NoWait has raised over $2 million to save diners the inconvenience of waiting at restaurants.
Americans spend roughly 37 billion hours each year waiting in line. Waiting for an extended period of time, researchers found, can causes stress, boredom, frustration, and dissatisfaction.
Seating people in a timely, organized manner is thus an important component of a diner’s overall experience. NoWait strives to add an additional layer of customer service by making inevitable wait times more organized, transparent, and manageable.
Restaurants can use this iPad app to keep track of available tables and alert customers with a text message when their table is ready. Rather than hovering like a vulture around that large group lingering over dessert, wielding a UFO-like buzzer, or worrying that you’ll lose your spot while you drink to kill the time at the bar next door, NoWait provides a more convenient alternative for hosts and patrons alike.
It creates wait lists and stores them online, including information about the parties, wait times, and status updates. Customers can be notified with one-touch when they are ready to be seated, as well as check their position on the list. They can also respond to the message to confirm their place.
The iOS app syncs multiple devices around a restaurant, so all data is updated in real time. NoWait will also deliver an analytics report that reviews the number of people on the wait list, walk-outs, and actual vs. quoted wait times, so restaurants can keep tabs on their efficiency.
The company currently has clients in 45 states and is signing hundreds of new locations every month. In the past year, over 4 million customers have been seated. It takes the convenience of OpenTable and applies it to casual dining. It is a useful solution for restaurants that do not take reservations, as well as for customers who do not book tables in advance.
This investment came from Birchmere Ventures, Sand Hill Angels, and Innovation Works (IW). The app was built with seed funding from IW’s AlphaLab Tech Accelerator and Carnegie Mellon University Open Field Entrepreneurs Fund. NoWait is based in Pittsburgh.