Restaurants searching for a waitlist app have probably come across solutions like Waitlist Me, one of the most popular platforms available. But restaurants that want to find the best solution for their individual needs should also consider the many Waitlist Me alternatives that exist.
Waitlist apps come with a lot of benefits, especially for busy restaurants. Read on to learn about how a waiting list app can streamline your operations, how to choose the right waitlist solution for your restaurant, and 6 best alternatives to Waitlist Me we think you should know.
What Is a Waitlist App?
A waitlist app is a technology tool that takes old-fashioned paper-and-pen waitlists and makes them digital. Typically, a waitlist app will come with other useful tools for restaurants, including:
- Sorting and filtering tools that will help you seat parties efficiently;
- Easy check in for guests with reservations as well as walk-ins;
- Automated messaging that makes it easy to communicate with parties about the status of their table;
- Personal information collection, so you can remarket to guests after they visit your restaurant.
Why Do Restaurants Need Waitlist Apps?
It should come as no surprise that technology is streamlining and improving the humble restaurant waitlist. For years, waitlists have been kept by pen and paper, usually in an ancient black book that lives on the host stand. But we all know the types of problems an old-fashioned waitlist can present.
For one, a paper waitlist can get lost, become disorganized, or be damaged. Think of the disaster that could ensue if someone knocked over a glass of water onto a full waitlist during a busy dinner rush (yes—it’s happened). A digital waitlist prevents these kinds of situations (and will likely be a lot more legible than the chicken-scratched waitlists of the past).
A waitlist app also frees up the time your front-of-house staff would typically spend manually managing the waitlist. Instead of searching through the waitlist and trying to track parties down and communicate with them about their table status, a waitlist app can automate the whole process, filling open tables and sending out automated messages to waiting guests.
And finally, a waitlist app can collect valuable data. Over time, it can use historical turnover data to estimate things like waiting times more accurately than most humans can. A waitlist app can also collect real-time data about your guests, like their contact information, allergies, special dates, and more—that you can later use to improve your customer experience and remarket to guests.
How to Choose the Right Waitlist App for Your Restaurant
Just as important as deciding to implement a waitlist app at your restaurant is ensuring you choose the right one for your needs.
Important Features for Restaurant Waitlist Apps
When considering a waitlist app, including Waitlist Me or any of the Waitlist Me alternatives listed below, consider these important features:
- Ease of use. Can you and your staff learn to use the app in one shift or less?
- Data ownership. Does the app allow you to own and use the data it collects?
- Pricing. Is the app affordable for your restaurant? Does it require equipment (like a kiosk or iPad) that will add extra costs?
- Features. Does the waitlist app do everything you need it to? Can it collect specific party information, like party size, allergies, or special notes about their visit? Does it use automation to send text messages to waitlisted guests about their table status? Will it make managing your waitlist easier?
Waitlist App vs. All-in-One Digital Tools
When considering all the many waitlist apps that are available, there’s one big downside: A waitlist app might manage your waitlist really well, but that’s all it does.
As we get further into the digital age and technology becomes a more prevalent part of restaurant operations, this is becoming a problem. Many of the new technologies that exist for restaurants are standalone point solutions, meaning they only do one job. In order to take full advantage of all the great restaurant technology tools that exist in 2021, you have to implement a whole stack of point solutions with different functionality.
This has a number of downsides. First is the cost—it can quickly get expensive to pay for all those standalone tools.
Then there’s the time investment. Every time your restaurant adds a new tool, you and your staff need to learn how to use it. That takes time, and as we know in this industry, time is money.
And finally, there’s the challenge of integrating all these different tools. Efficiently running a restaurant requires seamless communication between the front- and back-of-house. Getting different tools (think, your website, your POS, your CRM, your table management software, your waitlist, and any other digital tools you use) to work together can require complex APIs and other solutions. Sometimes, the different point solutions you choose just don’t work well with one another, which can cause new pain points for your staff.
That’s why many restaurants are instead turning to all-in-one digital tools that meet all their needs—for example, a platform that offers waitlist management in addition to other useful digital tools.
Waitlist Me Alternatives: The Best Waitlist Apps for Modern Restaurants
With that in mind, there’s only one Waitlist Me alternative that modern restaurants need.
#1: Popmenu: The Best Waitlist Me Alternative for Modern Restaurants
Popmenu offers an easy-to-use waitlist feature that streamlines the process of adding guests, seeing their wait times, making special notes about their parties, and communicating with them while they wait.
But Popmenu is much more than just a waitlist app. It’s an all-in-one platform that gives restaurants all the tools they need to manage their entire digital presence.
With Popmenu, restaurants can:
- Build and manage eye-catching, mobile-optimized websites.
- Create engaging, interactive online menus.
- Use automated marketing tools (including email newsletters, social media, Google My Business, SMS marketing, and more) to reach new guests and remarket to those who have already visited.
- Offer direct online ordering, contactless dining, pickup, curbside, and local delivery all from one streamlined front-of-house solution.
Here’s the best part: Popmenu offers all of that for a single, flat monthly fee. There are no per-user or per-table costs. Just one affordable monthly fee that never goes up.
Popmenu offers everything that the top waitlist apps have, plus so many other tools that are designed just for restaurants to thrive in the digital age. Ready to see for yourself? Schedule a free demo today.
Other Waitlist Me Alternatives to Consider
These are some of the most popular waitlist management solutions in the restaurant industry, all Waitlist Me competitors you should know:
- Yelp Waitlist: A popular, convenient, and well-known tool that allows guests to add themselves to your waitlist via online booking. Its mobile app, available on Android and iPhone, will appeal to many guests. The big downside? Yelp owns all their personal data, not you.
- OpenTable: Another waitlist platform that allows guests to sign themselves up for your waitlist. But that comes with the same downsides: You don’t get to use any of the guest data that’s collected.
- TablesReady: A simple, straightforward waitlist app that does the job. But compared to the sophisticated marketing tools that come with other waitlist apps, TablesReady feels lacking.
- Waitwhile: Another straightforward solution for appointment scheduling. The biggest downside is it isn’t made specifically for restaurants, with their needs in mind when designing features.
- Hostme: A feature-rich option that can ease many front-of-house pain points—but with a complicated, per-user pricing structure.
Make Digital Restaurant Tasks (Including Waitlisting) Easy and Affordable with Popmenu
Small businesses like independent restaurants need a hassle-free software solution that will do the right job—while helping them save time and money. A standalone waitlist app does one job, but in the increasingly digital restaurant industry of today, is that enough?
Instead of a waitlist app, restaurants need a modern solution for their modern needs: an all-in-one platform that allows them to own their whole digital presence, from first touch to final bite. Schedule a free Popmenu demo today.