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Time Well Spent: Evolving the Restaurant Waitlist

Time is important. To everyone. And the value of time often differs from one person to the next, as can be seen in the way that it is measured; from feeling good about a productive day at work, to the importance of spending time with friends and family. We all live busy lives and we almost always feel like there is never enough time in the day. Wasting it is not an option.

As luck would have it, technology is continuing to play an increased role in recovering some of that precious time, or at least offering ways to better manage it. A welcome feature of our mobile lifestyle is delivering opportunities to simplify those daily tasks and routines that often take up the most amount of time.

Restaurant Waitlist Accomodation

When considering the food and beverage industry, how long is too long to have to wait for an available table at a restaurant or craft brewery? 15 minutes? 25? At what point does standing around, waiting for your name to be called, become a waste of time? For restaurant owners everywhere, being able to effectively manage your customers’ time through the utilization of proper waitlist technology is paramount to the continued success of your business.

Gone are the days when the host or hostess would simply write down your name as “next in line” or hand out a flashing buzzer to advise when your table was available. In recent years, managing a restaurant’s waitlist has become more sophisticated. The overall experience has been enhanced through the use of text messaging, App integration or other similar programs.

Restaurant owners understand that their customers lead busy lives. They are no longer interested in waiting in crowded lobbies for an available table. And at a time when social distancing continues to be on the minds of every customer that walks through their front door, the notion of wasting time is compounded with additional concerns. This is where technology is lending a much needed helping hand and dramatically simplifying the process of operating an effective and robust waitlist.

Advancements in waitlist technology are helping restaurant and craft brewery owners better manage their customer base by establishing more accurate wait times based on table size and number of customers. In doing so, the host of a restaurant is better equipped to engage with and advise their guests when previously reserved or requested tables are scheduled to become available.


Customers may add their name to a restaurant’s digital waitlist, along with the size of their party, from the convenience of a smart phone App. After entering the required information, they are able to identify and track how many parties may be ahead of theirs, as well as be provided with an estimated, but accurate, wait time. When directly integrated with the restaurant’s website, customers are also able to quickly and easily refer to current specials, see any planned events and begin to peruse the menu, before they arrive or are seated.

From the foodservice operator’s perspective, managing a potentially busy evening just became a much simpler and more intuitive process. As an admin user, servers and hostesses are able to quickly review the current digital waitlist, alter the wait times and apply a variety of thresholds that automatically adjust available seating as additional customers opt into the list. As tables become available, the hostess can directly send a message to the customer, advising them that their party may now be seated.

Embracing this technology and streamlining a restaurant’s waitlist strategy is a win-win situation, for both the customer and the waitstaff. Customers are free to continue going about their busy schedule without fear of losing a spot at their favorite restaurant. Foodservice operators are better equipped to more accurately manage the busiest times of the day, seamlessly engage with their customers – keeping them up to date on their reservations – and enjoy the opportunity to turn additional tables on a regular basis.

Looking for more digital marketing options? Check out our full suite of digital options to help your business succeed.

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