Thursday, May 15th, 2014 .

scottys brewhouse

When Scott Wise launched Scotty’s Brewhouse in 1996, he was 22 years old with little restaurant operating experience. He had graduated with a degree in marketing and public relations from Ball State University and had just returned home to Muncie, IN, after a stint as a copywriter in Houston.

“I had always waited tables and bartended, and after college, hated my 9-to-5 job. I came back to my hometown and was drawing up the idea of what I wanted to do when I heard there was a bar for sale,” Wise said. “The owners asked me to put a business plan together. Then, months later, I went to the owner and bought the business.”

That business was Mugly’s Pub & Eatery, a local Ball State University student hang out with a pool table, three beers on tap and a burger on the menu.

For the next three years, Wise worked on the restaurant’s revitalization, changing the name to Scotty’s Brewhouse and eventually hiring enough staff to handle the growing clientele. That’s when he decided to open a second location. He was only 25, and already was building a restaurant chain.

Well, maybe not.

“I got the food service bug and just loved what I was doing,” he said. “But at 25 I thought it was easy and the second restaurant failed miserably.”

Undeterred, Wise decided to take the equipment from his second endeavor and open another Scotty’s Brewhouse location in Bloomington, IL. The year was 2011. The restaurant was a hit. A franchise was born.

Today, Wise and his executive team operate eight locations throughout Indiana. Their biggest store, in downtown Indianapolis, holds 450 guests.

The technology solution

With locations throughout the state and a continuous rise in customer visits, Wise was looking for a way to increase operational efficiencies while reducing costs. This led Wise and his team to NoshList, a waitlist app designed to simplify restaurant operations and improve the guest experience. The app runs on iPad and Android tablet and mobile devices and replaces old-fashioned paper lists and expensive buzzer waitlist tools.

“For the majority of restaurant operators who use our waitlist app, the switch was made because of the ease of our technology and its ability to cut down costs while improving the guest experience,” said Craig Walker, founder of NoshList. “Our tool gives restaurant operators the ability to seat guests faster, which increases table turns and improves restaurant profitability.”

NoshList, available as a free or paid Premium service, works by sending guests text messages to their mobile devices alerting them that their tables are ready. If a guest doesn’t have a mobile phone, they can still be added to the waitlist and the host can locate them once their table is ready.

More importantly, however, is that NoshList’s Premium users can utilize the app’s ability to collect analytics based on diner history. Additionally, Premium users have access to a two-way communication system for dine-in guests, so customers can let a restaurant’s host know if there are changes to the party.

“The ability to gain consumer insights based on visitor history is a huge step forward for users of our NoshList app,” Walker said. “And the ability for two-way communication further enhances our restaurant support.”

Wise had long been considered an early adopter of restaurant technology, a reputation that placed him on the industry speaking circuit for many years.

SWBar

 

 

Scotty’s Brewhouse first started using tablets at the table in 2010. The move was a premature one in regard to customer acceptance. While the tablets didn’t work for his customer base he continued to look for new and emerging technologies that would push the brand forward.

“With the use of technology, you don’t do something that you think is cool or looks good. It has to save an operator time and money,” Wise said. “The reason why I got into tablet waitlist technology was because I was frustrated with how many pagers got stolen, or broken or lost.”

After the failed tablet experiment, Wise decided to use NoshList as a way to increase sales and reduce operational costs even though he wasn’t sure customers would give out their cell phone numbers.

“In the beginning I was nervous,” he said. “I don’t believe in text marketing and I wasn’t sure if people would give us their cell phone numbers. We had a little pushback from customers, but it wasn’t enough to stop using the technology because we were saving money on broken pagers and streamlining our seating capacity,” Wise said.

To date, WaitList has seated more than 34 million diners through its free and Premium versions and in May launched an updated version specifically for iOS 7.

“The app continues to ramp up and is proving to be a great technology. With some of the bigger software companies, they are so slow in incorporating new technology that by the time they do it the next wave is out,” Wise said. “For my staff, the reaction was initially ‘how do I do this?’ But once they got it, they loved it. This is one technology that I didn’t have to push at all and was not too difficult to put in place.”

Additionally, Wise and his team were concerned that customers would walk away once their names went on the waitlist because there was no buzzer that would tether them to the restaurant.

