Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 .

At Firespotter Labs, we have been busy working on new ways to make people’s lives better, and are proud to announce our latest creation: NoshList!

NoshList is a free waitlist app for restaurants that uses text messages to notify diners when their tables are ready. Here is how it works:

NoshList allows restaurants to easily manage parties – adding, seating and removing them as necessary – just by pushing a button. To add walk-up customers, NoshList users simply enter in a name, phone number and tap a button for the party size. There are even different icons for gender and age groups (i.e., blue for boys, pink for girls, and an icon that looks sort of like Darth Vader for “unknown”). At the bottom of the screen, NoshList shows the current wait times by party size for at-a-glance information, as well as the number of total guests waiting and the total seated.

iPad add party

 

Monday, October 27th, 2014 .

10 park lanes logoBowling is a great form of entertainment for for those times when we’re one-on-one or with a group of friends. But waiting for a lane can deflate even the most enthusiastic crowd. Using NoshList to manage their waitlist, the team at 10 Park Lanes found a way to make it easy for guests to eat, drink and play.

When 10 Park Lanes first opened in Charlotte, N.C., the venue consisted of bowling lanes and not much else. However, a renovation nearly three years ago included the addition of several restaurants and bars, and is considered a premier entertainment center.

Prior to NoshList, 10 Park Lanes staff wrote each name down using pen and paper, and often lost customers as a result of long wait times. The bowling alley has now been using NoshList for two years to handle the more than 2,000 people that walk through its doors every weekend. With such a high volume of clientele, waits can last anywhere from three to five hours.

The NoshList app was easy to install and easy to use for both staff and customers.

“Our demographic is people who are used to using technology like this,” said Jeff Burns, 10 Park Lanes bowling manager. “They really had no issues with this sort of communication.”

It also has given people the ability to put their name on the waitlist, leave and come back when their lane is ready.

“We have a 3-hour wait and we needed a way to track people down,” said Aaron Sheets, 10 Park Lanes director of operations. “We’re in a trendy area in Charlotte with a series of bars surround the street so we use the app to tell people their lanes are available. If we’re busy, customers can walk next door or go outside and still be able to receive our texts.”

10 park lanes

 

The app is used across two iPads and the company uses it to track not only waiting customers, but also where they’re from. Using the QuickNotes feature, 10 Park Lanes staff can input customer zip codes and uses the information for marketing purposes.

The system works fantastic,” Burns said. “It does what it is definitely supposed to do. It allows us to track people, page them and get them back into the building when their lane is ready.”

– By Valerie Killifer, special to NoshList

Thursday, June 1st, 2017 .

With Memorial Day Weekend behind us, it’s all tourists, all the time, for restaurants in vacation destinations. Are you ready for the crush?

While the boom can be terrific for your bottom line, a mid-summer dinner rush can be a nightmare situation for your host. And the only thing worse than a frazzled host is an unhappy vacationer. Avoid the panic and frustration with Waitlist Me, a waitlist and table management app that’ll help you run things more smoothly and bring more smiles to your customers’ faces.

Here’s our step-by-step guide to nailing your summer service:

 

Step 1. Greet ‘em with a smile—and an accurate wait-time

The one thing diners hate more than walking in to a wait-time is being given a wait-time that doesn’t pan out. Waitlist Me provides smart wait-time estimates that adjust as you use the app—and you can check ‘em in a glance.

Bonus! Since the app displays actual wait times right next to the estimated wait times, your team can see how they are doing and adjust as needed for lulls and surges in traffic. This simple feedback loop makes it easy to quote times more accurately.

 

Step 2. Ask if your guests need anything special

A highchair? Crayons for the kiddos? An accessible spot for Gran’s wheelchair? Waitlist Me allows you to make notes for every party you add to your waitlist, ensuring that no detail is forgotten.

Bonus! This is also the perfect time to ask if they’re celebrating a special occasion. If the answer is a big Y-E-S, give your servers a heads-up so they can make the groups experience at your restaurant one to tell the world (and Yelp) about.

 

Step 3: Encourage them to explore the area while they wait

Text notifications mean your diners don’t have to hover around the hostess stand. Once they’re added to your waitlist, they’re free to check out nearby shops or stroll down the block ‘til their table is ready.

Bonus! As soon as you add a party to your restaurant’s waitlist, they’ll receive a text confirmation with a link to your public waitlist. Let them know the link is there and that they can use it to check their place in line directly from their phone.

 

Want to see how other restaurants are using Waitlist Me to manage their summer rush? Click here.

Thursday, March 16th, 2017 .


