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Pittsburgh App Prevents Long Wait At Restaurants

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(Source: KDKA-TV) Kristine Sorensen
Kristine Sorensen joined KDKA-TV as a reporter/anchor in April 2...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Don’t you hate when you really want to try a restaurant that doesn’t take reservations, and when you get there, there’s an hour wait or longer? Now, a new app eliminates the wait at restaurants that don’t take reservations. And a bonus, the app was developed right here in Pittsburgh.

Robb Myer came up with the idea for the NoWait app and created it here in Pittsburgh.

“NoWait is the anti-reservation app,” Myer said. “It’s for all those restaurants that don’t want to take reservations but want to give a better experience to their guests. You use our app to find the next available seating time at restaurants around you and put your name into that list before you ever have to arrive.”

Here’s how it works. Once you download the free app, it’ll show you the subscribing restaurants near you and how long the current wait is at each one. Using the app, you can put your name on the wait list at the restaurant you choose without even setting foot in the restaurant. Then, the restaurant texts you when your table is ready, and you have 10 – 15 minutes to arrive. It helps you plan your evening and make the most of your time.

Emporio, a new meatball restaurant in downtown Pittsburgh, can have a long wait. On a Friday or Saturday night, you can expect to wait an hour to two hours unless you use the NoWait app.

Customer Lauren Gregg used NoWait for the first time at Emporio and liked it.

“It was happy hour,” she said. “I came on a Friday and it was fairly crowded — there was a Pirates game going on.”

An Emporio restaurant patron, Hakeem Bilal, admits that if a restaurant doesn’t take reservations, “it kind of can ruin the mood if you show up, and you’re expecting to be seated, and you’re sitting there waiting for an hour-and-a-half, and you kind of lose that fire a little bit.”

Emporio’s General Manager, Ryan Burke, says that they don’t take reservations, but NoWait is a perfect solution.

“Sometimes those reservations don’t show up, or they’re running late, or the table prior to that reservation eats very quickly and you have a span of time where that table is unoccupied. You don’t want it to do that, but it does,” Burke said. “With NoWait, we keep people coming in rapidly. We keep turning them over quickly, and I think it’s the best convenience for our guests, and it’s the best situation for us.”

NoWait has rapidly expanded since it first started. They went from six to 24 employees in seven years and just raised $10 million to expand even further.

One thousand restaurants around the country use NoWait, and 70 of them are here in Pittsburgh, including TGI Fridays, Mad Mex, BRGR and Burgatory.

The McKittrick family used the NoWait app at Burgatory, and it was a huge help because they have three little kids who can’t stand around and wait at a restaurant for long.

“We were doing some shopping and normally there’s a long wait there,” the dad, J.W. McKittrick, said. “We decided to go ahead and use the app so we didn’t have to stand in line quite as long.”

Compared to the Open Table reservation service, NoWait is fairly inexpensive for restaurants to use. It’s free for moderately busy restaurants and from $59 to $199 a month for the busiest restaurants.

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