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

Monday, October 15th, 2018 .

Did you know there’s a way to make the world better—to make your community better—just by giving your restaurant a tiny upgrade? We’re talking about making your business more accessible and welcoming for guests with a variety of needs and abilities.

The best part is you can started today, right here and right now, with a few minutes of your time. Here’s how a simple app called Waitlist Me can help you upgrade your restaurant’s accessibility, no contractors necessary.

Let customers wait where they’re most comfortable

Some guests need more space. Others need a comfortable place to sit or room to walk or air conditioning. When your restaurant is jammed with customers jockeying for waiting space, you don’t leave them with many options.

Waitlist Me changes that. The app sets customers free from whatever space you’ve set aside for your queue. They can relax in the car, they can explore the area, or they can kill time in a more comfortable environment—all without losing their place in line.

Notify waiting guests by text

We’ve all been there: standing in a too-loud vestibule wondering if there’s a better way to get guests’ attention without shouting, relying on vibrating devices, or requiring them to crowd around the hostess stand.

It turns out there is. Waitlist Me lets you send customers a text when their table is ready. That means they can get the word ASAP in a way that works best for them.

Allow guests to make reservations (or join the waitlist) online

Speaking on the phone doesn’t work well for everyone, which is why it is important to have simple options for guests to add themselves to the waitlist or send reservation requests online. That way, all your customers can jump on line from wherever they are, regardless of their abilities.

The add yourself web widget is one more feature that makes life easier for everyone. It’s simple to pop it on to your website and allow your customers to send requests from their computer or phone. Then you just approve them in the Waitlist Me app when they pop up.

Keep track of every customer request

Anyone with special needs, from wheelchair-accessible seating to dietary restrictions, gets to used to repeating themselves. However, just because it’s the norm doesn’t mean it’s not a hassle. Impress these customers with your ability to asks once and remember always with Waitlist Me’s notes feature.

It’s simple for your host to access and add details to, and because the app can sync to multiple devices, employees who are preparing tables and running the kitchen can keep track of these requests, too.

Give more accurate wait time estimates

The most frustrating part of waiting in line is when the ETA keeps changing. You and your staff know this better than anyone! From stink eyes to toe tapping to the constant “how much longer?” refrain from hungry guests.

Our app helps you do away with all the fuss. Waitlist Me gives wait estimates and helps your team make more accurate wait times by seeing actual waits next to quoted times for each customer. Plus, the customer waitlist view feature lets guests check on their wait time from their smartphone. That gives them visibility into the waitlist so they don’t have to ask several times about the wait and can be sure to be nearby when it is close to their turn.

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015 .

We all know kids love Halloween.  But many may not realize how hugely popular the holiday is with adults as well.  Over three quarters of adults aged 18 to 44 plan on getting in on the spooky fun and celebrating Halloween, according to the Statistic Brain Research Institute.

With all the people wanting to get their thrills, chills, or perfect scares, businesses that cater to Halloween experiences are in top demand.  The rush of customers during this season, however, often results in long lines.  That’s why many smart businesses are turning to new technologies like Waitlist Me to improve the waiting experience and serve more customers.

Grandpa Grimm’s KneeKnocker Woods is a haunted attraction that is located in rural Nebraska.  This unique animatronic Halloween experience is set along an old wooded river that snakes through a corn-planted agricultural land. On any given night in October, KneeKnocker Woods draws upwards of 1,000 people, and there are usually long waits for the main attraction.

“This year, instead of people waiting in line, they go into Waitlist Me and then get a notification alerting them of how long they have wait. Once they are in the system they can mingle around and play games, shop or use the concession stand,” said Daniele Vohland, one of the owners of KneeKnocker Woods. “We have a lot of outside activities they can enjoy while they wait, and can check their phone to see where they are in line. It eliminates a lot of confusion for people and they can have more fun during their visit.”

kneeknocker-woods

Vohland also noted how the app had helped the employees be more efficient, since there were far fewer customers asking how much longer they would have to wait. Plus, when they did ask, it was easier for employees to estimate their wait with Waitlist Me.  Several customers had even commented on how they liked the new system.

