It was girl’s night last Saturday night and when our group of four walked in to the busy, downtown Omaha restaurant Roja we knew there was going to be a wait. As I prepared to tell the hostess my name she caught me off guard when instead she asked for my phone number…
I immediately passed the responsibility on to my friend and gave them her phone number. For two reasons: one) I was thrown off guard and two) I figured there would be future marketing messages and I do not live in the area. Now, after some research and experience this new emerging phenomenon of “no wait” text seating is great!
According to Gere (2013), here is how an app called No Wait works:
- When a diner enters the restaurant, the host inputs the customer’s name and mobile phone number into the iPad running the NoWait Host app.
- Within seconds, the diner receives a text message showing the wait time for their table.
- Smartphone users may also see their place in line through a link inserted in the confirmation text.
- Guests are then free to visit neighboring establishments, allowing them a “Wait Where You Want” experience.
- When the table is ready, the diner receives a text to return to the restaurant to be seated without delay.
If most metropolitan areas are trending like Omaha and Des Moines, there are often restaurants built near small stores and boutiques in outdoor small mall like neighborhoods. If Gere (2013) says over 37 billion hours are spent waiting in line every year in America, than No Wait can only benefit every one, every store owner and every community. These stores that are located near long-wait, popular restaurants will gain traffic while people wait.
Plus, there is the added benefit of collecting phone numbers for future marketing messages. According to Table Ready (a similar app to No Wait), “Table’s Ready may also utilize stored personal information to automatically grant you “VIP” status at restaurants that you visit. VIP diners are identified to restaurants to enable them to offer preferred service to repeat or first-time customers.” Perhaps a free drink upon arrival or appetizer would be granted to these VIPs. I get excited and call “rock star parking” loudly when I find a close parking lot, imagine the gloating when you feel like P. Diddy walking in to Applebee’s because they know your phone number and you texted while riding in the passenger seat on the way over.
Have you been asked for your phone number for no-wait seating? Did you make an unplanned purchase at a nearby store during your wait? Would you be hesitant to share your number?