Do Restaurants Win or Lose when Review Sites Manage their Waitlists?

Diner Review Sites and Waitlist Management - The Inherent Conflict of Interest

Diner Review Sites Waitlist Management NextME Yelp

Photo Courtesy of Twilio

With the introduction of ‘Jump Into Line’ and other features, Yelp is making waves in the restaurant waitlist market. Since it’s a big name that most everyone knows, many diners are jumping on board but restaurant operators have been feeling wary of implementing Yelp’s new features. Yelp’s acquisition of NoWait in March of 2017 brought them a large number of restaurant clients who may not necessarily approve of Yelp’s service or practices. Although using one platform for everything - from waitlist management and operations to diner reviews - seems like a good idea, we began to wonder… Who really wins and loses when a diner review site starts managing a restaurant’s waitlist?

Having easy access to a review platform and the ability to book a reservation is a win for consumers - we aren’t here to debate this fact. But what about the conflict of interest this creates for businesses? Based on our research and the opinions of some industry experts, it’s clear that there must be a compromise solution that provides a great experience for customers without being detrimental to restaurant operations and brand perception. It seems a number of restaurants aren’t happy with the platform and are looking for alternatives. Here’s why...

Sending diners to a review site while waiting in line can increase negative reviews

We all know that there are certain times we can expect a crowd at our favorite restaurants. But that doesn’t mean we don’t hate waiting. If you’re using a review app to manage your restaurant’s waitlist, you’re sending people to a review site at the exact moment they’re most likely to be annoyed by having to wait.  

According to The Street, two of the top restaurant complaints are an unexplained wait and slow service. Review sites like Yelp are trying to sell restaurateurs on a system that would recommend customers post a review while they’re waiting for a seat. Common sense says this is a bad idea. And yet, many restaurants are turning to this review site to manage their wait lists.

Wouldn’t you rather have a simple and effective waitlist solution that allows you to control the content your waiting customers are given? NextME allows you to do just that. With this easy-to-use app, you can send your guests to a page that gives them information and entertainment, rather than asking them for reviews. Your guests can explore the menu, learn about current specials, and interact with social media. So their wait time will seem shorter and they’ll be ready to order by the time they’re seated. The best part about NextME is that diners DO NOT have to download a mobile app.

Review sites build features that benefit diners, not necessarily restaurants

At first, Yelp’s ‘Jump Into Line’ feature may seem like a good idea. Customers can get their names on your list remotely, so they’ll have less wait time when they arrive. Great, right?

What about when large parties jump in? And how can your host or hostess quote accurate times when they don’t know who may be jumping in? There are a number of reasons this feature may not be a good fit for every restaurant.

But review sites like Yelp has now made it mandatory for restaurants to use their 'Jump Into Line Remotely' feature. Don’t like it? Tough. You’re stuck with it.

NextME, by contrast, allows you to opt-in for only the features you actually want. Our system has launched a similar feature to allow guests to put their names on the list remotely, but you won’t be stuck with it if it doesn’t work for you. Instead, you’ll get to try it out, see if you like it, and if not, simply turn this optional feature off. With NextME, you maintain control over what features are offered to guests, to help you create the most efficient and useful system for your needs.

Review sites are overpriced compared to apps that specialize only in waitlist management

We all know margins in the restaurant industry are notoriously thin. Managing the money to keep your head above water can be a challenge during slow periods. So why would you want to pay big money for a system that doesn’t even work well for you?

Review apps like Yelp, are highly overpriced compared to other apps that specialize only in waitlist management. Yelp just increased its price from $100 per month to $300 per month. That’s $300 out of your budget each and every month. Wouldn’t you rather spend that money elsewhere?

By contrast, NextME's paid plans start at $29.99 per month, and we even have a free option for those who are just starting out or who don’t need our more in-depth features.

So you can spend your money on a big name, hoping you can make your restaurant fit into their system. Or you can spend way less for a top-notch system that is customizable to fit your needs. The choice is yours.

All review sites require diners to download a separate app to check their places in line

Some guests are more than happy to download and store dozens of apps on their phone, no matter how frequently they may use them in the future. But more often, convincing a guest to use precious space on their phone is a challenge. And for others, they just don’t want to be forced into downloading something that they’re not sure will be of benefit.

All review sites require diners to download a separate app to use the waitlist feature. So your restaurant winds up having to sell diners on someone else’s business. And if they don’t buy in you’re forced to manage their wait on your own, separate from others who have the app installed. This is inefficient and inhospitable to new guests.

One of the major benefits of NextME is that our system doesn't require, or even request, a download. Instead, we’ll simply text a link to waiting diners, and they can then view content on a web page you’ve designed. Your host stand will have the app, guests will have a seamless experience directed through the web browser of their choice. What could be simpler?

The bottom line...

You want to entertain and inform, not beg for reviews from annoyed guests. You want to maintain control over your business and use only the features that actually work for you. You want to keep costs low and features high. And you want a solution that doesn’t require guests to download yet another app they don’t actually want.

NextME offers all this and more. Why not schedule a demo today to see how our waitlist solution can work for you?


Best Brunch Las Vegas

NextME's Guide: Top 10 Brunch Spots in Las Vegas

We all know that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. But honestly, Vegas brunches are too good not to share! If you’re looking for some of the best brunch spots on and off the Las Vegas strip, NextME's got the goods right here.

Energetic Brunch at Eureka!

