Friday, July 13th, 2018 .

The last thing all of us at Waitlist Me expected to see on the evening news was Build-A-Bear. But alas, there they were, stuffing and all.

No need to check your calendar, folks. It’s not Black Friday—phew!—and it’s not International BYOB Day (that’s “build your own bear” for the uninitiated). Nope, it was the day Build-A-Bear launched a one-day-only offer that backfired spectacularly…and resulted in lines that wound through shopping mall corridors and wrapped around city blocks. You don’t need to see the video footage to know what happened next: fury, frustration, and injuries.

We know your customers come first, and you don’t want to see anybody angry, aggravated, or harmed on your watch. We’re with you. All of us at Waitlist Me hope that every last Build-A-Bear customer is doing OK.

Situations like this are why crowd control is essential. And that, my friends, is where Waitlist Me comes in.

Waitlist Me is a waitlist and reservation app that any small business can use

That’s right, waitlists aren’t just for restaurants anymore. Our customers include everyone from department stores and big box chains to salons, doctor’s offices, and gyms. If you have guests that need to wait for something, you have a reason to give Waitlist Me a try.

We’re not exaggerating when we tell you that Waitlist Me can save your business’ hide on a busy day—and its reputation. Nothing kills foot traffic like a 1-star Google review, a nasty comment on Yelp, or making the local news for all the wrong reasons.

12 ways Waitlist Me can save your day

Whether you manage a store that’s part of a national chain or you’re a business owner with a brick-and-mortar that’s all your own, our waitlist app can be the hero you never thought you’d need. Maybe you’re running an end-of-the-season sale, or maybe’s it’s just a regular ol’ Wednesday night when your biz takes a turn. Whenever you need us, Waitlist Me is here to help.

Here are 12 ways we’ve already helped small businesses manage long lines and crazy crowds:

–   Manage a rush of sick patients during summer cold season at an urgent care facility

–   Ensure every prom-goer gets a makeover at a beauty bar

–   Keep track of who’s in line for bling next during jewelry store holiday sales

–   Give employees the time they need to train customers on safe firework handling before the 4th of July

–   Text footy fans when their table is ready at a sports bar during the World Cup

–   Shorten changing room lines by letting customers shop while they wait during a blow-out sale

–   Juggle street traffic and phone orders during the lunchtime rush at a downtown deli

–   Manage meeting times during marketplace shows and expos at a convention center

–   Allow eager diners to wander while they wait for a table at a surprise pop-up dinner

–   Keep track of first-come, first-serve customers during a door-buster day at a department store

–   Take same-day reservations at a family photography studio

–   Book tours and activities from a boardwalk over a long weekend

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, 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

Thursday, March 24th, 2016 .

Waitlist Me has a couple options for allowing customers to add themselves to the waitlist and reservations.  It also offers variety of ways to customize the process to the needs of different businesses.

A few months ago we released a web widget that businesses can easily add to their websites.  Many businesses told us how much they liked the new widget.  As part of the feedback we received, we found ways we could make implementing and using the new widget even simpler, and we added an option to use the widget on a hosted page.

The new widget page allows businesses to just link to their unique URL from a website, blog, email, or whatever.  The widget page is easier for less tech savvy businesses, and there is no need to involve a web developer to make sure it is added correctly to the website.

The widget page is also especially well-suited for businesses that allow people to add themselves to the list when they arrive at the business.  All you have to do is put the URL into the browser of any tablet and you have your own check-in station.  By setting the widget option to only show the “Add Yourself” screen, and not the estimated wait you might show on a website, it simplifies the page even further. You can also add custom instructions and images to the bottom of the page for more clarity.

iPad stand1 copy

 

When asking customers to enter themselves, the simpler you make the interface, the less chances there are for mistakes and frustration.  The hosted widget page makes it easy for your customers to add themselves, which makes it easier for you.

Friday, September 28th, 2018 .

Customer experience is one very important thing you can’t afford to skimp on. That five-star review you’re looking for starts as soon as guests walk through your front door.

The good news: Customer experience is the easiest thing for restaurants to fix. Still, scads of otherwise-awesome spots lose stars before diners take their seats!

Read on to find out where they’re going wrong—and one so-easy-we-can’t-believe-not-everyone-is-using-it way to wow guests, garner top-notch reviews, and keep customers coming back for more.

5 signs your waiting area is turning off your diners

Could your waitlist use an upgrade? If your restaurant is facing any of these five dining experience problems, it’s time to revamp the way your customers wait.

It’s cramped. If it’s tough to squeeze in a party of four between your entry way and your hostess stand, you’re setting your guests up for discomfort right off the bat. The longer they stand there—and make way for new arrivals and passing busboys—the less they’ll enjoy their dining experience.

It’s crowded. Packing guests in like sardines sounds great in theory, but it’s really a disaster waiting to happen. When hungry guests walk in and see a crowd ahead of them, they’re liable to walk right back out—and go to the restaurant across the street.

It’s noisy. A little chatter and some mood music? Totally fine. Guests straining to hear their names being called? Absolutely not. No one should have to miss out on conversation with their tablemates because they’re afraid of losing their spot in line.

It’s dull or dingy. Thanks to smartphones and Instagram feeds, diners arrive at your door with spotty attention spans and high expectations. There’s lots of leeway between busting your budget and giving them a chance to be unimpressed from the get-go.

It’s nonexistent. We’re all for small spots maximizing their floor space. A hole-in-the-wall hideaway is a fantastic find…until we have to park ourselves behind another diner’s chair because there isn’t room to wait anywhere else. Awkward.

The easy fix for your waiting area

You don’t have to invest in fancy chairs or a swanky patio or even a fresh coat of paint. All you need is a  waitlist app called Waitlist Me.

Waitlist Me allows you to set your diners free. Thanks to optional text message alerts and a waiting list with estimated wait times that they can check on their smartphones, they don’t have to worry about missing out. These simple features mean…

– Guests can wander around the area, eliminating the need to accommodate and entertain them inside your restaurant

– Your visible queue will be shorter and more attractive to newcomers

– Diners can enjoy quality time with friends and family without worrying that they’ll miss their name being called

– Your host will be free to provide excellent service because they won’t need to keep answering “how much longer?” questions (or avoid frustrated glares)

 

The app is simple to learn and flexible to use. Making it work for your dining space is easy, and training your front of house staff to use it takes mere minutes. It works on most tablets, mobile devices, or a desktop computer, and you can sync it to multiple devices at once so that multiple staff can use it at the same time. The more you use Waitlist Me, the better you’ll be at giving accurate wait times, which reduces walkaways and improves the customer experience as well as the bottom line.