“It is great that Waitlist Me can help businesses better handle the Halloween crowds, so customers can get their scare from the attraction rather than the wait times,” said Brian Hutchins, Waitlist Me CEO.  “Businesses of all kinds use Waitlist Me on a regular basis to serve millions of people a month, and the fact that it also works for seasonal businesses with surges in demand is a testament to its simplicity and flexibility.”

According to America Haunts, there are an estimated 1,200 haunted attractions charging admission fees during the Halloween season. This is in addition to the more than 300 amusement facilities featuring haunted attractions or events and another 3,000 charity attractions open on Halloween day or throughout October. The organization estimates that 90% of all U.S. households with children will participate in at least one Halloween attraction this year.

By Valerie Killifer

Sunday, February 25th, 2018 .

Byline: Brittany Taylor

If you’re American, you may recognize the word “queue” from your Netflix app. If you’re British, you can’t think why anyone would use the word “line” when “queue” is the obvious choice. If you’re Canadian, you’re more likely to think in terms of waiting in line, but probably wouldn’t worry too much if told told to “queue up.” Whether you think in terms of a waitlist or queue management system, Waitlist Me can help.

What’s behind the way we wait? Let’s take a look…

Where the idea of “lining up” came from

Despite the eternity you waited in traffic this morning, the idea of forming an orderly line hasn’t been around forever. It didn’t become a popular convention until after the turn of the 19th century. That was when the industrial revolution began to concentrate large populations in towns.

As more and more people moved into cities, the way they bought things changed. Instead of markets, individuals frequented shops. What else changed? The way people worked. As factories, mines, and, later, offices became the norm, workers had to get through the door—literally—and lines became a daily occurrence.

What’s up, Britain?

Across the United Kingdom, the queue reigns supreme. Like its penchant for afternoon tea, though, queueing is an imported custom. The word itself is French for a braid or plait, and it’s derived from a Latin word that means “tail.” By the early 19th century, it had come to mean a line of people, but it wasn’t until World War II that the idea of the queue became part of the British identity.

As Great Britain entered the war, its government talked up the notion of citizens doing their duty and taking turns. Queueing became a symbol of that, “of decency, fair play, and democracy,” reports another British institution, the BBC. After the war, opposition politicians flipped that idea on its head. Queueing became a sign of societal problems and government inefficiencies. Public resentment grew and the occasional queue-related fisticuffs ensued.

Today, Brits are still ardent queuers, and while they’re proud of their reputation for polite queueing, they’re not very happy about the waiting itself. For many, it’s a stressful experience focused on doing one’s duty and ensuring everyone else does, too.

America’s love-hate relationship with waitlists

Lines, like most things before the Internet Age, came to America a little late. Once they arrived, though, they took hold. Many moments in U.S. history come with their own lines, from the bread lines of the Great Depression to gas lines during the oil crisis.

The American approach to lines is pretty similar to America’s approach to life. On one hand, there’s egalitarianism. This is the United States, after all, the land of plenty and equal opportunity! There’s enough for everyone, and if you wait for your turn, you’ll get what you want. On the other hand, there’s capitalism. In America, it’s a race to the top. We’re always working for more, and sometimes there isn’t enough to go around.

This dual approach is why Americans are both happy to wait their turn and anxious about the whole waiting-in-line experience. Americans want to be good citizens, but they also want what they want, and if getting it is in question, they start stressing out about what they can do better to make their goals a reality. Could I choose a shorter line? Can I cut? Can I bribe the hostess?

It’s a competitive experience that’s uniquely American, but it also creates a build-up of unnecessary stress. Folks in the U.S. wait in line an average of 37 billion hours each year. That’s a lot of anxiety!

Then, there’s Canada, the chillest line-waiter of them all

The Great White North is all about maple leaves, Mounties, and, yes, waitlists. While using the word “queue” won’t raise many eyebrows, Canada falls firmly on the “we wait in lines” side of the debate.

