When was the last time you tried to visit that new restaurant in town, or went to a buzzing brunch spot that doesn’t take reservations? Chances are your waitlist experience was awful. Did you put down your name, head somewhere else, and hope you’d make it back in time? Or maybe you decided to stand around awkwardly in a crowded lobby? If you were really lucky, you might have been given a buzzer with a range of a whopping 50 feet to nag you when your table is ready.
Restaurants don’t like waitlists, either. Pen and paper management methods require lots of training time to learn — time that restaurant managers have in short supply — and high turnover of front-of-the-house staff means training people again and again. Those buzzers? If a restaurant wants to use them (and many don’t, thinking they’re cheap and chain restaurant-y) they’ll need to pony up as much as $6,000 just for the transmitter, while the buzzers themselves — often lost or damaged by customers — can reach $100 a pop.