Restaurants Save Time and Money with a Waitlist App

Technology is everywhere, from the smartphones we carry with us to the advanced systems in our cars, to the tech in use at places of business large and small. And the restaurant industry is no exception.

From touchscreen food and beverage dispensers that offer diners more options and a serve yourself experience, to biodiesel converters that will convert your used fryer oil to fuel delivery trucks and catering vehicles, technology is improving the way we do business. And better yet, it’s improving the bottom line of an industry with infamously tight margins.

But how, exactly, is all of this progress helping restaurateurs to save? We’ll examine how just one inexpensive bit of technology can increase profits, decrease costs, and help your restaurant run more smoothly even at the busiest of times.

Stop Seating Parties Like It’s 1999

Many eateries who don’t accept reservations are still relying on those costly, germ-ridden pager systems they’ve been using for 20 years or more. Yet these systems are pretty much the opposite of technological progress.

In addition to the sizeable cost of outfitting a restaurant with these bits of last century tech, you’re also on the hook for the expense of maintaining them, and replacement costs that can reach up to $100 per unit. Then there are the man hours spent on upkeep, searching for wayward pagers when guests get tired of waiting and just ditch them in the waiting area, and the eyesore of a blinking tower of plastic that greets your guests when they approach the host’s table.

Ditch the pagers, and instead tap into the technology that most of your diners are already carrying with them anyway. With a waitlist app like NextME, you can replace all of that outdated equipment with a single sleek and sophisticated iPad or iPhone. Plus, the app is a simple solution to implement, and new host staff can be trained and up to speed quickly for a minimum of downtime. As an added bonus, guests don’t even have to download the app to take advantage of the NextME system! They simply give the host their phone numbers, then receive SMS texts notifying them of their wait times and positions in line.

Keep Guests Engaged to Prevent Walkouts

Hosts see it daily. A party comes in, puts their name on the list, and sits down to wait. But when their turn comes and their name is called, the party is nowhere to be found. The host then has to spend valuable time trying to locate them before moving on to the next party in line. It’s a frustrating experience for all involved.

With the NextME waitlist, customers can see exactly where they are in line, along with their estimated wait times - all via SMS texts without needing to download a separate app. Additionally, they can browse the menu, check out your current specials, read reviews on your social media pages, and otherwise engage with your brand while they wait. All of this leads to 25% fewer walkouts over all. But what about those who still leave? Since guests can confirm or cancel their table when they’re told it’s ready, your host won’t have to waste time tracking down wayward parties.

Double Your Table Turns

If you could double the number of tables you could serve per hour at peak times, what would that do for your bottom line? You may be wondering how such a thing is possible, and what it has to do with waitlist apps.

Displaying digital menus to patrons while they wait can significantly cut down on the time spent at the table trying to decide what to order. And since NextME’s customer facing mobile marketing page allows you to display your menu, specials, social media, and other promotional messages to each guest on the waitlist, you can expect tables to turn much faster – up to twice as fast! For those who are counting, that means double the revenue during peak dining hours.

Keep Your Front of the House Running Smoothly

Have you even calculated how much time your hosts spend answering questions about how much longer the wait will be? Or tracking down parties who have wandered off or pagers that have been ditched in the bushes outside? As you’ve already seen, waitlist apps can help eliminate each of these time sinks to allow your hosts to focus on what really matters: hospitality. And that increased staff efficiency means more productivity with fewer FTEs, and a less stressful shift for those working peak hours.

But Does It Really Save Money?

NextME’s track record has been proven, and restaurants can attest to the effect it’s had on their customer satisfaction as well as their bottom lines. Of course, your results will vary depending on the size of your restaurant and the volume of guests you seat on a given day, but it’s not unreasonable to suggest you’ll likely save thousands. In fact, Southport Grocery & Cafe, a tiny brunch destination, saved over $2,000 by switching to NextME. And a larger chain, Lou Malnati's, saved upwards of $10,000 across their 13 locations. So the real question is, can you afford not to update your waitlist?


Latest Tactics in Restaurant Marketing

We have seen a lot of new trends in the restaurant industry over the past year or so. Most of them revolve around visibility tactics to let people know A.) You’re here, and B.) You’re serving great food that people want to eat. At a base level, this is restaurant marketing. Different platforms work best for different restaurants, but there are several factors which contribute to that.

Do you have a dedicated social media staff member, or are you dedicating a host/hostess to throwing up some posts in their free time? Are you giving your patrons incentive to share posts about you and give solid reviews? Before you even answer all that, are you maintaining an updated social media presence with which your patrons can connect with and reach you?

The latest tactics shouldn’t revolve solely around the newest craze in social media, but rather what we have established as functional and fruitful. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are those core platforms. LinkedIn is also viable and depending on the size and classification of your restaurant, you will be able to source some great talent from the site as well. The main thing here is not overloading yourself with work you cannot handle and letting your social media profiles go long periods without updates.

Incentivize your patrons to leave reviews on your Facebook page (it goes a long way). Host giveaways in exchange for page likes and post shares.
Use Instagram to share HQ images of your restaurant and feed them directly to the Twitter profile.

Focus on improving internal operations and find the right tools to do it. Get rid of the pen and paper waitlist and switch to NextME , the only digital waitlist app that diners themselves won’t need to download and the only one that lets you advertise internally.

NextME allows diners to use their cell phone number to hold their place in line. The app sends out text notifications to confirm they’ve been added to the list, and sends out a direct link to a countdown page which lets them know their place in line. The countdown page allows restaurants to host their menu in digital form but also links to the restaurants social media profiles, and other partnered ads which all help to increase restaurant visibility, table turns and patron satisfaction.

Ready To Introduce A Digital Waitlist App To Your Restaurant Employees?

Have any questions or curious as to what benefits a digital waitlist app like NextME can do for your restaurant? Comment below or reach out to us!

It’s time to say goodbye to outdated pager systems! Try a 14-day FREE trial of NextME and replace your expensive pager system with SMS text!