Monday, September 30th, 2019 .

Everything from plastic straws to disposable containers are getting 86ed left and right. Why should paper clutter be any different because it’s piled up on your hostess stand instead of your tables?

But truth be told, it’s not just the toll paper takes on the ecosystem that should inspire you to transition toward digital waitlist and reservation management systems. There are a host of other reasons to switch to a waitlist and reservation app, like Waitlist Me, that go beyond your recycling bin. 

Need an example of why paper is passé? Here are 6:

You’re annoying your guests (and your staff)

A datebook can’t be in two places at once, but an app can. You can put Waitlist Me on as many tablets, smartphones, and computers as you want. While your hostess seats guests, a front-of-house manager can keep tabs on staff efficiency, a GM can track long-term customer trends, and a regional manager can check in on a few different locations.

Your wait times are inaccurate

How long will it take for that two-top to scarf down their chocolate mousse? When will you be able to squeeze a few tables together for a large party? With paper, you’re left guessing. Digital waitlist solutions, however, make it easier to make accurate wait estimates. That means your hosts can focus on customer service, not crunching numbers. 

You look unprofessional

Scrabbling through crumpled reservation book pages and scribbling party sizes onto a grease board makes your restaurant look like a slap-dash operation. Switching to an app lets you move all that mess onto one simple screen. No more MIA reservations, no more hard-to-read handwriting, and no more endless flipping while customers tap their toes.

You can’t multitask

Nobody likes the holler-back method of seating guests. For hosts, it’s laryngitis in the making. For next-in-line diners, it’s round after round of the “wait, did they just call our name?” game. And for even the most patient of waiting customers, it shatters the ambiance. An app like Waitlist Me lets you quickly, quietly, and easily text guests when it’s their turn.

You can’t gather data

Sure, you can tally up the heads served and tables turned by the end of the night, but with a pen and paper, a pile of chicken scratch is all you’ve got. Digital tools are built with analytics running automatically in the background as you and your staff go about your day. When you’re ready to see how your team has performed (and analyze trends, like your average table turnover time), the data is waiting for you.

You’re not serving your customers to the best of your ability

A hostess with a grease board in hand and a line to manage is working the numbers, not focusing on customer experience. But while lines are a fact of life that guests can deal with, a bad experience can wreck your restaurant’s reputation. Waitlist Me offers a bunch of features that helps hosts serve. One of our favorites: the public waitlist. Guests can check it on their smartphone or a monitor in your waiting area to see exactly where they are in line (and stop asking your hostess for an ETA!).

Thursday, October 26th, 2017 .

For customers who can’t tell a carburetor from a catalytic converter, it’s customer service that makes an automotive retailer or service business shine. Your under-the-hood expertise lets them trust you. But the way you treat the folks walking through your door? That’s what’s gonna keep them coming back when they’re shopping for a new vehicle, replacing a flat tire, or detailing out their investment.

Waitlist Me is an app that ensures your customers are treated like VIPs every time they’re in your waiting room. Here’s how it could help your business get a jump on your competition.

Keep customers on your lot

Car shoppers want to go from browsing to trying to buying on their time, not yours. Watching later arrivals jump the line? That’s a definite no-no—and so is tapping their toes on the sidewalk while they wonder when it’ll finally be their turn. Waitlist Me keeps things more orderly (no skipping!). Add shoppers to it when they first arrive to show them you care, and let them browse your inventory while they wait for the next available sales associate.

Bonus! When you use Waitlist Me, you can allow your customers to add themselves to your list from wherever they are. That means they put their name on the waitlist while they’re in transit—and you’ll be ready to help them the minute they pull up to your curb.

Let customers escape your waiting room

It doesn’t matter if they’re waiting for the finance department or for a patched tire: Nobody likes to hang out in a waiting room. Waitlist Me’s text notification feature sets your customers free. The app allows you to send them a quick text when it’s their turn. If they’re farther away than the water cooler, it lets them notify you that they’re on their way.

Bonus! Drop-offs keep you busy without packing your waiting room. Waitlist Me makes drop-offs better for everyone, thanks to our public waitlist feature. Customers can check their place in line to get a better idea of how much longer the wait will be, so they don’t have to keep asking about it.

Easily manage appointments and walk-ins

Most systems let you schedule appointments or walk-ins. Waitlist Me lets you do both. The app’s simple visual interface lets you scan your day’s bookings and quickly figure out where you can squeeze in drop-in customers. You can even color code different types of appointments—say, an oil change or a detail—to help you better manage your resources.

Bonus! Your employees should spend time working, not fumbling through difficult computer programs or messy appointment books. We designed Waitlist Me with ease in mind, making it a cinch to train new staff members and use every single day.

Friday, August 26th, 2016 .

You know there are ways you could be using technology more in your restaurant business, but with millions of apps to choose from, how do you know where to start?  Well now there is a comprehensive new resource on the top free apps from the people at Orderly.  They definitely know their stuff when it comes to restaurant technology and have their own free Snap App for paperless invoicing that lets you capture, manage, and share invoices online.

The ultimate list of 50 Free Apps for Restaurants has a lot of great ideas for making managing your restaurant easier. These free apps will help you talk to your customers, organize your to-do list, hire the right people, speed up your processes, and market your business. You’ll find descriptions, features and benefits for your restaurant under each listing and links to download the apps for free.

Orderly_eBook_50-Apps_Cover

 

They are also divided up into categories to help you focus on specific areas of your business that you might want to improve.  The categories are:

  • Top 10 Must Have Apps (Waitlist Me is one of these!)
  • Best 12 Apps for Restaurant Organization & Productivity
  • 6 Apps for Phenomenal Customer Service
  • 9 Apps to make restaurant marketing 10X Easier
  • 6 Must-Have Apps for Recipe Planning & Organization
  • 7 Apps for No-Hassle Stock Photos, Images and Design

 

Check out the report.  You’ll be glad you did.

