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.

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.

 

 

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 .

You run a sale to get people in the door. That’s what the circulars are for, the TV spots, the radio ads, the email blasts, the social media posts—it’s all to get eyes on your business and cars in your parking lot.

But what happens when all that promo works better than you’ve dreamed, and you’re overrun with customers eager to snap up whatever it is you’re selling? You lose them…unless you have a plan in place to handle the high customer volume.

Don’t wait ‘til it’s too late. Plan now to turn your biggest sales into massive success stories. Here’s exactly how to use a waitlist app like Waitlist Me to capitalize on sale day foot traffic.

 

Tip #1: Greet every guest as they pass through your doors

Station a greeter near the entrance and task that person with setting the tone for each customer’s visit: Be warm, inviting, and helpful. Let them know what specials you’re running. And, if your greeter can’t help them right away, they can add them to a waitlist so that the next associate can help them pick out the perfect item for their wants and needs.

The big plus: Waitlist Me makes adding customers to your list a cinch. Your greeter is one tap away from adding a new name and number and sending that customer into the store to browse—no muss, no fuss, no toe-tapping frustration. When it’s that customer’s turn for attention, they’ll get a text to let them know. Simple!

 

Tip #2: Make customer service your No.-1 priority

Just because a customer understands why staffers are booking it around the sales floor on Columbus Day or Black Friday doesn’t mean that a customer will accept anything less than top-notch service. Encourage your team to spend time with shoppers, to answer their questions fully, and to remain focused on the customer in front of them, despite the busier-than-usual atmosphere. To ensure that they’re able to do that, use Waitlist Me to delegate different areas of responsibility to each of your associates. Assign individuals to different departments, divvy up cash wrap and changing room responsibilities, and task someone with restocking shelves or manning the stockroom.

The big plus: Creating assignments means that your sales associates can focus exclusively on individual customers rather than keeping their eyes peeled for empty shelves, messy displays, and new shoppers walking through the door. And because Waitlist Me lets customers see where they are in line right from their smartphones, there are none of those “is it my turn yet?” interruptions to deal with, either. No more splitting attention means better service, which improves your bottom line every time.

 

Tip #3: Make more sales from your sale

One great sales day is fantastic. One great sales day that converts foot traffic into loyal customers? Even better. A single top-notch shopping experience can turn browsers into buyers and buyers into VIPs—and that starts with service. Waitlist Me lets you build trust through customer service by quoting accurate wait times and ensuring that your shoppers remain visible to your sales floor staff. And trust leads to sales.  You can’t always eliminate waits, but you can show you care about your customers’ time and make the waiting more bearable.

The big plus: Waitlist Me helps you track the actual time each customer has been waiting next to the estimate you told them, which improves your quote accuracy.  That means that when you tell a customer that an associate will meet them in the home entertainment department in 10 minutes, it’ll really be a 10-minute wait. Setting the right wait expectations reduces walkaways, and delivering on those wait estimates boosts customer satisfaction.

Plus, when customers don’t have to worry about losing their place in line or how long the wait will be, they can relax and continue browsing through yours store, making it more likely they’ll find more things to buy. That’s a win for everyone!

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 .

BL Sign

Little Star Pizza took San Francisco by storm in 2004 by quickly becoming one of the best pizzerias in the city. Known for its Chicago-style deep-dish pizza with cornmeal crust, Little Star quickly garnered five-star customer reviews and a loyal following among local residents. There are now three Little Star Pizza restaurants in operation throughout the urban San Francisco region and another four Blue Line Pizza locations, owned by the same company, in the surrounding suburbs.

 

The two restaurant concepts do not take reservations, which means Little Star diners wait anywhere from 90- 120 minutes for a table on weekends, said founder Angela Pace.And wait times at sister chain Blue Line Pizza run anywhere from 60-to-90 minutes.

“Not taking reservations was a conscious decision because, for us, the community does so much for us that we don’t want anyone to not get served because we’re booked with reservations,” Pace said. “We want to make sure our dining room is always there for our neighbors and neighborhoods.”

