Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 .

NoshList was excited to return to this year’s National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show (NRA) in Chicago from May 17-20, marking the company’s third year as an NRA exhibitor. There are a number of trends that are changing the way restaurants manage their businesses better with technology, and NoshList has been at the forefront of these innovations.

booth2

 

Since last year’s event, NoshList has tripled the number of people seated through the NoshList waitlist app. The NoshList wait list app closed out 2013 with more than 22 million diners seated across 4,000 restaurants. In the first quarter of this year, NoshList seated another 10 million diners, as growth continues to accelerate. We also were one of the first apps to integrate with the award-winning Clover POS device.

NoshList got a chance to show off several design improvements and new features in its new iOS 7 and Android apps, and gave a special preview of its new reservations feature for the first time at NRA. Adding reservations to the NoshList app is another way the company is building the simple and intuitive tools that restaurants need to improve their guest experience and operational efficiencies. The reservations feature will be live in the App Store and Play Store within a few weeks.

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We had a great time at the event, spoke to a lot of interesting potential customers and technology partners, and were thrilled to have a chance to be interviewed by Turn & Burn on the NRA Media Stage.

turn and burn

 

 

We also had a couple Armor Active stands, which work great with NoshList. Here is a blog post on how they looked.

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.”

BG Upper Patio night

 

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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Tuesday, August 15th, 2017 .

Waitlist Me makes it easy to let customers add themselves to your waitlist or reservations with our web widget, and we recently added features to our Pro service to control business hours this feature is available or accepts reservations.  Complementing these settings for regular business hours, there is now a feature to set specific blackout dates for holidays or days you might be closed or not taking reservations.

Simply login to the Waitlist Me website and navigate to Account > Settings > Customize Settings (under Add Yourself) > Blackout Dates. Press the green Add button, and choose the date you desire to restrict. The drop down menu lets you select whether you are closed and not taking reservation or waitlist requests or if you just aren’t taking one of these options like you normally would.  For example, on Christmas you might be closed, but on Valentine’s day you might be open but so busy you don’t take reservations that day.

 

Once a blackout date is set, you can see and manage the upcoming blackout dates on this page. If you need to remove a restriction, just hover over the date and press the red X that appears on the right.  Or click on the row to edit it.

 

Once you have blocked off a date, if a client tries to make a reservation they will receive a message letting them know that no reservations will be accepted:

Monday, September 19th, 2016 .

We are excited to announce a new set of calendar views that make managing and scheduling reservations and appointments even easier.  Building on our previous streamlined list views, the new calendar features let you see your availability at a glance so you can plan ahead and deliver great customer service.  View total scheduled customers by month, week, or day and just tap on a specific time to schedule a new customer in a few seconds.

 

Reservations

With the Reservations and Group options in your waitlist settings, you can make reservations for groups of different sizes and see the total number of customers as well as groups in your calendar.  The daily view also makes it easy to schedule reservations for specific tables if your business is a restaurant.  Or in other businesses you might make reservations for room numbers, rental items, tour guide names, and so on.  Here is a video on how it works.

 

Appointments

With the Appointment and Individual options in your waitlist settings, you customize scheduling to not ask for or display group size, since you’d normally be meeting one person at a time.  The daily view lets you schedule appointments for specific team members or people at your business. Depending on your business these might be the name of hair stylists, sales people, technicians, doctors, and so on.  Here is a video on how it works.

 

Here is how the daily calendar view looks:

daily reservations calendar app

 

Monthly calendar view:

monthly reservations calendar app

 

Weekly calendar view:

weekly reservations calendar app

Thursday, March 16th, 2017 .


Using a paper floor plan has been common in the restaurant industry for a long time, and many software applications have incorporated spatial floor plan concepts into their designs.  Floor plans are deceptively complex to use, however, and can cost you time and money in ways you may not expect.  Waitlist Me CEO, Brian Hutchins, was recently featured in an article published on RMagazine, and goes into detail about 5 main reasons that floor plans are more complicated than they seem.

 

1) Key information is scattered in different directions

2) Comparing apples and oranges is difficult

3) Tables are static, but demand is not

4) Bad decisions lead to unhappy customers and frustrated employees

5) Measuring and improving results is difficult

 

Read  the article on RMagazine for all the details or watch the Waitlist Me video on table section management.