Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 .

santa noshlist

Memories of sitting on Santa’s lap can evoke strong feelings of nostalgia for many of us, and continuing the tradition of capturing these magical moments can be a must-do for parents and grandparents of younger children.  The problem is that the holiday season is already a very busy time of year, and getting a turn on Santa’s lap usually requires some waiting. In worst case scenarios, it can even take several hours. Santa’s Playground and Santa’s Castle in Calgary have found a way to give back some of this precious time to families this holiday season by using NoshList for their waitlist.

Believe Imaging, an event photography company founded by Shelagh Anderson, photographs children with Santa at two of the busiest malls in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. At each location, employees are tasked with the responsibility of making sure every child who visits gets a turn to tell Santa what they would like for Christmas.

On average, the two centers combined receive upwards of 7,000 visits per week during the holiday season from November 23 through December 24.  To better handle the large number of visitors, Anderson was able to streamline the registration process and improve the customer experience by rolling out NoshList at both locations.

Prior to the launch of NoshList, employees were using pen and paper to take down names and numbers.

“The problem with pen and paper was the constant barrage of customers coming to ask if it was their turn because there was no visual display letting the customers know where they were in line,” Anderson said.

At first Anderson researched paging system, but the high initial and ongoing costs led her to seek an alternative solution.

“Originally in 2013 I sought out pagers, but after speaking to someone who had a system in excess of $3,000 I thought to myself that it didn’t make sense to invest in that archaic technology and there had to be a better way,” she said. “So I started looking on the Internet and came across NoshList in March 2014. This type of concept has been in my head for a number of years, so finding NoshList has definitely helped us realize some of the vision that I’ve had over the years.”

With the busiest days bringing over 700 kids to see Santa, children and their families can wait up to an hour for their turn.  While there is a play room in each location to ease the boredom, having a waitlist system like NoshList gives parents and families the ability to do other things while waiting for their turn.

“In terms of improving communications with our customers and allowing them the opportunity to roam the shopping center rather than stand in line, NoshList has been extremely well received by both mall administration and customers,” Anderson said. “Mothers are thrilled because they can register and know their kids are going to see Santa, while they have the freedom to go get a drink, use the restroom, continue shopping, or do other things.”

Registration is handled by three employees who are each armed with an iPad to start the waitlist process.Customers can see their places in line by clicking on a link to the public waitlist view and get a better estimate of how much longer it will be before their turn. The company also encourages their customer service desks to also log on to www.waitlist.me/n/believe_mm to accurately convey to customers who phone in asking about the wait times.

But the best part is that employees can also take down the children’s names and ages so Santa is prepared even before the child makes it to his lap.

“The elf standing next to Santa can relay the names of the next kids to him, and it adds that extra level of magic to the experience,” Anderson said. “If you’re a child and you round the corner and Santa calls you by name, that’s pretty awesome.”

believe imaging

Thursday, November 1st, 2018 .

Want to improve your queue? Whether you’re looking to shorten lines or lose fewer customers, you need the science behind waiting to be on your side.

Luckily, there’s an expert for that.

His name is Richard Larson, although he also goes by “Dr. Queue.” Larson is recognized world-wide for his research on queuing theory—and before you ask, yes, that’s a real thing. He’s one of the handful of scientists who look forward to the hour-long lines as amusement parks rather than the rides themselves.

Dr. Queue wiles away wait times by puzzling over what makes waiters content to queue. Larson explores what kinds of waiting environments keep customers happiest, what systems best manage traffic flow, and what causes queuers to bail rather than wait out a long line.

We designed Waitlist Me with queue theory in mind. Take a look at how you can use our app alongside the psychology of waiting to make your customers happier.

Distractions make waits appear shorter

You know the old saying, “a watched pot never boils”? It’s not quite true. The pot always boils; it just seems like it takes longer when you’re staring at it. The same can be said for any sort of wait. It’s why doctor’s offices invest in magazines and restaurants let you hang out at the bar.

Whether you manage an eatery, a store, an office, or a gym, Waitlist Me lets you notify customers when they reach the front of the line. Our text notification feature sets your queuers free, allowing them to find their own distractions until you’re ready for them.

Anticipation improves customer satisfaction

Is the food at a four-star restaurant better than the food at a neighborhood pub? Maybe. But built in to that four-star restaurant’s rating is the anticipation. Whether they’ve been awaiting their reservation or reading review after review, customers are already primed to enjoy their dining experience.

With our public waitlist feature, Waitlist Me lets you keep your diners salivating even if the bread basket is 20 minutes out of reach. You can sync the public waitlist to a TV in your waiting area and include enticing photos and videos along with daily specials.

Managing wait-time expectations leads to happier guests

Calling the cable company has gotten less painful over the last few years, yet we dread doing it. Why? Because we still remember the interminable minutes of hold music with no end in sight. The waits might still be long, but they’re much less tedious now because the companies let you know how many people are in line ahead of you.

