me has been super easy for us to use, our customers really like it, and it saves us a lot of time from having to walk around and track people down,” added hostess Liz.
“With nearly 70 million customers served, we continue to see strong growth among restaurants and other businesses, because Waitlist Me is easy to learn and use without any complicated contracts or training processes. It just works,” said Brian Hutchins, head of product and marketing for Waitlist Me. “We are always excited to see the way businesses are using our service to give their customers a better experience and Waitlist Me at summer hot spots is another great example of using tech to make customers happier.”
At Firespotter Labs, we have been busy working on new ways to make people’s lives better, and are proud to announce our latest creation: NoshList!
NoshList is a free waitlist app for restaurants that uses text messages to notify diners when their tables are ready. Here is how it works:
NoshList allows restaurants to easily manage parties – adding, seating and removing them as necessary – just by pushing a button. To add walk-up customers, NoshList users simply enter in a name, phone number and tap a button for the party size. There are even different icons for gender and age groups (i.e., blue for boys, pink for girls, and an icon that looks sort of like Darth Vader for “unknown”). At the bottom of the screen, NoshList shows the current wait times by party size for at-a-glance information, as well as the number of total guests waiting and the total seated.
Building on the set of resource management features we rolled out a couple months ago, we have added more flexibility for creating and tracking custom resource statuses. These statuses can be used to visually highlight different stages of your occupied resources in different colors to help make assignment decisions faster and easier.
Here is a new video on resource management, including the new custom statuses:
For example, say you are managing restaurant tables and using Waitlist Me to view what tables are available or occupied. You can sort tables by the times they have been occupied for a better sense of which ones will become available first. Now with custom statuses you could improve on those estimates even more by changing the states of tables that are waiting for their bill or being cleaned. Marking tables with customers waiting for their checks as “billing” can give your bus boys a heads up on which tables would need cleaning soon. Similarly, you can change the status of tables to “cleaning” when they are being cleared and prepped. Using more detailed statuses can help your staff at the front of the house know what tables will be available soon, which means they can quote better wait time estimates and seat customers faster. This means more revenue for the restaurant through more table turns and improved customer satisfaction.
This is just one example of how it might work in a restaurant, but the flexibility of the naming and usage of statuses means they can be tailored to different processes in different businesses.
To change a status in Waitlist Me, all you have to do is press on the resource and an action bar will appear at the bottom of the screen. This area shows information on customers currently occupying and waiting for the resource, and has actions for moving and clearing customers. Pressing on the status on the left will bring up a list of statuses, and selecting one will change the status and color of the resource. In the list view, just tap on the status color to change it.
Note that when you choose a custom status you can see both the total time a resource has been occupied as well as the time spent in the current status, which is shown in parenthesis. This makes it easy to see total visit times and times in specific statuses at a glance, so you can tell if a certain stage is causing more delays than others and how that might be affecting total wait times.
Accompanying the custom statuses are a couple of new sorting options in the Grid view, where you can view your resources grouped by Status. Select “Status the ABC” to have all the statuses grouped together and then ordered alphabetically by the resource name or “Status then Time” to have them ordered by the length of time they have been in that particular status.
To customize your statuses, go to your Settings and then press on “Manage Resources” and then again on the “Statuses” in the upper right. In addition to the default “available” (green) and “occupied” (red) statuses, you can add four of your own statuses. Just add the names and move the sliders on the right to turn them on or off. Statuses will show alphabetically in the options when you select them, so you can set the naming accordingly. The green and red statuses for available and occupied resources are always required, and custom statuses are treated as states of an occupied resource.