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App used at local restaurant texts customers when their table is ready
Linda Hoang, CTV Edmonton
Published Thursday, December 6, 2012 4:01PM MST
An Edmonton restaurant is using an app to change customers’ dining experiences.
Original Joe's in Terwillegar is using the app, NoWait, to help better manage lineups and crowds. Customers waiting for a table can leave the building and be alerted when a table is ready for them, through a text message sent by the app.
“We’ve made it a lot more efficient with this online system,” said Ally Stone with Original Joe's Terwillegar.
Customers don’t have to download anything.
If they arrive and there’s a wait for tables, the host asks for a customer’s name and cell phone number.
The information is inputted into the app, which is loaded onto an iPad at the host stand, and customers will receive a text when their table is ready.
“They don’t have to wait in the building if they don’t want to, we can text them when their table is ready so that’s really nice,” Stone said.
The restaurant has been using the app since the summer as a way to address long lineups and crowds at the front of the building and has received positive feedback so far.
“I think it’s useful,” said customer Ashley Love.
“I worked at a restaurant years ago and it was the buzzer system but you could only go so far… you would go too far, you’d miss your buzz, come back and there are issues so this way you could maybe jump in your car if you wanted and go across the street and it’s not a big issue.”
Eyobe Melketsadik came to watch a game at the restaurant and says the app lets him use his wait time more efficiently.
“I was going to sit and do some work or kill a few minutes while I was waiting for the table so now I can go to Starbucks or go across the street or go to the convenience store or do something else while I’m waiting,” Melketsadik said.
“I think it’s more convenient. It makes sense because it’s easy to connect with me, just get a text when the table is ready.”
Luke Panza, one of the founding partners for NoWait, told CTV News on Thursday that Original Joe's Terwillegar joins more than 1,000 restaurants across North America using the app.
“We started in Pittsburgh but now we’ve expanded to all 50 U.S. states, even Alaska and Hawaii,” Panza said. “It’s really growing very quickly.”
Restaurants in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver also use the app.
Panza says NoWait addresses a need in the restaurant industry.
“I think it is really changing the way we think about getting a table at a restaurant,” Panza said.
“We’ve raised $2 million in venture capital recently in August of this year which really proves that we’ve demonstrated a very valuable tool for restaurants and a very exciting market.”
Panza said the company has seen other similar apps in the market.
“It proves that what we’re doing is a viable solution,” he said.
Most restaurants using the app are using it for free but there is a paid version for restaurants who see higher volumes of customers. There are also customizable features that owners can pay extra for.
Panza, and Stone, both say people like the idea behind NoWait.
Stone says the only concerns that have been brought up over Original Joe's using NoWait is whether the restaurant keeps the personal information of the customer once they’re seated.
Stone says that doesn’t happen.
“At the end of the night when we close, the NoWait system, it drops every single number. There’s no tracking involved in it,” Stone said.
With files from Laura Lowe