Photo Courtesy of OC Foodies
Photo Courtesy of OC Foodies

With a cozy patio, quirky decor, and handpicked house music spun by a live DJ, Eureka! Is a fun, upbeat option for brunch downtown. You’ll find them on East Fremont Street, just blocks from the Fremont Street Experience. The brunch menu features standards like steak ‘n’ eggs and chilaquiles. But be sure to try some of their delicious fried chicken topped with a jalapeño-infused maple glaze and served with a side of crispy bacon. Or order the avocado toast for a unique twist on this brunch staple (hint: chimichurri sauce). No matter what you order, be sure to try some of their handcrafted drinks, and enjoy some people watching as you munch!

Island Brunch at Kapuna Cafe

Brunch Las Vegas
Photo Courtesy of Kapuna Cafe

Sometimes you just want to get away from it all and enjoy some island vibes. If you can’t manage a trip to the tropics, go for the next best thing with brunch at Kapuna Cafe on North Decatur Blvd. From Kalbi (grilled short ribs) to Mochi Pancakes, and plenty of spam if that’s your thing, they’ve got the island flavors you’re sure to adore. Everything is cooked fresh and served up hot by amazingly friendly staff. Stop by and see why Vegas is called the ninth island!

Diner Brunch at Norm’s Diner

Photo Courtesy of Eater Vegas
Photo Courtesy of Eater Vegas

If you’re looking for an old-school diner style brunch, look no further than Norm’s Diner on S. Durango Drive. They’re proud to serve up some of the best benedicts in town, along with all sorts of breakfast and lunch staples. It’s the sort of place that attracts regulars because the food is just that good. And it ought to be. After all, Norm used to be a chef for the Las Vegas Hilton, back when Elvis played there.

Chinese and Brunch at the Northside Cafe & Chinese Kitchen

Photo Courtesy of SLS Las Vegas
Photo Courtesy of SLS Las Vegas

If you’ve ever craved a side of fried rice with your brunch entrees, we’ve got the perfect brunch spot for you! Northside Cafe & Chinese Kitchen in the SLS Las Vegas Hotel and Casino offers the best of breakfast, alongside over 40 authentic Chinese dishes. The breakfast menu is available all day and night, but the dim sum starts after 11am, so come in the late morning or early afternoon for the best selection. They’ve got dishes ranging from Caramelized Banana Pancakes to spicy Salt & Pepper Squid, with several American, Mexican, and even Italian offerings as well.

Home Cookin’ Brunch at Peg’s Glorified Ham n Eggs

Photo Courtesy of Eater Vegas
Photo Courtesy of Eater Vegas

Peg’s Glorified Ham n Eggs serves up delicious home cooked food in Henderson and Las Vegas. It may be the most extensive brunch menu you’ve ever encountered, so be sure to bring your appetite. From standard egg plates and skillets to their delicious Tex-Mex, Hawaiian, and New York Deli specials, you’re sure to find something perfect for everyone in your party. And while each person is likely to find a unique flavor to dine on, one thing will be the same for all: the food is amazing, perfectly cooked, and served by friendly staff.

Granola Brunch at Rooster Boy Cafe

Photo Courtesy of Las Vegas Weekly
Photo Courtesy of Las Vegas Weekly

The Rooster Boy Cafe on Regatta Drive in beautiful Desert Shores is the sort of friendly, neighborhood cafe where everyone feels instantly at home. They’ve got some really delightful options for all-day breakfast, including several dishes for those with dietary restrictions. But the real star of this show is their delicious breakfast bowls made with Rooster Boy’s own special blends of granola. We’re pretty sure you’re going to fall in love with the decadent tastes, but don’t worry! You can even get bags of granola to go so you can re-create your favorite bowls at home.

NYC Jewish Deli Brunch at Sadelle’s

Photo Courtesy of Food & Wine

If the York Deli scene is your passion, Sadelle’s in the Bellagio Conservatory is the place to go. They serve all day breakfast including all the usual favorites, from fried chicken to omelets to sticky buns. But their fresh, hot bagels are the real standout here. Be sure to try out the Sadelle’s Tower, with perfectly smoked salmon and luxe caviar. Looking for sweet rather than savory? Keep an eye peeled for the pastry cart with its fresh and delicious baked goods.

Craveable Healthy Brunch at SkinnyFATS

Photo Courtesy of SKINNY FATS
Photo Courtesy of SKINNY FATS

The tag line at SkinnyFATS is “Live Healthy, Live Happy” and one taste of their mouth-watering food will show you just how well they adhere to it. From chia puddings to smothered breakfast burritos, these dishes will delight just about any taste preference. This eatery features a split menu: half healthy, half decadent, and all incredibly yummy. And with four Vegas locations and an additional two in Henderson, you’re sure to have one nearby, wherever you are.

Ultimate Brunch Buffet at the Wicked Spoon

Photo Courtesy of Cosmopolitan

In a city famous for its buffet options, Bacchanal Buffet is our pick for the best brunch buffet in Vegas. Located in Caesar’s Palace, this huge food hall has everything you could possibly want in a brunch spot. The New York Post has called this one the best buffet in the country, and Thrillist says it’s “the standard against which all Las Vegas buffets are judged,” so you know this one is worth a visit. With seating for 600 in an over 25,000 square foot space, this is an enormous eatery with nine show kitchens and plenty of made-to-order dishes to choose from.

Hidden Gem Brunch at Zenaida’s Cafe

Photo Courtesy of Las Vegas Weekly

Located just off E Tropicana Ave downtown, Zenaida’s Cafe is the kind of welcoming, fun brunch spot you’d expect to draw a huge crowd. Yet it’s far enough from the action of the strip that you’ll find mostly locals here. They have all the usual brunch eats, made to perfection and delivered to your table by their friendly and helpful staff. Check out favorites like the shrimp and grits, tofu scramble, or avocado toast. And since it’s far from the glitz of the casinos, you can also get some amazing food for reasonable prices here!