Wednesday, June 14th, 2017 .

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:

 

Labeled mode

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.

 

Section Notes

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.

 

Quick Seating

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.

Monday, October 5th, 2020 .

You’re a small business owner. You shouldn’t have to be a tech whiz. Forget all the training hassles. Forget the painful user manuals. There’s no reason for you to waste your time and money on waitlist management software that’s anything less than plug and play.

Here are seven easy ways to figure out if the tool you’re eyeing is more trouble than it’s worth.

You can’t buy it without talking to a sales person.

If a product is straightforward and user-friendly, it sells itself. You should be able to watch a quick video, then just jump in and start using the product. When a demo from a slick sales rep is required, it’s not the simple solution you’re looking for. Remember: You want to buy the product, not the pitch.

The pricing comes with more fine print than a cell phone contract.

Start-up fees, 24/7 support fees, usage surcharges, complicated pricing tiers, contracts that lock you in for a certain amount of time—these are sales tactics companies use to hook you with a low upfront price and milk you down the line.  Your bill should be simple to understand.  It should be predictable and not change from month to month.  And most importantly, there shouldn’t be any surprises.

Or, even worse, there is no pricing.

One reason a tech company would make you inquire to discover the price of its software is that it knows a salesperson is more likely to get your credit card number than the product itself.  Another reason is to figure out how much money you can afford or are willing to pay so they can extract more money from you.  Throwing out a high list price (that isn’t actually listed anywhere public for fear of scaring people away), and playing the discount game to make you feel like you are getting a bargain is a common sales tactic with complicated software.

There’s a training program, and you probably have to pay for it.

You don’t train someone to use a simple product, you just use it.  Look at great technology companies like Google, Amazon, and Uber as a few of many examples where simpler solutions are less expensive…  The more complex and detailed software is, the more time you need to spend learning it, training your employees on it, and retraining your employees on it when there’s an update. Plus, there’s an increased likelihood of mistakes and complaints. You should get help when you need it, not need to get help just to be able to use a service because it is complicated.

Installation requires you to do 37 other things

A good solution doesn’t require multiple trips to electronic stores. A simple solution doesn’t keep telling you to download more programs to make it work correctly. A good, simple solution is the one that fixes your problem now, without a tacked-on to-do list.

Your customers need to download it, too, in order for you to use it.

Software shouldn’t just be easy foryou to use; it should also be a no-brainer for your clientele. When you add another barrier to use, whether it’s downloading an app or creating a unique login, you’re making customer service harder on yourself.  Everyone has a phone that receives text messages and calls.  They shouldn’t need to install an app.  And most won’t go through the extra effort so you are limiting the number of people than can receive better service with a simpler solution.

Figuring out which button does what feels like decoding your car’s dashboard icons.

When business is busy, you can’t afford to waste time fumbling with your software’s interface to access a certain feature. The line stretches out the door, the customers’ toes start to tap, and the person you’re trying to serve thinks you look like a doofus. And that is not how you want your next Yelp review to read. You should be able to know what every single button does instantly, not after countless seconds of deliberation.  And you shouldn’t have to navigate through all sorts of options and secondary information when greeting a customer.  Eyes on the customer, not the iPad.

Listen: We get it ‘cause we’ve been there.

That’s why we took simple and traditional tools —paper waitlists, reservation books, and grease-board floor plans—and transformed them into one intuitive app that you can download now and use now. Find it in the App Store and Google Play Store, or sign up at www.waitlist.me.

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018 .

It’s a retailer’s dream to boast a line long enough to wrap around a city block. A lot of the promos and products you dream up might even be designed to attract these 6-o’clock-news-worthy waits. Think: Black Friday doorbusters, innovative croissant-donut hybrids, and once-in-a-lifetime bear-stuffing deals.

But the reality? Well, it’s not as dreamy as it seems. In fact, it’s kind of nightmare. The history of long lines is plagued with stampedes, riots, and heat stroke victims. Yikes!

And that’s just for the people who join those long lines. For every customer that’s willing to wait, there are tens to hundreds that won’t be. Think about it this way: What would you wait hours for? What would make you want to camp out on a sidewalk?

If you did it at all, it would have to be for something truly incredible. A dinner at a new-to-the-neighborhood restaurant? Not likely. A shopping spree at a boutique? No way. An after-work drink? Forget it. A pilates class? Never.

How a long line hurts your business

A long line might get you a few dozen customers who are willing to wait in exchange for a first look or a door prize. But at what expense? That line might stretch wayyy down the street, but when hundreds of other passersby see it, they’re going to think that your business is the last place they want to be.

Sure, they might stop and ask what the line is for. Sure, they might talk about your establishment. Most of that conversation may be negative, though. Many of those on-lookers are going to be saying, “Some people waited 3 hours for a burger. How dumb is that?!” rather than: “The line for the best burger in town was 3 hours long yesterday. I’m going to go get one tonight!”

The truth is that long lines alienate customers. They dissuade people from giving you a chance. Potential customers have long memories. They will remember one or two long wait times, and forever associate you with inconvenience. Those customers are going to go somewhere else.

Why? Because…

* They don’t want to hop on the next-cool-thing bandwagon. Some customers instinctually rebel against hype. They’ll opt for a just-as-good competitor, instead. And because they didn’t have to wait, they’ll perceive your rival as being better than you are simply due to that lack of a long line.

* They’re worried the customer service stinks. Long lines can indicate efficiency problems. Guests encounter them and assume that someone at the front is lollygagging or that you’re understaffed. That’s ding No.-1 against your reputation for a top-notch guest experience.

* They aren’t interested in hanging out in a crowd. Some folks love feeling like sardines packed in a tin, but most don’t. A crowded business creates unnecessary pressure on the customer to hurry through their experience, regardless of whether they’re shopping, eating, or doing something else.

* They’re concerned something is wrong. Have you run out of the product you’re running a promo for? Are the cash registers down? Are you understaffed? Is this whole waiting-in-a-crazy-long-line thing all going to be for naught? Cue customer anxiety.

A better alternative

It is great when you have something everyone wants, but you don’t have to make them suffer in a long crazy line to get it. Waitlist Me makes it easy to manage a line virtually rather than physically. Add people to your waitlist so they know they have a spot in line and have visibility into the wait process, while allowing them the flexibility to walk around or do something else while they wait. Then simply press a button to notify them with a text message when it is their term. It is simple, and effective.