“We worked with NoshList on a number system that let staff know if customers had gone somewhere else,” Wise said. “And if people are wondering about their wait, they can now look at their phone and see how much time they have left. This lets the hostess focus on other things and it doesn’t make guests feel like someone forgot about them.”

Over the past six months, Scotty’s Brewhouse guests have embraced the NoshList technology. And because it’s an app-based system, the waitlist keeps running even if internet connectivity is lost.

“The best thing is we don’t have pagers anymore. That cost was huge for us,” Wise said.

Monday, March 16th, 2020 .

Waitlist Me Platinum subscriptions include options to completely customize how the web widget and kiosk look. You would need some web development skills to modify the HTML, CSS, and Javascript like you would for a web page.

To get started, log in to www.waitlist.me and navigate to Account > Settings > Add Yourself. Scroll to the bottom and select Edit to make changes to either the web widget or the kiosk. If you are using both, you can copy changes from one to the other after you’re done setting it up. Or you can edit them independently to make them look and function differently. Leave it toggled to Off until you’re ready to debut your new widget.

You can load one of our default templates to get you started and make changes from there. There are three main steps that can be customized:


Main View – Customize the screen customers start on to greet them with messaging and imagery that fits your brand.

Input View – Decide the important information fields to include and the instructions you provide to customers. There are separate views for Joining the Waitlist and Making Reservations/Appointments depending on what options you allow.

Confirmation View – Finish with your own thank you or welcome message and imagery.

Refer to this documentation for the technical instructions to fully customize your widget.

Friday, March 26th, 2021 .

If you find that you, your staff, or your customers are more exhausted or more stressed out than usual, you’re not alone. In fact, these feelings are so common right now that the American Psychoanalytic Association has a name for it: PTSE, or Pandemic Trauma and Stress Experience.

APsaA’s COVID-19 advisory team has put together a long list of stressors and fears that those experiencing PTSE generally struggle with. It includes everything from “increased withdrawal, isolation, and fear of others as a source of infection” to “increased altruism, including worry about others.”

And you know what? All the points on this list of fears has the power to impact small businesses like yours.

Read on for four ways you can help customers have less stress when they visit.

Communicate safety precautions clearly

Proactively inform your guests about the precautions you’re taking to minimize the spread of the virus.

Post signs on your door, require hosts and servers to introduce them early in a guest’s visit, and include it on other forms of communication, from menus to social media profiles and posts. These precautions can protect not just your customers, but you and your employees as well.

Eliminate waiting area anxiety

Hanging out in a restaurant lobby wasn’t fun pre-COVID. During a pandemic, being that close to strangers for a long period of time is the stuff that panic attacks are made of.

Luckily, WaitList Me empowers customers to wait where they feel safest—outside in the fresh air, window shopping around the block, or hanging out in the car. Thanks to our text notifications feature, you can reach them wherever they are to let them know when they’ve hit the front of the line.

Cut unnecessary interactions

In this hand sanitizer-soaked world we now live in, many customers are concerned about touching items they never would have thought twice about a year ago. Everything from door handles to menus are suspect.

Eliminating these stressors requires a little bit of ingenuity. Wherever possible, install items like foot-pulls to enable guests to access areas without using their hands.

You can also use QR codes for menus and other ways. Post a QR code of the link to your Waitlist Me web widget and let customers join the list before they step foot in your restaurant, further minimizing lines and crowds.

Socially distance eating areas

For stressed-out customers, seeing a tightly packed dining area is enough to make them turn tail and leave—and may think twice before returning in the future.

You may want to reevaluate your restaurant’s table layout. Waitlist Me Platinum’s floorplan view and table management features are handy for optimizing your dining spaces and knowing where to seat the next customer to keep things flowing smoothly. 

One more thing: While community tables may have been the restaurant trend du jour, pre-COVID, now is not the time to bring them back. In fact, even when herd immunity has been reached, it might take awhile for diners to be psychologically comfortable enough to eat elbow-to-elbow with strangers again. 

Monday, April 13th, 2015 .

