The Pittsburgh-based mobile waitlisting service for restaurants, NoWait, which raised $2 million in Series A funding just over a year ago, is now rolling out its first consumer-facing product with the launch of its iOS app for restaurant goers. The new app shows a list of nearby restaurants, wait times and distances, and lets you join the waiting list from your phone.
The ability to virtually “get in line” ahead of your arrival works also for some restaurants that don’t offer online reservations, such as through OpenTable, for example. The NoWait consumer app lets you browse through its supported restaurants, see how busy they are, and enter in your party size to grab your spot.
Initially, the app will only work around Pittsburgh as the company scales its operations, but the plan is to have the consumer version working nationwide by January 2014 – just a few months away.
NoWait operates in a competitive space, where others including OpenTable, NoshList, Livebookings, Timeview, DinerConnection, WaitList Manager, TurnStar, Table’s Ready, BuzzTable and more are also attacking restaurant customer management from various angles. But NoWait’s value proposition goes beyond just replacing the “hockey puck” buzzer system restaurants favor today. Instead, it’s about not only bringing seating management to mobile, but also providing business owners with more analytics and data about how the restaurant is running, even when they’re not able to be physically present in each location.
At the time of the company’s Series A round, it had begun to service some big-name customers including Texas Roadhouse, Red Robin and TGI Friday’s. Though Red Robin is no longer involved, Texas Roadhouse is expanding with NoWait, as are some TGI Friday’s franchises, and the company has since signed up other larger customers including Chili’s, Buffalo Wild Wings (franchises again), and Hal Smith Restaurant Group (includes Red Rock Canyon, Mama Roja, Charleston’s Restaurant, Mahogany Prime Steakhouse, Toby Keith’s I Love this Bar and Grill).
Today, NoWait has 3,500 restaurants using its Floor Map application to manage their tables and waitlists, including also Iron Chef Jose Garces’ Village Whiskey and Hubert Keller’s Burger Bar in Las Vegas. In total, the company has over 12 national restaurant chains on board.
To date, NoWait has sat over 19 million diners, up from 4 million last August. The company also says it’s currently seating over 2 million diners per month, and is on track to seat 3 million monthly by year-end. For comparison purposes, in January 2013, the company was seating 700,000 diners monthly. And to position against a reservations giant: OpenTable is now seating over 12 million diners per month across 28,000 restaurants worldwide.
Restaurants under 200 waitlist parties can use the app for free, while those with more have to step into NoWait’s premium pricing plans, which start at $59/month, and include features like text-based marketing, message customization, and other core features like the floor maps, multiple device sync, daily analytics emails, and more.
The new consumer-facing app was in private beta testing over the past week, but is now available to all Pittsburgh locals, and others soon.