Like so many other things, technology is changing the way people dine out. From online ordering to sharing a photo of beautiful dish on social media, the way we enjoy what we eat at restaurants is a lot different than it was even just a few years ago.
NoWait is trying to push that even further, making a night out at a favorite spot more enjoyable by making it more efficient.
“We like to think of ourselves as the Uber for restaurants,” CEO Ware Sykes said in an interview last week.
NoWait is a seating tool for casual restaurants that allows consumers to get on waiting lists instantly at participating restaurants and avoid places where the wait is too long. All they have to do is download the free app on their phone.
It’s winning over a lot of users. The app has seated over 166 million guests at 3,000 restaurants across the United States, Sykes said.
Even better for the company, the app is in the hands of a lot of Millennials. Right now, Millennials make up 30 percent of the NoWait audience.
Sykes thinks the app fits perfectly with their mindset.
“They want things on demand and they want convenience,” he said. “The Millennials are the next wave of diners for years to come, so it’s really important for restaurants.”
And while the system helps restaurants seat guest faster, it’s also building a larger pool of customers. Because young people spend so much time connected on their phones and tablets, they’re finding out about the app and the restaurants that use the system organically.
For Sykes, it’s a win-win for both restaurants and consumers.
More and more restaurants are understanding just how important technology is to better serving their customers. The personal finance website NerdWallet looked at a number of different dining apps in a blog post last week, showing just how easy it is to find a spot to eat, order a meal and pay your tab right from your phone.
Diners are 35 percent more likely to use technology at a restaurant now than they were two years ago, the website points out, citing data from the National Restaurant Association’s 2015 Restaurant Industry Forecast.
There are a number of story ideas you can take advantage of when looking at technology in the restaurant business. Try the NoWait app and others like it and see how quickly you’re able to find open tables. Ask any local restaurants you find on the app how technology plays a part in what they do and if it’s helping them succeed.
You can ask local restaurants and bars what’s been successful locally. You can also take a look at the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Industry Forecast and find some interesting trends that might apply to your coverage area.
Here are a few links to some interesting dining tech: