Yelp has acquired restaurant technology startup Nowait in an all-cash deal valued at $40 million.
Founded out of Pittsburgh in 2010, Nowait integrates its technology with that of restaurants to streamline and optimize front-of-house operations, including table turnover and waiting lists. The company had raised around $22 million in funding since its inception, including a strategic $8 million investment Yelp made in the company back in August. The $40 million Yelp is paying for Nowait includes the stake it already acquired.
The partnership was also designed to enable Yelp users to verify restaurants’ waiting times and start queuing remotely — all without leaving the Yelp app. When a diner’s table is good to go, they receive a message, and the Yelp user can message back to say if they’re running late or whether they’re just a few seconds away. It essentially replaces archaic systems involving handheld buzzers or pieces of paper — now everything happens through a smartphone.
“The full integration of Nowait allows us to provide real-time seating availability that better equips diners to make informed decisions,” said Yelp cofounder and CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, in a press release. “Nowait has quickly become an important feature for Yelp users and a valuable addition to our overall restaurant offerings. With this acquisition, we’ll make even bigger strides in the restaurant industry by allowing Yelp users to more quickly move from search and discovery to transacting at a local business.”
This acquisition gives Yelp a direct artery into the waiting list setups in thousands of restaurants — Nowait is already live in around 4,000 restaurants across the U.S. and Canada.
“We’ve had a successful partnership and we’re excited to align fully with Yelp to drive even faster adoption,” added Nowait CEO Ware Sykes. “Together we’ll have the leading waitlist system in the restaurant industry paired with the largest engaged consumer base.”