Guests want to see a finish line no matter where or when they’re waiting. Waitlist Me’s wait time estimates and comparisons of actual and quote times help hosts and receptionists quote accurate wait times based on real-world data. And, after customers are added to the waitlist, they can check their place in line right from their smartphone.

Social fairness limits anxiety and stress among queuers

The first to arrive in line should be the first served—that’s social fairness. While it’s nice in principle, it doesn’t always make sense for businesses. Sometimes, a two-top that just walked in the door of a restaurant can be seated before a party of four that’s been waiting for 30 minutes.

Waitlist Me offer the appearance of social fairness that guests are looking for. Because our features free your customers from your waiting area, no one’s the wiser about which guest has been queuing the longest.

Friday, July 27th, 2018 .

We could wax poetic about Waitlist Me’s bells and whistles for hours (and we have!). But, honestly, one of our favorite bonuses that comes with implementing a waitlist and reservation app is getting rid of bad waiting room symptoms that begin to infect customers.

Let’s take a look at some of the annoying waiting maladies and behaviors that Waitlist Me helps do away with (and appreciate just how much better the customer experience is with a waitlist app). Here are 5 classic moves:

The toe-tapper

Who needs music wafting from a speaker when you could keep time to the beat of the toe-tapper’s sneaker on your tile floor? We joke, of course. We know you’re turning up the dial and pricing out carpet in order to drown this sucker out. Their tap-tap-tap won’t make tables turn over any faster, but it certainly can drive your host crazy (along with anyone else who’s waiting). The rhythmic nature of the toe tapping makes it more likely to spread to a variety of fidgeting activities around the room, creating a rather tense environment.

The eagle-eye

We’re certain some eagle-eyes honed their behavior early on as hall monitors. A training ground of tardy students prepared them well for their next mission: us. Now, they’ve set their sights on guests lingering too long over dessert and front-of-house staff dilly-dallying behind the hostess stand. Ever feel like you’re being…watched? We know exactly who to pin that on.

The disappearing-act

Some people have the gift of invisibility. They can disappear into a crowd, blend in seamlessly, fade into the background or jump right into the action like they were born there. This disappearing-act pulls a fast one, all right—right out your door without so much as a word of warning. Will you see them again? Sure, about 20 minutes after you call their name (and give their spot to the next person in line).

The slump-and-sigh

The burdens of the world have to rest on somebody’s, shoulders. Why not the slump-and-sigh? After all, that’s what it looks like once you give them their ETA. They take their seat with a sigh that bespeaks inner turmoil greater than 10 minutes ‘til “the doctor can see you now.” And if they have to stand? This one morphs into the hunch-and-groan. Sigh.

The watch-watcher

Need to know the time? There’s always someone in your waiting room you can ask, although we’re not entirely sure you’d want to. Whether they’re old-school with a wrist watch, analog with a wall clock, or high-tech with the latest iPhone, the watch-watcher tracks their own countdown, thankyouverymuch. And if your wait-time guesstimate is off by so much as a minute, well, you can expect to hear about it. This another of the more infectious behaviors. If you have a diligent watch-watcher in the group, you’ll definitely see an uptick in the unconscious time checking behaviors from others in the room.

The solution

You can’t always get rid of waiting, but Waitlist Me helps you make the wait experience better by giving guests more visibility into the wait process and the flexibility to leave the waiting room and be notified with a text when you are ready for them.

Let the toe-tapper and eagle-eye work off some of their nervous energy by walking around outside while they wait. Help the disappearing-act know the right time to be back with a well-timed text message. Take some of the worries of endless or unpredictable waits off the slump-and-sighs shoulders. And show the watch-watcher you care by using real time wait tracking to give better estimates and deliver on the promised wait times.

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012 .

million seated waitlist app

 

We are here at the National Restaurant Association Show, and what better timing than to hit our one millionth diner seated using the NoshList free waitlist app for iPad that notifies diners via text messaging that their tables are ready. NoshList helps restaurants easily and efficiently manage their waitlist and improves the dining experience by replacing paper lists, microphones and alert buzzers with text messages sent directly to the diner’s cell phone.

“We are thrilled to celebrate our millionth diner seated using NoshList. We are extremely happy with the high rate of adoption by restaurants since our launch a little over two months ago and seating over one million diners in that short time has exceeded our wildest expectations,” said Craig Walker, CEO and founder of Firespotter Labs. “Diners want an easy, convenient way to know when their table is ready and restaurants need an efficient solution that improves the experience for their customer. That is what NoshList delivers.”

NoshList launched in February 2012 to restaurants in San Francisco and has since gone nationwide to independent, multi-unit and casual dining restaurants alike.

“NoshList has provided Umami Burger an efficient and streamlined way of managing our waitlist,” said Jason Berkowitz, Vice President of Hospitality at Umami Burger. “Our patrons appreciate the ease of NoshList’s text messaging when their tables are ready and we appreciate the unlimited free texting and phone calls to patrons.”

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