What is the point of restaurant apps, and are they any use to travellers? Donald Strachan reports
This is a win:win for the hospitality industry. Have you ever been to a city and having asked where is a great place to eat, only to find that you need to book a week in advance and you’re only in town for 3 days?
That happened to me in Nashville 2 year’s ago. One of my songwriting teachers recommended Jack’s Bar-b-Que on Broadway. We thought we’d give it a go, only to find that the most outstanding feature was the queue, pun intended.
We stood in the line for about half an hour and it didn’t seem to be moving much and the night was moving on. They couldn’t give us any idea of how long it was going to take, so we moved up the road to Robert’s Western World where we heard some great music and saw a crazy collection of boots left by the stars on the feature wall. We never got to find out why there was such a big queue, but I’m guessing the food, the ambiance and the entertainment was pretty good.
So Jack’s obviously don’t have to worry about cancelled orders, table turn and generally making a healthy profit, but most restaurants aren’t like that.
I have spent a lot of time understanding the hospitality industry because I sold technology into it. I was part of a team that introduced electronic waiter pads into many restaurants and chains in Australia and New Zealand together with Casio. We changed the concept for many restaurants into having a front person who talk orders and developed relationships with the customers, sold them more drinks and desserts, where most of the profit came from, reduced queues, increased table turn whilst making the dining experience more enjoyable.
I tried later, unsuccessfully as a registered Four Square Ambassador to get Foursquare to allow my business to manage location based marketing accounts on a single parent account for tourist and hospitality businesses. They wouldn’t allow it and it wasn’t practical for me to establish a model where I would have to have staff with dozens of accounts open in order to do real time deal offers to people based on their proximity to a restaurant or attraction.
It is great to see the industry moving on. It is a tough industry and its not easy for customers either. How many times have you walked up a street looking through windows, being harangued by wait staff, only to walk back down again, still not having made up your mind?
This type of solution means that you can find what you want, see the menu’s, read reviews, find out the best seats, make a booking or put your name down for a cancellation when it comes up in the restaurant everyone wants to be seen at, that doesn’t allow queues at the door.
Looks like a win for everyone, especially now that the Internet and even GPS driving directions are as close as your mobile. Thank you I will take that cancellation. According to the navigation system I will be at your door in 36 minutes. Table for four upstairs please.