Thursday, February 10, 2011

COD: Textaurant – out to end in-person restaurant table waits

Thanks to the ad:tech blog for publishing this first.

If you are a frequent restaurant goer, chances are you spend more than a few minutes a week waiting for a table in one or more locations. I suppose if you are a glass half-full person, you can look at these times as moments for contemplation, or even a way to grow more excited with anticipation about the taste treats you will eventually enjoy.

But for most of us, these times are just annoying.

They’re bad for the consumer, and bad for the restaurant if people arrive, find out there’s a wait, and head down the street to a less popular venue. If one hundred tables worth of people show up at the same time, and 20 walk away, that’s a lot of lost revenue.

Especially since if there had been a way to wait where you want, instead of in the restaurant lobby, you might well have been content to be seated half an hour later for your meal.

For you You YOU there is now Textaurant. With Textaurant, you can see wait times online or on your celly and get in line without actually getting in a line. You simply go about your business until you get a text telling you your table is ready.

Yes yes, some restaurants have those vibrator hand helds that they can give you when you see the host/hostess. But consider what those — and the system to activate them — must cost. As Textaurant points out on their website, you already have something in your pocket that vibrates, so why make restaurants and people deal with a second such system?

And is it just me, or does it also seem to you like when you get handed one of those vibrators, it is sticky with Tuberculosis virus from the previous holder?

For the patron, the Textaurant solution can mean significantly greater convenience, and the platform also gives participating restaurants the opportunity to push promotional offers to opters in.

The restaurants benefit from more patrons over the course of a night/week/month, no need to pay for a buzzer system, and more evenly distributed customers which can lead to better customer experiences and more rational hiring and staffing schedules.

This Boston-based company is just getting started, but has already attracted the attention of the investor and restaurateur communities. It works with most any phone. A simple idea solving a seemingly complex problem.

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