In order to make customer wait times easier to manage, the company enlisted the help of WaitList, the country’s fastest growing wait list app available for iPad, iPhone and Android devices. The app was launched in 2012 and has seated to date nearly 40 million diners.

“The use of technology is unique to a place like Blue Line because we really want to focus on the guest,” Pace said. “We’ve always been very open to technology and willing to embrace it as an organization.”

Pace said the company chose NoshList from a variety of options because of its ease of use for customers and staff.

“We tried so many different things that all had their own little merits. Ultimately, we had to find a solution that we knew would work for us. Not just me personally but for our entire staff,” Pace said. “It boiled down to NoshList being so easy to use and straightforward, and the user interface is very simple and direct.”

BG Upper Patio night

 

One concern with the app was if customers would be hesitant to give out their cell phone numbers in order to interact with the app; however, adoption has been widely accepted.

“We even created an explanation of how the system works for our hostess to use on hesitant customers, but our hostess doesn’t even get to it. We’ve had no pushback,” Pace said.

The company’s philosophy toward the use of technology has been to use it as a tool to improve the guest experience. By replacing pad and paper or buzzer seating systems, waitlist apps are changing one of the most arguably antiquated seating systems in the industry.

The NoshList wait list app also does what other systems cannot: such as automatically calculate average wait times for guests. This takes the guesswork out of estimating seating times for restaurant patrons. It also frees up restaurant staff to focus on other areas of the customer experience.

“Much of today’s wait list application technology can support two-way communication between restaurant staff and guests. This two-way communication system is great because it gives guests the freedom to decide whether they want to sit and wait at the restaurant or walk around the area knowing they won’t be forgotten when their table is ready,” said Craig Walker, founder of NoshList. “Obviously we think our NoshList app provides the best wait list app functionality available today.”

In addition to the core seating and management features, NoshList enables restaurant staff to customize the notifications and public view of the waitlist that users can check from their phone or from anywhere. Customers can even add themselves to a wait list from wherever they may be if a restaurant turns on this feature. The company also recently unveiled a reservations feature which opens the door for continued innovation in waitlist technology.

“Now, restaurant operators don’t have to rely on web sites or single-use apps to handle reservations and manage a wait list. In this way, technology such as ours will continue to integrate into it as much functionality an operator needs to run their businesses better on the back end while improving the guest experience on the front,” Walker said.

Functionality was another key driver behind Blue Line’s decision to implement and use NoshList.

“We found that a lot of other technology had a lot of bells and whistles that ultimately did not get used,” Pace said. “NoshList has bells and whistles as well, but it truly is functional. We feel that NoshList in particular has made it so much easier to manage and track our wait list and now people can walk down the street and know they’re going to get paged when their table is ready. From the customer standpoint, it has really come down to peace of mind.”

tumblr deep dish

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 .

Tired of writing down reservations on paper? Now you can keep track of reservations in the same place as you manage your wait list. In May, we announced our new reservations feature for iOS at the National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show. Now we have added reservations to our Android and Clover apps. You can now use our online NoshList waitlist from any browser.

Taking reservations through NoshList is great for any customer reservation call in because it works just like our same-day estimated time of arrivals (ETAs) feature that restaurant staff enter when adding parties. The only difference is that you can choose a future date in addition to a time.

Reservations are also grouped in their own section that you can view by pressing on the calendar icon so you can get an overview of the number of reservations and people by day as well as the details of the individual parties for each day.

reservations overview

Then any reservations for the current day will automatically show up in the ETA section of the waitlist. So, it is easy to get an integrated view of the walk ins waiting and expected people coming in with reservations.

reservations detail

“The new Reservations feature opens up the use of our NoshList app to restaurants and retailers who take advance bookings, and is the first app that offers this type of functionality for multiple industries across iOS, Android, and the web,” said Craig Walker, NoshList founder and CEO. “By continuously updating our wait list app, we are answering the call to create the only wait list platform restaurants and retailers should consider.”