Canada takes its lines—or lineups, as they prefer to call them—seriously. Our favorite example: International students at Canadian universities are often required to take etiquette classes during orientation. Mastering the lineup is on the syllabus right after learning how to say “hello.”

True to form (and its reputation as the global nice guy), Canada’s relationship with lines is based in its dedication to upholding polite society. Along with apologies and punctuality, the omnipresent lineup is an unspoken agreement that every Canadian, can mind their manners, relax while they wait, and still get what they want.

Waitlist Me makes queues, waitlists, and lineups better across the globe

Our goal is to make your customers’ waiting experience better. Happier customers lead to better bottom lines—and that’s exactly what we want for your business. Our app is now available in more than 60 countries, so wherever you are and whatever you do, we’re here to help.

 

Wednesday, October 16th, 2019 .

The eye-popping, groan-inducing truth is that Americans spend 37 billion hours waiting in line every single year. And while we can get on board with some of these waits, most of them aren’t worth it. On any given day in any given place, the average person is wasting their time waiting. And here at Waitlist Me HQ, that’s not something we believe in.

Not sure if your wait is worth it? We’re breaking down the types of situations that warrant a wait and the ones that don’t to ensure that you, dear reader, get the most out of your most valuable commodity: time. Scroll down for four worth-it waits (and four more that should make you walk).

Eating out

Getting your grub on? Don’t be so quick to join the line.

Wait for…pop-up restaurants. If you have your eye on an hour-long wait, make sure that you’re waiting for something special, like a one-night-only dining concept or a chef collaboration that the whole town will be buzzing about over tomorrow’s breakfast.

Don’t wait for…a happy hour table. Don’t let trendy hot-spots trick you into queueing for a table when they’re not offering anything better than the less-busy bar down the block. Happy hour specials tend to feature common offerings that appeal to the masses rather than house specialties, anyway.

Playing ball

Trust us: There’s no need to sweat a long line 24/7.

Wait for…playoff tickets. Supporting your favorite teams is an investment that lasts longer that two halves, four quarters, or nine innings. When you show up en masse for a sport you love, it keeps the teams you enjoy cheering for hanging around from season to season—and that’s a win in our book.

Don’t wait for…gym equipment. A well-managed gym shouldn’t include a line of toe-tappers waiting to snag their 40 minutes on a treadmill. If your favorite workout spot refuses to evolve in order to keep up with demand, consider taking your membership dollars elsewhere.

Yukking it up

Nothing kills a good time quite like a queue.

Wait for…a big-time live show like SNL. Did you know people regularly camp out on New York City sidewalks for 12-plus hours at a time to see a taping of Saturday Night Live? For die-hard fans, it’s a worthwhile experience that comes with stories, new friends, and sometimes even munchies delivered by the host of the week.

Don’t wait for…trivia night seats. Waiting is stressful—that’s a fact. But your limited time out with your friends shouldn’t be a nail-biter! With British pub-style trivia exploding in popularity across the U.S., there’s no reason to queue for a table. Find another venue and discover a new favorite!

Finding a deal

Shop ‘til you drop? Fabulous. Wait ‘til late? Not so much.

Wait for…a sample sale. Whether you’re a bride-to-be or a bargain-hunting fashionista, you know that there are sales and then there are sales. Black Friday might make you feel more “eh” than “yay,” but if a favorite store or brand is having their once-a-year blow-out, go ahead and queue your heart out.

Don’t wait for…a Saturday afternoon shopping trip. A casual trip to the mall shouldn’t make you want to pull your hair out in frustration or grumble about how slow other shoppers are being in the dressing rooms. When it comes to brick-and-mortar stores that need your business to keep the lights on, stellar service should be offered alongside the merchandise.

Of course, businesses can improve the wait experience by using Waitlist Me. So if you find yourself stuck waiting somewhere, you can always mention that to them!