Call us traditional — because we are on some matters — but we'd rather be greeted and check in with a human. Then we're happy letting the computer program run its course.
— Kristen Hawley
For all the talk about robots replacing human labor in the kitchen, Yelp may have just introduced a way for a computer to replace the host stand.
The company today unveiled Yelp Nowait Kiosks, an extension of its Nowait feature that allows diners to virtually add themselves to a restaurant’s wait list. The kiosks, which Yelp calls “particularly valuable to restaurants that don’t employ a dedicated host,” allow guests to check in and receive a notification of their position via their phone. (So, basically, a high-tech version of lists and clipboards hanging on the wall.) It’s currently in use at restaurants in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York.
Yelp acquired Nowait in 2017. “Nowait services the casual dining market and it’s focused on these high-traffic, high-volume casual dining experiences, which are a much larger space of anywhere between 300,000 and 500,000 restaurants,” Yelp senior vice president of business and corporate development, Chad Richard, explained to Skift Table last year. “What it is it’s a very modern approach to how restaurants can manage the flow of their business.”
Yelp says that Nowait has saved diners more than 4.1 billion minutes of wait time to date. It’s used primarily by restaurants that don’t accept reservations.