Mobile wait listing service for restaurants, NoWait, is now expanding the rollout of its consumer-facing mobile app to reach diners nationwide, the company says. The app shows you a list of nearby restaurants, wait times, and distances, and lets you join wait lists from your phone. It first arrived on the market last September serving NoWait’s hometown of Pittsburgh, where in three months’ time it grew from five restaurants to fifty. Over the course of this week, NoWait plans to add a hundred more restaurants to the service across the U.S.
And by year-end, NoWait expects to reach a thousand restaurants, says CEO Ware Sykes. “We’ve been seeding the market for the last two years – we’ll be rolling out to our existing customer base,” he explains.
NoWait’s restaurant partners are those who use the company’s iPad-based host and table management system, a system that replaces and augments traditional restaurant buzzers. Today there are “thousands” of restaurants using the NoWait platform.
Sykes declines to break out how many restaurants are paying for the premium tier of the service, which ranges from $59 to $199 per month, depending on the size and volume of the restaurant. However, the company has several well-known restaurants and chains on board, including Texas Roadhouse, TGI Friday’s, franchises of Chili’s and Buffalo Wild Wings, and it will be rolling out this quarter to On The Border and First Watch.
The company says that its restaurant partners are now seating over 3.1 million diners per month at present, up from 700,000 a year ago. To date, it has sat 30 million diners in total.
Currently, diners receive text messages to alert them that their table is ready, and restaurants can also send out a brief marketing message at that time, too, in order to promote specials or appetizers, for example. In a few weeks, the plan is to introduce a push notifications feature that works with the NoWait consumer app. That way, diners can search for restaurants, add their names to a list, and then receive the alert in one, more seamless experience.
If your preferred restaurant isn’t available, the app will let you vote for it – something which NoWait can later show the restaurants as a part of its sales pitch.
Further down the road, Sykes sees NoWait expanding into other areas, including possibly reservations, or anywhere else where consumers have to wait in line, ranging from hospitals to hotels. “We’re tackling the restaurant industry first – we think we’re making a behavioral change in how people dine out,” Sykes says. “But it’s definitely not outside the realm of possibilities in the future that we would consider [the reservations] market,” he adds.
Restaurant seating management and reservations is a crowded market, with others OpenTable, NoshList, Livebookings, DinerConnection, WaitList Manager, TurnStar, Table’s Ready, NexTable, and more competing in the same general space. But there has been some consolidation here recently with BuzzTable selling to POS maker Leapset and OpenTable’s acquisition of Quickcue. That could be good for NoWait, as it turns out.