A fully-booked restaurant with people lining up around the block is the ultimate restaurateur dream. It means that business is booming and customers are attracted to your restaurant. People are literally waiting in line just to dine at your restaurant. Sounds great, right? But with a poorly managed waitlist, what comes next can turn into a nightmare.
Crowds start building up, your hostess and restaurant surveys are struggling to give accurate wait times and serve customers efficiently - and ultimately, your customers start to grow angry. How do you then make sure you are able to capitalize on these potential guests waiting in line and not lose them as potential customers, possibly for good?
That’s where a waitlist app comes in.
How did we collect data about the best waitlist apps?
The websites we used to collect information about various wait list apps include online comparison articles, user generated review aggregators and restaurant industry blogs. Most of the reviews and ratings we've included were sourced from G2.
For company data, pricing and features we looked to the respective company's business website and social media pages.
How did we rank the waitlist apps?
Choosing the correct waitlist app for your restaurant is important. Here are a few key considerations to keep in mind to make sure you’re getting the most out of your investment. We’ll use these considerations as criteria to evaluate the best waitlist app on the market later on in this article
Waitlist apps range from simple to advanced, what’s best for your restaurant depends on your requirements. Are you moving from a pen and paper waitlist? Do you need a system that helps improve your wait times? Or one that just helps you better organize your waitlist? Maybe even just a tool to empower your host stand and front of house staff. Assess the available features of waitlist apps in the market and determine the ones that best suit your restaurant’s needs.
Along with the features, the cost of a waitlist app should also be well-suited for your restaurant. While price shouldn’t be the only factor that should determine your choice, it’s an important one. Make sure that you choose a system that fits into your budget. Also, be wary of any hidden charges or fees that might blow up your spending. Try choosing a system that charges a flat monthly fee rather than a cost per seated online cover.
Just like any new software, your waitlist app should have the capability to easily integrate with your existing technologies like your POS system, table management system, etc. to make your operations streamlined and efficient. It should also be able to run on whatever smart device you and your team use, eg: a mobile device vs. a computer or tablet.
All of the waitlist apps on this list are present on user review websites where you can see what their customers have to say about their experience. We used these websites to evaluate common pros and cons of each waitlist app.
The 10 best restaurant waitlist apps
Now that we’ve assessed the criteria for choosing the right waitlist app, let’s take a look at the top 10 restaurant waitlist apps on the market right now that will save your hostesses hours everyday while delighting your guests.
Eat App is a cloud-based system that provides an all-in-one solution for all your restaurant management needs. It comes with advanced features like reservation management, shift management, CRM, and reporting along with an integrated waitlist app.
Eat App’s reservation system provides a centralized dashboard to manage your restaurant reservations, walk-ins, and waitlist customers all in one place. It allows your hostesses and restaurant staff to quickly and easily add guests to the waitlist directly through the reservation dashboard without eating up extra time during rush hours. Eat App’s advanced reporting capabilities also provide deep insights and help your staff give guests accurate wait times based on historical data.
It also comes with a virtual waitlist feature that allows guests to add themselves to a restaurant’s waitlist directly through the booking widget (which can be added to a restaurant's website or social media pages) if there are no available tables. Once they’re added to the waitlist, guests get live updates about their table and waiting times through SMS. This makes the process more streamlined, improves the customer experience, saves both the guest and the restaurant’s time, and avoids any overcrowding at the restaurant.
Price: Eat App’s table management system with waitlist functionality starts at $0/month.
Compatibility: Eat App’s waitlist app comes integrated with its built-in advanced restaurant management features like CRM, reservations, etc. It can also be easily integrated with your existing POS and phone devices.
Want to try Eat App's waitlist app at your restaurant? Sign-up for the free 14-day trial now!
Capterra Rating: 4.2/5
User Review: Sven on Capterra: I used this software for a client and have been amazed with the features. I don't know of any tool like this, helps greatly with anything restaurant related like reservations, menus, seats and all that good stuff.
Popularly known for its review website, Yelp also offers management tools like table management and reservation system and an integrated waitlist app for restaurants. Yelp’s waitlist app (powered by Nowait) allows guests to view live wait times at a restaurant on Yelp’s app or website and join the waitlist through their Yelp profile. The guests can then track their place in the line through an SMS.
