You’ve been there before. You show up with your friends at a restaurant, but lo and behold, there are no tables available. You have to wait. Countless couples, trios, foursomes are called before you.
“Were they here before us?” your friend whispers.
“I don’t know.”
In short, it sucks.
But after flying under the radar since graduating from the ER Accelerator last year, BuzzTable is ready to come out of the restaurant pantry, as it were, and disrupt our dining experience. The company has essentially released two apps, with one forthcoming, that keep both the merchant and the customer in the know about when they’ll be seated, with a mobile loyalty platform built right in.
It starts with a consumer iOS and Android app, BuzzTable, which lets people watch their progress on the wait list while engaging with content from the restaurant itself. Users can send feedback, sign up for rewards, and check out trending dishes as sourced from OpenTable, Yelp, foursquare, etc.
But what if a customer strolls up to a BuzzTable restaurant and doesn’t have the app. Well the company actually has a patent pending solution: the restaurant will ask for the customer’s phone number, and send a text message confirming their place in line, along with a call-to-action to download the app.
Eventually, the BuzzTable app will let users add themselves to a wait list virtually before arriving. Hopefully this feature doesn’t get abused.
On the merchant side, restaurant staffers will have a Waitlist app, which is an HTML5-based web app. The host staff can not only use this to keep track of their wait list, but this is the same app that sends that call-to-action SMS to non-BuzzTable customers.
The third app, which will go live in about a month, works as a dashboard for the merchant. Right now, all analytics, customer feedback, and reward blasts must be done through an email notification system. In the future, however, merchants will be able to send out their own discounts, rewards, and read through customer feedback straight from their very own web dashboard.
BuzzTable has signed on some major NYC restaurants in the last year, including Dinosaur BBQ, Ippudo, Benchmarc Restaurants, Pastis, and Lucky Strike, which is expanding nationally. In a 90 day case study with Dinosaur BBQ, BuzzTable enrolled over 2,000 mobile loyalty members, with 52 percent redeeming a reward and 9 percent providing feedback to the restaurant.
The BuzzTable system itself has an average conversion rate of 26 percent, meaning that one in every four customers to visit a BuzzTable restaurant has downloaded the consumer-facing app.
BuzzTable makes money by charging restaurants a SaaS platform fee to manage their guests through the Mobile App and/or use the WaitList App. Pricing starts at $49 per month.