What is in this article?:
- Wait-list management software improves restaurant operations
- Calculating ROI
Red Robin, Texas Roadhouse, Yard House and Umami Burger are among the restaurant chains using new wait-list technology.
Operators of restaurants with regular waits for tables say they are replacing paper, chalkboards and pagers with more efficient wait-list management software for tablet computers that, among other features, notifies guests of seating availability via text message.
Red Robin, Texas Roadhouse, Yard House and Umami Burger are among the restaurant chains with company or franchised units using this updated form of wait-list technology.
Employees enter guest names, party size and other information using the software and, depending on the program's features, organize the list and prioritize seating by the amount of time a party has been waiting, among other criteria. They also might generate estimated wait times or recap average wait times, note guest seating or service preferences, and track table inventory.
These features often translate to greater efficiencies, according to Todd Sapet, managing partner of Texas Roadhouse in Beaver, Pa. Northern Restaurant Group of Louisville, Ky., the operator of seven franchised Texas Roadhouse restaurants, including the one managed by Sapet, uses NoWait software hosted by NoWait Inc. at all of its locations.
“Literally, since we started using this [software and service], we’ve shaved our waits down to 25 minutes, on average, and rarely go over a 30-minute wait," Sapet said of NoWait, which employees have been using on iPads and iPhones since February. “Traditionally, our waits would be up to an hour, or hour and a half.”
Greenwood Village, Colo.-based Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. has also seen improvements in operations with new wait-list management software. Last week, the company announced that it had rolled out NoshList software from Firespotter Labs to its 330-plus company-operated casual-dining restaurants. The software works on iPads and has text-message and auto-call guest notification capabilities.
Chris Laping, Red Robin’s senior vice president of business transformation, said in a written statement that beyond improving guest experience, the new software “increased seating efficiencies and improved ticket flow through the kitchen.” That combination, he indicated, reduced wait times for guests and improved ticket times for the chain.
Fourteen-unit Umami Burger of Los Angeles also uses NoshList on iPads at all of its locations, according to PJ Patton, general manager of the San Francisco location. She said her team finds useful a feature through which guests can text-message the restaurant back about how long it might take them to return if they are off site, or if they changed their mind about dining there — in which case staff is alerted by the program to remove the party from the wait list.