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017 .

Building on our launch of table section management features a few months ago, we have added some new features to make it even easier to know where to seat the next customer.  Labeled mode displays valuable activity metrics, section notes help you track servers covering each section, and additional waitlist integration makes it faster to do more from the table management screen.  Here is a video that highlights some of these new features and shows more on how to set up your section and layout management strategies:

 

Labeled mode

In “Labeled” mode, you’ll also see additional details about each section.  The “Open” metric shows the number of available tables as well as the total available seats at those tables.  The “Filled” metric shows the percentage of seats occupied in a section along with the counts of the occupied and total seats.  These key stats help make smarter decisions faster.  For instance, when a group comes in that’s too big for one table, you can instantly see which sections have enough empty tables, with enough empty seats, to accommodate them.  And you can also see how many of the seats in each section are filled, and ensure that each server gets their fair share of the work, not just their fair share of the tables.  These metrics are also visible in the “Size” and “Status” sorts for seeing breakdowns of availability by table size or overall status.

 

Section Notes

You can add comments to each section—for instance, to identify who’s working where, or to leave a reminder about a special event.  Just tap “Add Notes,” fill in your remarks, and then tap “Save.”  Instead of having to set up complicated server scheduling or other section tracking processes, the notes feature lets you make updates faster and more naturally.  It’s as easy as the common practice of writing server names on a laminated floor plan, but with all the advantages that our app has to offer for seeing real-time data, easily knowing where to seat the next customer, syncing information across devices, and more.

 

More Waitlist Integration

If you like working within the table management view of the app, it is nice to be able to assign customers from the waitlist, notify them their table is ready, and seat them at the table without having to switch back to the waitlist view.  Now you can.

From the action bar, when you tap on add, you can choose someone who’s already on your waiting list, and serve them at that table, right now.  If the table is already occupied, this removes the old party from the waitlist, and seats the new one, with one tap.

Or, if you’re not ready to seat them yet, you can just “assign” them to use that table next.  If the new customer has stepped away, you can even make the assignment and also send them an SMS text message, asking them to come back.  When they’re ready to take their seats, just tap on the table, and then tap “Next.”

You can also add a new customer by tapping a table.  Just fill in their name, phone number, and other details.  The table has already been selected, so you can go ahead and seat the customer right now, or add them to your waitlist, or even make a reservation, all in one place.

 

Quick Seating

When you aren’t crowded you probably seat customers at tables without taking their name.  You can still track that the table is occupied and for how long by using the status button in the action bar.  This makes it easy to keep track of your availability without having to create a customer for each table.  You may want to start tracking your table availability at a certain time, like before it gets busy, and you can mark all your tables that are currently occupied all at once.  Just press and hold on one table to use the multi-select feature, then tap on all the tables that are occupied, and then tap the status button to make them occupied.

Tuesday, July 7th, 2020 .

From the perspective of a restaurant customer:

If you had told me in January that 2020 was going to the year of a pandemic, that wearing a mask to the supermarket would be necessary, and we’d all be forced into quarantine for weeks on end, I would have laughed out loud. This year has been nothing but strange, I think we all agree on that, and as we begin to transition into “normalcy,” we are all curious as to what the new normal will look like. And as nerve wracking as it may be, I personally can say I am excited. I’m excited to see friends and family, I’m excited to go to the beach, and I’m most excited to get back to restaurants. 

I’ve always had an immense passion and love for food, and as much as I love to cook, I am very over it. As cities and states begin to roll out their reopening plans, restaurants are opening their doors to customers for both patio and indoor dining options. But even as restrictions lift, there are still rules and regulations in place to keep both guests and staff safe, which I appreciate deeply. Although I am excited to sit with friends and enjoy a meal at my favorite places, I also want to ensure that we are being safe and remaining healthy.

My favorite restaurant might not look identical to pre Coronavirus times, nor are the rules in place going to be the same. But, as a guest, it’s important to respect and embrace these differences. My server will more than likely be wearing a mask, I may not be able to sit at a table with 10+ of my closest friends, and I may be asked to wait in my car, rather than at the bar, for my table. All of these changes are ok! I will survive! The restaurants are doing the best they can during a seriously challenging time and it’s important as guests to show up, show support, and show understanding. 

The list of differences from past to present can go on and on, but I think focusing on the future and adapting to what many are calling the “new normal” is what is most important. Restaurants are equipped with the best systems, staff, and regulations and we now have to be the best customers and come equipped with all they ask for. 

Top Three Things to Remember When Dining Out:

Social Distance: Remember to stay 6 ft. away from anyone outside of your party, when possible. To help both the customers and the staff during this transition, restaurants may invest in an app like Waitlist Me. Waitlist Me provides staff with easy and effective ways to manage their waitlist and reservations both in Coronavirus and non-pandemic times. Being able to send a text message to a guest when their table is ready so they don’t have to wait inside is a great feature for reducing crowds. 

Hygiene, hygiene, and more hygiene! It may be the restaurant’s job to sanitize more frequently and ensure their staff is healthy; but it is your job to always wash your hands, and to check your own health before walking in the doors.

Respect the guidelines put in place by each individual restaurant. Many restaurants are urging guests to wear masks when possible. Some are asking you to please sanitize your hands before entering. And, others have detailed layouts for guests to follow to help prevent exposure. The list goes on, so pay attention and read the signs! 

You might look at this list and scoff, but remember, the restaurant may not look the same and the rules might not be the same but the food IS still the same, and that’s really what is important. So if you’re like me and you have a deep admiration for all things food, then get out and support your favorite spot (and all their new quirks) – again, and again, again.