Using a paper floor plan has been common in the restaurant industry for a long time, and many software applications have incorporated spatial floor plan concepts into their designs.  Floor plans are deceptively complex to use, however, and can cost you time and money in ways you may not expect.  Waitlist Me CEO, Brian Hutchins, was recently featured in an article published on RMagazine, and goes into detail about 5 main reasons that floor plans are more complicated than they seem.

 

1) Key information is scattered in different directions

2) Comparing apples and oranges is difficult

3) Tables are static, but demand is not

4) Bad decisions lead to unhappy customers and frustrated employees

5) Measuring and improving results is difficult

 

Read  the article on RMagazine for all the details or watch the Waitlist Me video on table section management.

 

Monday, September 15th, 2014 .

Being sick is no fun for anyone. And when you are sick, one of the top things on your mind is how to get better as soon as possible. It isn’t surprising that having to wait to talk to a physician can be a frustrating experience, but ProHealth Care Medical Associates found that using Waitlist to give patients a better sense of their wait made patients and physicians happier.

prohealth image

 

ProHealth Care Medical Associates is an award-winning regional specialty and primary care system with services throughout Southeastern Wisconsin. As part of the ProHealth Care program, the system has an integrated network of closely aligned independent physicians. Services encompass nearly all aspects of health care and includes hospitals, medical clinics, home care and hospice, integrative medicine, well-being and fitness centers, and more.

The centers have eight urgent care facilities within a 25-mile radius and see patients on a walk-in basis, which means wait times to see doctors can take anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes.

“One of the things we were hearing from our patients is that they weren’t happy with our wait times,” said Kelly Tolson, Director of Operations at ProHealth Care. “During cold and flu season, it can be anywhere from a 90 minute to two hour wait. Two hours is unacceptable.”

Tolson and ProHealth site leader, Maureen Sensiba, were looking for a way to make wait times easier to manage for patients, when they were approached by a patient who had seen the NoshList wait list app in use at a local restaurant.

“One of our patients had been added to a waitlist and notified when their table was ready at a Red Robin restaurant, and she said it was an awesome feature,” Sensiba said. “She raved about it. So afterward, I did some research on my own and contacted NoshList to see how we could make it work for our situation.”

The customer was specifically pleased with how the wait list app gave her the ability to shop while she waited for her table at Red Robin. That also caught the attention of Tolson and Sensiba, since it would be nice for patients to not have to be constrained to the waiting area.

Before getting started, the app had to be shown to the company’s patient experience officer and corporate compliance officer attorney to ensure the app wasn’t in violation of any patient privacy issues. Because the app only shows patient initials, it does not violate HIPPA rules or any other privacy rule, and Tolson was given the ability to then launch the app at the Medical Associates Brookfield, Wisc. location.

“Brookfield was a great place to start because it’s a small community. People could go home, have lunch or run errands while they waited to be seen by a doctor and get back in a short amount of time,” Tolson said. “It has worked so well that we have expanded it to another location and have plans to roll it out to the remaining six within the next six months.”

How it works

When ProHealth first started using NoshList, it was more popularly used as an iPad app, so they had to be a little creative in getting to fit their needs for an urgent care waitlist from a computer. Tolson and Sensiba realized that they could customize the public waitlist web page and the Add Yourself feature that restaurants normally use to allow diners to add themselves to a list, and they adapted this functionality for their staff to enter the information.

The patient names are put into a computer once they arrive at the center, and they can check their place in line from a phone or computer. When other patients look at the waitlist to determine where they are in line, only the patients’ initials are visible. Then when it is a patient’s turn, the ProHealth staff uses the regular waitlist view to trigger the text and call notifications and remove people from the list.

Since that time, NoshList has added the ability to do everything in one place in the browser, and early adopters like ProHealth Care that started using the system in new ways and sending feedback helped drive these product improvements.

“It was very smart how Tolson and Sensiba figured out how to use the NoshList public waitlist page, which was designed for other purposes, to serve as a simple entry form that could be used by multiple people on computers,” said NoshList CEO, Craig Walker. “We were all very impressed at NoshList, and have been building more and more improvements into our service to make it better for cases like these and for solving the wait problem everywhere.“

While the facility operators have yet to determine how the app has impacted wait times, customers appear to be happy with the solution.

“I don’t know if their wait times have decreased, but patients are more satisfied because we are being more respectful of their time,” Sensiba said. “We know they have other things they could be doing and we’re giving them an opportunity to do those things if there is a long wait.”

The physicians also are happier.

“We expected the patients would appreciate the new waitlist options, but we didn’t anticipate that the physicians would also be happier, because the patients are happier when they get into the room,” Tolson said. “That has been a very nice surprise.”