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Dining Out Just Got a Whole Lot Better: Yelp Waitlist Now Supports Large Parties and Seating Preferences

In today’s world, you can do just about anything with the click of a button from your phone. From ordering a ride to getting groceries delivered, why should dining out be any different? Yelp Waitlist now allows diners to choose their seating preference and accommodates parties of six or more. We’re also making it easier for people to search for Waitlist restaurants based on their party size, which surfaces even more accurate wait times, and last year’s Notify Me feature is now rolling out to Android and web. This is all packaged in a new user experience that highlights these new features, as well as provides more information about your place in line and the next steps to get seated.

Yelp Waitlist gives people more choice and control over their dining experience, as well as helps save them valuable time in their day. Since its launch in 2017, we’ve helped diners save more than 13 billion minutes of wait time — that’s more than 24,500 years!1 All of this time saved is allowing diners to wait for their table from the comfort of their own couch or in the car ride over, instead of outside a restaurant in the rain, snow or heat. 

We’re also announcing a record-setting Valentine’s Day in which Yelp’s reservation and waitlist software helped seat nearly 250,000 diners via Yelp2, a more than 2X increase YoY. This comes on the heels of closing out 2019 by growing diners seated by more than 150% YoY, seating 3.3 million diners via Yelp in December 2019 – our best month ever – and seating more than one million diners New Year’s week.3

More Support No Matter Your Party Size

Big party? No problem. Yelp Waitlist now lets you join the waitlist for a party of seven or more at participating restaurants. This has been one of the biggest asks from both restaurants and diners, making folks’ weekend brunches or last-minute dinner plans a whole lot easier to plan.

If you’ve tried to secure a table on Yelp Waitlist, you’ve probably experienced the heartache of seeing a certain wait time in search results or restaurant business page but getting a much longer wait once you input party size. Now, you can input your party size directly at the beginning of your Yelp Waitlist search to identify businesses with wait time estimates that best fit your current needs, helping expedite your search.

You Can Now Pick Where You Sit

Are you the type of diner that would wait a little bit longer just to get the best seat in the house? Well, Yelp Waitlist will let you indicate your preferred seating location. As you’re joining the online waitlist of your favorite eateries, you’ll now see an optional “Select your seating preference” prompt that allows you to pick from options set by the restaurant such as first available, indoor, outdoor, bar, etc. At participating businesses, you’ll also be able to indicate if you’re “Open to sharing a table, which may cut down on your estimated wait time.

For example, you can now give a restaurant a heads up that you prefer the plush seats in a booth, an outdoor table on sunny days, or a seat at the bar. 

Notify Me is Now on Android and Web

Last fall we launched our Notify Me feature for the iPhone, which lets diners schedule a reminder to join the Yelp Waitlist. Notify Me has been a big draw for people on iOS with nearly 250,000 “time to join the waitlist” requested notifications sent since December 2019, so we wanted to bring the same great feature to Android users, as well as on web platforms. After setting a reminder on Notify Me, Android users will receive a push notification and web users will get a text message when it’s the best time to join the waitlist and get seated by your desired dining time. 

Restaurants have found that this new feature helps spread out the influx of customers that would normally arrive at peak and popular dining times — giving them peace of mind that they can focus their efforts on providing the best customer service to each party that comes through their doors.

Are You a Restaurant Owner Interested in Learning More About Yelp Waitlist?

According to our data, diners seated through the Yelp app return to the same restaurant twice as often as other diners and 81% of diners say they’re more likely to come back to a business with Yelp Waitlist. 

“Since launching Yelp Waitlist systemwide several years ago, we’ve been able to improve guest satisfaction, as well as improve our throughput, table turns and guest counts,” said Jan Barnett, chief marketing officer for Another Broken Egg Cafe. “Our cafes that use Yelp Waitlist tend to have higher average unit volume than our system average and many of those same cafes are seeing increases in both sales and guest counts. We’ve also successfully reallocated labor hours to better serve our guests, which improves the overall diner experience. Now instead of our guests waiting on us, we’re waiting on them much more efficiently.”

This front-of-house restaurant management system is available to restaurants through a subscription, starting at $249 a month. Sign up today through the Yelp Waitlist site.

 

1 Measuring total waitlist time for all users from March 1, 2017 to February 14, 2020
2 “Via Yelp” means that diner was sat via the Yelp platform (desktop, m-site, or app) only
3 New Year’s week is defined as December 30, 2019 through January 5, 2020