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.
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.
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.
We also had a couple Armor Active stands, which work great with NoshList. Here is a blog post on how they looked.
The last thing you want to see is would-be customers walk in your shop, eager to take home a new piece of jewelry, and then they walk right back out because none of your sales associates is free to help them. That could be thousands of dollars in current and future purchases, trotting down the street to a competitor.
But what if you could capture walk-outs before they, well, walk out? With a reservation management app like Waitlist Me, you can. Here’s what a waitlist app would allow you to do:
Treat customers like VIPS—even when you’re slammed
Forget about splitting your attention between the woman eyeing earrings in the case in front of you and the couple that just walked through the door. Greet people when they come in the door to find out what they need, so you add them to the waitlist and let them know you will be with them soon. This let’s new visitors know you care and helps your sales associates feel comfortable giving 100 percent of their attention to the client at hand.
Wow new clients with efficient communication and prompt service
What happens to the couple you can’t help right this second? You can text them the moment an associate is free (or schedule an appointment). When they walk through the door again, you’ll be prepared—maybe with a tray of engagement rings already on the counter—because Waitlist Me lets you add details to every customer, like what they’re currently shopping for.
Don’t let customers slip away during a sales rush
A lot of time and money goes into planning sales events, and they are a sure-fire way to bring in a larger crowd. It can be frustrating, though, to see people leaving because they don’t know when it might be their turn to get some help. For those days, Waitlist Me has an option to use an additional iPad as a self-check in station. It gives customers a simple way to get their spot in line, so they can relax as they browse through the store, or even step outside, without worrying about losing their turn.
Increase repeat customers
An exceptional experience is what transforms a one-time customer into a long-time customer. A waitlist app can help you eliminate the elements clients despise: feeling rushed as they browse, ignored when they come in, or forgotten as soon as they pay for their purchase.
The NoshList wait list app closed out 2013 with more than 22 million diners seated across 5,000 restaurants!
This past year was one of tremendous accomplishment for NoshList. From our integration with Clover to the addition of several new features to our app, our focus in 2013 was to provide the best wait list experience for our restaurant clients and their guests. We have exciting plans for 2014 and will continue to raise the bar on wait list functionality.
New features added in 2013 included a multi-restaurant management tool, the first of its kind for the restaurant industry, and a public wait list that lets restaurants display their current waitlists to guests.
Moving forward in 2014, we see huge opportunity for wait list apps to increase operational efficiencies and extend beyond just restaurants. These functionalities could take the wait list feature to any establishment where people have to put their name on a list. This includes waiting rooms at doctors’ offices and other similar places
Another technology trend restaurant operators will see this year: using one tablet to run several different restaurant applications.
In the long run, operators will stop using multiple devices, such as a POS in the dining room and a tablet wait list by the front door. Instead, everything will be conducted from one general-purpose, POS-based tablet, which will lead to several different apps all accessible from the same place.
It has been a great year, and we are shooting to seat nearly 100 million diners in 2014!
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.
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.
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.
Building on our launch of table section management features a few months ago, we have added some new features to make it even easier to know where to seat the next customer. Labeled mode displays valuable activity metrics, section notes help you track servers covering each section, and additional waitlist integration makes it faster to do more from the table management screen. Here is a video that highlights some of these new features and shows more on how to set up your section and layout management strategies:
In “Labeled” mode, you’ll also see additional details about each section. The “Open” metric shows the number of available tables as well as the total available seats at those tables. The “Filled” metric shows the percentage of seats occupied in a section along with the counts of the occupied and total seats. These key stats help make smarter decisions faster. For instance, when a group comes in that’s too big for one table, you can instantly see which sections have enough empty tables, with enough empty seats, to accommodate them. And you can also see how many of the seats in each section are filled, and ensure that each server gets their fair share of the work, not just their fair share of the tables. These metrics are also visible in the “Size” and “Status” sorts for seeing breakdowns of availability by table size or overall status.
You can add comments to each section—for instance, to identify who’s working where, or to leave a reminder about a special event. Just tap “Add Notes,” fill in your remarks, and then tap “Save.” Instead of having to set up complicated server scheduling or other section tracking processes, the notes feature lets you make updates faster and more naturally. It’s as easy as the common practice of writing server names on a laminated floor plan, but with all the advantages that our app has to offer for seeing real-time data, easily knowing where to seat the next customer, syncing information across devices, and more.
More Waitlist Integration
If you like working within the table management view of the app, it is nice to be able to assign customers from the waitlist, notify them their table is ready, and seat them at the table without having to switch back to the waitlist view. Now you can.
From the action bar, when you tap on add, you can choose someone who’s already on your waiting list, and serve them at that table, right now. If the table is already occupied, this removes the old party from the waitlist, and seats the new one, with one tap.
Or, if you’re not ready to seat them yet, you can just “assign” them to use that table next. If the new customer has stepped away, you can even make the assignment and also send them an SMS text message, asking them to come back. When they’re ready to take their seats, just tap on the table, and then tap “Next.”
You can also add a new customer by tapping a table. Just fill in their name, phone number, and other details. The table has already been selected, so you can go ahead and seat the customer right now, or add them to your waitlist, or even make a reservation, all in one place.
When you aren’t crowded you probably seat customers at tables without taking their name. You can still track that the table is occupied and for how long by using the status button in the action bar. This makes it easy to keep track of your availability without having to create a customer for each table. You may want to start tracking your table availability at a certain time, like before it gets busy, and you can mark all your tables that are currently occupied all at once. Just press and hold on one table to use the multi-select feature, then tap on all the tables that are occupied, and then tap the status button to make them occupied.