Wednesday, August 14th, 2019 .

While fine dining might grab more press and shinier awards, fast casual is the largest growing restaurant sector around the world—and has been since 2015.

The name of the game isn’t just speed or price; if it was, fast food will still be earning top honors. Nope, fast casual continues to soar because it offers a superior customer experience. It’s all about serving great food to busy people on a budget.

Sounds good, right? Well, there’s one way to make it even better—and to ensure that your fast casual restaurant scores top marks on review sites like Yelp: make your guests’ dining experience more convenient.

Here are three ways to increase convenience at your fast casual restaurant starting right now.

#1. Go for mobile notifications

Waiting to pick up your meal at a counter is one of the few downsides to fast casual. Even worse? Perching on the edge of your seat trying to figure out if your name has been called. Hello, anxiety!

With a waitlist app like Waitlist Me, you can now text your guests when their meal is ready for pick-up. That means they can sit down and relax while they wait to nosh. It’ll cut down on noise in your restaurant and decrease customer stress (and the amount of food growing cold on the counter). No more crowding impatiently around the counter? That’s a win in our book!

#2. Take your waitlist online

Sure, the food might be worth the wait, but a wait isn’t what fast casual diners are looking for (see the “fast” in “fast casual”). From breakfast to lunch and dinner through late-night, nobody’s looking to stand around and watch other people scarf down goodies. That’s where an online waitlist comes in handy.

Waitlist Me offers a widget you can easily add to your restaurant’s website. Once it’s there, diners can hop on-line digitally, and walk through your door at just the right time. Bonus? Use our option to let customers join your list straight from their Google search, no website updates required.   

#3. Offer easy take-out and delivery options

Not every diner wants to park it in-house. And you know what? That’s just fine for your bottom line. An emptier restaurant gives newcomers the idea that you’re ready and waiting to serve them without requiring you to sacrifice orders. In their mind, they’ve arrived ahead of the crowd. In yours, you’re still busy fulfilling orders without needing the tables and chairs to accommodate them.

Make this a reality by setting your fast casual restaurant up online for easy take-out ordering. If your area offers delivery options—think: Postmates, UberEats, Seamless, or Grubhub—create special pick-up zone for delivery drivers. That way, they can get in and get out, and your diners can enjoy hot, fresh food from the comfort of their own home.

Remember, every time you make a change, you need to let your customers know! Add it to your website, have employees mention it when guests order, and post it around your restaurant.  

Our favorite way to ensure diners are in the know 24/7 is to post updates on an in-restaurant monitor, along with your waitlist. Waitlist Me Pro lets you do this easily, and there are no limits to what you include! Whether you’re celebrating your 1,000th 5-star rating, are offering a limited-time special, or you’re launching a loyalty program, anything goes. (Hint: funny cat videos work, too.)

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, May 8th, 2019 .

Owning or managing a business today is significantly more stressful than it was 10 years ago. So is being a human living in 2019.

We’re more stressed now than we’ve ever been before. Blame it on politics. Blame it on the economy. Blame it on your zany Aunt Maude. Regardless of the numerous places our stress is coming from, we know one place that can use some improvement in the stress department.

The bustle! The noise! The tight squeeze! There are all sorts of ways your waiting room could be skyrocketing your customers’ stress levels. Want to prevent walk-outs and increase customer loyalty? Here are three stressful problems in your waiting area and easy, inexpensive ways to fix them today.

A wall-to-wall wait

Achieving the right level of fullness is an art. An empty parking lot at 7 p.m. on a Friday night sends the wrong signal to hungry diners. But a jam-packed foyer? That sends a message, too, one that might intimidate a walk-in.

Stressor: The line is so long! I’ll be waiting forever!

Quick fix: Vacate your waiting area just enough by using Waitlist Me to notify guests when you’re ready for them. This leaves them free to explore the area while they wait—and keeps new customers feeling like they won’t be waiting an eternity.

“Was that me?” worries

A little background music, ordering drinks at the bar, nodding along to a conversation—it doesn’t take much to distract guests from a long wait. However, those little distractions come with their own problems.

Stressor: Did they call me already? Did I miss my table?!

Quick fix: Replace bulky buzzers and hovering hostesses with text notifications through our waitlist app. That way, your guests will be notified in a manner that suits them best. Plus, our public waitlist feature allows customers to check their place in line on a TV display in your waiting area or directly on their phone. That reduces the anxiety over how-much-longer ETAs.

Invisible customer syndrome

Hey, mistakes happen! But when you’re using a messy grease board or a hard-to-read, handwritten appointment book to keep track of your waitlist, mistakes happen far more frequently than if you brought your business into the 21st century.

Stressor: Um, excuse me? Did you forget about me? I’ve been waiting an hour!

Quick fox: Nobody wants to feel invisible, and nobody wants to hang out in a foyer for 25 minutes before realizing they’ve been skipped by accident. With a digital waitlist, you can cut down on those negative experiences. Waitlist Me is straightforward. Think: One easy-to-read list and zero confusing scribbles. With a single glance, hosts can see exactly who’s waiting for what sort of table, how long they’ve been tapping their toes, and when you can get them seated.

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.

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015 .

Where did NoshList go? It is now Waitlist Me. But don’t worry, everything you loved about NoshList is still there, plus a lot more.

As more and more businesses from all types of industries have been signing up to manage their waitlists, reservations, and appointments, we decided having a name that was broader and less tied to food would be better. As Waitlist Me, we are excited about all the opportunities for helping people that are waiting everywhere.

The road to Waitlist Me was paved with a number of features and user experience improvements. It started with enhancements for customized notifications and waitlist views. Table management was made more flexible so customers could also be assigned to people or other resources. Later, more prioritization was put on features such as reservations and appointments that were essential to many businesses. Finally, we invested more resources into making Waitlist Me cross-platform, so it would work on iPads, iPhones, Android tablets and phones, and even computers.

Being truly cross-platform is key to bringing the services to businesses everywhere. Some businesses don’t have Wi-Fi or have concerns using an iPad because of possible damage or theft. Now, even businesses with computers plugged into the Internet can use WaitList Me for their waitlists and reservations. The Android app also runs nicely on Clover, which is revolutionizing the way businesses think about POS systems.

In addition to the name change, we have redesigned and improved our iPhone and Android phone apps, and made a number of usability improvements in our tablet apps and online waitlist. Waitlist Me is also launching with a few powerful new features, such as the post-visit feedback surveys. Premium users can now customize and enable feedback surveys to go out after customer visits. Customers can easily send quick numerical ratings back in text messages or take surveys to rate their experiences in more detail, leave comments, an even request a manager to contact them about their visit.

Waitlist Me is also rolling out its first major API integration with Enplug, a company that helps businesses better engage their customers with smart digital signage devices and software.

More details on these new features will be coming soon.