'Yelp Waitlist' also provides daily insights and accurate wait-time estimates based on history. Restaurants could also choose to add a kiosk powered by Yelp at their restaurant through which guests can directly add themselves to the waitlist without a hostess being present. However, the kiosk comes at an additional cost.
Price: Yelp’s table management system which comes with 'Yelp Waitlist starts at a monthly fee of $249/month
Compatibility: 'Yelp Waitlist' also comes with built-in restaurant management tools and can be integrated into your existing POS. However, POS integration is not a part of the standard package.
G2 Rating: 3.8/5
User Review: Herschel on G2: It's seamless and built into Yelp. It is easy to use and is available at many restaurants. It's a popular service already so the environment is already being used.
Waitlist Me is a dedicated waitlist management system that provides an easy and effective way to manage reservations. Restaurants can easily add guests to their waitlist and provide them with accurate wait times based on insights. Similar to other systems, guests also get notified when their table is ready through an SMS. They can also view the current wait times at a restaurant and add themselves directly to the waitlist through a widget
Compared to the other systems, Waitlist Me does not include advanced restaurant management capabilities like table management, reservations management, CRM, etc.
Price: Waitlist Me’s monthly subscription starts at $23.99 and goes up to $79.99 for the more advanced package.
Compatibility: Waitlist Me is a standalone system and does not integrate with any other digital technologies.
G2 Rating: 5/5
User Review: Lorena on G2: I love the app and its way of having my tasks on the waiting list but from when we are ready to read it. You add easily to the person, entering information, time and arrival. Then notify when you're ready and serve better by reducing hikes. I love booking appointments, assignments, reports and more.
OpenTable is a restaurant management solution that comes with an integrated waitlist system. The online waitlist allows people to join the queue from anywhere and notifies them when their table is ready through an SMS. They can also track their place in line in real-time through the OpenTable app.
OpenTable also provides estimated wait quotes to guests based on their party size the tables in a restaurant’s dining room.
Price: OpenTable’s waitlist system is part of its Core package and is priced at $249/month
Compatibility: OpenTable comes with many restaurant management tools like table and reservation management, email marketing, CRM, etc., and offers integration options with other technologies like POS systems.
G2 Rating: 4.1/5
User Review: Tyler on G2: I really like the fact that using their easy customer connect tools via texts helps us track our "wait list" and "incoming guests" before they are seated and while they walk around our resort property before dining. It allows us to keep a steady flow of seating and keeps us from having to put someone on the phones to manages reservation confirmations and reservation changes.
NextME is a simple waitlist management system to help restaurants serve more guests. Their easy-to-use interface allows staff to quickly add guests to the waiting list.
It also comes with a Virtual Waiting Room feature which acts as a digital storefront for guests waiting in line. Restaurants can personalize their virtual waiting room on Next ME according to their branding and add offers, social media accounts, etc. to help engage diners while they wait.
NextME also provides daily, weekly and monthly reports that help streamline your customer service and provide accurate wait times to your customers.
Price: NextME’s basic waitlist management system is available for free for restaurants. However, the more advanced features like the virtual waiting room are including in the standard and pro package priced at $50/month and $125/month respectively.
Compatibility: NextME provides API integration with different loyalty apps and POS systems to help provide a more seamless experience.
G2 Rating: 5/5
User Review: Christopher on G2: Great user experience with very helpful analytics. This app helps us efficiently notify potential customers by text when their table is ready as well as lets us dive deep into the numbers in order to make better decisions. We're a small store so this helps us keep our store from being over crowded and provide a better experience for everyone.
Hostme is an intuitive restaurant management software that offers table management, CRM, and waitlist solutions. It provides restaurant staff with a centralized system to manage their reservations and waitlists.
Diners can join the waitlist virtually through the Hostme widget before they visit the restaurant. They can also be updated about their wait time and when their table status is ready through an SMS and choose to skip a turn and let the next person on the waitlist go first in case they’re running late.
Hostme also gives customers loyalty points if they experience long wait times at a restaurant.
Price: Hostme’s basic waitlist management system is part of its Piccolo package prices at $39/month. However, for the advanced table management, the packages start from $99/month.