Earlier this month, Clover added two new devices to their Point of Sale solutions, Clover Mini and Clover Mobile. As an early app developer for Clover, we are very excited about this launch because it opens new ways for businesses to use Waitlist Me for their waitlists and reservations.  Clover Mobile is a perfect fit for Waitlist Me because it lets businesses add customers to the waitlist right at the door as well as update statuses and check people off the list from other parts of their store or restaurant.

clover-mobile

 

Clover Mobile is a wireless device, so merchants can do a variety of activities from anywhere. They can place orders, take payments, scan inventory, manage employee hours, sync sales data with accounting software, and other activities from where it is most convenient. The Clover Mini is designed to be a simple but powerful replacement to the traditional credit card terminal, so it does the core credit card processing and receipt printing needed for payment transactions, plus a lot more.  Both devices have the sleek designs Clover is known for and the flexibility of customizing functionality through their integrated App Market.  Waitlist Me is available and optimized for both of the new devices.

POS terminals have changed over the course of several years, and Clover is at the forefront of creating better and more efficient hardware and solutions for businesses in this category.  Because of the deeper integration Clover allows, Waitlist Me is able to offer more efficient tools for businesses and better experiences for their customers on the Clover platform.

 

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019 .

Rates of stress, depression, and anxiety have only increased across the globe thanks to a variety of factors, from work to politics to personal matters. And guess what? Most people aren’t actively working to alleviate the causes of their symptoms. That means that on a good day, one out of every two people walking through your door is one big stress mess. Yikes.

What does all that mean for you and your business? Nothing good. Stress, anxiety, and depression…

  • Encourage customers to stay home
  • Turn people into penny-pinchers
  • Make them put off maintenance-type appointments, like healthcare and car servicing appointments
  • Prevent guests from enjoying themselves when they do go out

Sure, you can’t eliminate the sources of their stress. However, you can make your place of business into more of a refuge from the stress of their everyday life. Keep reading for tips on how you, as a business owner or manager, can help your customers stress less.

Rearrange your space

No one wants to be in the way. Unfortunately, if you haven’t thoughtfully designed your waiting area layout with your waiting customers in mind, chances are someone will be.

To solve this problem, spend some time watching the way your guests use the space you’ve given them. Where do they tend to stand? Where do they most frequently sit? What space isn’t being utilized? When do people look awkward or uncomfortable? Then, change up your waiting room’s layout based on those observations.

Offer up directions

The momentary panic of walking into a new destination and having no clue where you should go or who you need to check in with or what the heck is going on is real. That same panic sends adrenaline coursing through your veins, which elevates your stress levels and dings the effectiveness of your immune system—all because there was no clear signage!

Forget that. Ensure your guests know what to expect and where to go when they arrive if there isn’t someone to greet them. A sign on the door or on a placard placed in the entranceway or by a check-in desk or kiosk is an excellent improvement.

Turn down the volume.

You don’t have to run a spa to provide your guests with a calmer experience when they walk inside. If your business is in a busy area, consider window coverings that will dampen the sound of outside traffic. If you receive a lot of phone calls, try switching your desk attendant to a headset or using flashing lights rather than a loud ringer.

Also: ditch clocks that audibly tick, oil squeaky door hinges, and put felt pads on the feet of screeching metal chairs.

Change the channel

If your waiting area includes televisions, select programming that’s more likely to take your customers’ attention off whatever is worrying them. Instead of news, finance, or health-related shows, go with lighter fare. Think: home design, cooking shows, or sitcom reruns.

Radio more your style? The faster the music is, the more stress it will cause your guests. Instead of more jarring pop hits or dance beats, go with oldies, singer-songwriters, or classical music.

Rework your waiting system

Want your guests to enjoy every minute in your place of business? Looking to prioritize their needs and prove that you’re really listening to them? Seeking to cut walk-outs and improve the overall efficiency of your enterprise?

We developed Waitlist Me to help you hit all these goals. Waitlist Me is a free app that lets you manage your waitlist and reservations better. It lets you notify guests by text when they’ve reached the front of the line, eliminating the fear that they’ve missed their moment. It also lets you take notes on their special requirements or concerns, so you can make sure they aren’t forgotten.

And that’s just the beginning! Our full set of Premium and Pro features are crafted to give your customers the best experience possible, all while helping you run a better, faster, more cost-effective business. Decrease customer stress, make more money—how does that sound? Answer: Awesome!