Compatibility: Hostme comes with various restaurant management features and can be integrated with different digital restaurant solutions like POS systems.
G2 Rating: 4/5
User Review: Anonymous review from G2: I really liked how the entire table layout was illustrated. The description of each table on the right side was super beneficial.
TablesReady is an SMS focused waitlist app that gives businesses the ability to create custom online waitlists with basic reservation capabilities. Although built to adapt to any situation, one major use case of TablesReady is in the restaurant industry.
Diners can join waitlists online through the TablesReady widget and get real-time updates about their wait time as well as 2-way communication between the restaurant and guests. TablesReady also offers a display feature to allow restaurants to publicly communicate wait times in your waiting area.
Price: Restaurants that want to start using TablesReady can do so for $49/month.
Compatibility: TablesReady can integrate with your SquarePOS system.
G2 Rating: 4/5
User Review: Anonymous review from G2: We use Tablesready for a client's restaurant and app. The sheer simplicity of it really is it's great selling point as it was super easy to train the staff.
WaitWhile is an online waitlist and appointment scheduling solution that is built for the modern world. Similar to TablesReady, WaitWhile is designed to support a plethora of industries - one being the restaurant industry.
WaitWhile leans into the idea of giving your customers the ability to save time while waiting by allowing them to wait from anywhere. A feature that essentially all other waitlist management systems also offer - but WaitWhile makes it their priority.
WaitWhile comes stocked with automated messaging, 2-way communication, post dining reviews but will not offer you and restaurant management features.
Pricing: WaitWhile’s plans start at $23/month and go up to $49/month for more advanced features and support for more restaurants and restaurant visits.
Compatibility: WaitWhile integrates with a host of online platforms. These include Slack, Salesforce, Mailchimp, Facebook, etc.
G2 Rating: 4.8/5
User Review: Anonymous review from G2: The end user experience was great for what we needed to use this product for. It was easy to use for guests, and we were able to get the information and communicate with them as needed.
Obee is a fully featured restaurant management system designed to serve restaurants of all sizes. The online system offers table management, waitlist management and reservations management from one system.
Obee offers most of the standard restaurant management features you’ll find in other systems, but does them very basically. Their waitlist solution is pretty rudimentary when compared to other waitlist apps, but could be useful for less tech savvy restaurants or casual dining establishments.
Pricing: Obee’s pricing starts at $99/month.
Compatibility: Obee integrates with a few marketing services like MailChimp and Campaign Monitor.
G2 Rating: No ratings found
User Review: No reviews found
Maximize your appointment bookings with FlexBooker's innovative SMS-based automated waitlist system. With this feature, your customers can effortlessly join a waitlist for fully booked appointments.
In the event of a cancellation or opening, FlexBooker will send a text message to the next customer in line, allowing them to quickly book the newly available slot. This eliminates the need for manual intervention on your part and ensures that your schedule remains full and efficient, leaving you with one less thing to worry about.
Pricing: The basic plan of Flexbooker which can accommodate up to 4 employees starts at $39/month.
Compatibility: Flexbooker integrates directly with WordPress, SquareSpace, Shopify, Google Calendar, Outlook, Office 365, Microsoft Exchange, Apple Calendar and Zoom.
G2 Rating: 3/5
User Review: Anonymous review from G2: Free signup without credit card is appreciated. Integration with popular. Meetings platform is helpful. Reporting module provides the necessary dashboard view.
While there are many different digital waitlist management apps to choose from, the best waitlist apps for your restaurant are the ones that suit your requirements and budget. Whether you’re looking for a simple paper waitlist substitute or an advanced digital waitlist solution, there is something for every restaurant.
With the right waitlist, restaurants can capitalize on the buzz and make sure that they are able to serve as many customers as possible without impacting the overall guest experience.
Frequently Asked Questions about Restaurant Waitlist Apps
To help recap the article above and provide additional helpful information, we're answering some of the most common questions about restaurant waitlist apps.
What is a restaurant waitlist app/restaurant wait list app?
A restaurant waitlist app transforms your pen and paper waitlist into a streamlined digital system that helps restaurants organize and optimize their waitlists during busy hours, saving both time and effort, and enabling a better experience for waiting guests while predicting an accurate wait time.