Chicago, the city with big shoulders, has long been an international spot. The annual Chicago Flower and Garden Show, for instance, on Navy Pier Lake Michigan has long received popular interest across the globe since its founding in 1847.
Zip west through the city, the land of ninety-five storey buildings and overhead elevated lines (the famous Chicago “L” rapid transit system), and you’ll come close to Uncle Mike’s Place, a diner two-and-a-half miles away from the pea-green, clover-strewn Humboldt park.
Uncle Mike’s is a well-loved spot in the city. The building is the same colour as a weathered baseball mitt, parked neatly on a crossroad corner. A unique menu mashes together both eastern and American styles, in what is best described as Filipino-fusion American breakfasts.
As such, Uncle Mike’s family friendly atmosphere has welcomed regulars for over thirty years. Facing hard times in 2008, they reinvented their cooking style, and have since rode several waves of hardship, continuing to succeed against the odds. Read more about how they are now using Carbonara App to help handle guest demand.
The Cost of Time
Since 1991, Uncle Mike’s has established itself as a neighbourhood favourite in Ukrainian Village, a district on the west side of the city. On average, they seat between 500—700 covers a week — almost a hundred customers a day.
Since the eatery serves breakfast only, they’re only open from six in the morning to two in the afternoon. For eight hours during the beginning of the day, that’s a fair guest count.
To handle such demand, Uncle Mike’s has mostly used pen-and-paper, but in the past they have also experimented with waitlist technology provided by other companies. However, unlike Carbonara App, these had limited services.
“The services were all tied to one or two central devices,” the Uncle Mike’s team told us, “which may work for restaurants with a dedicated host/host station”. Yet this didn’t work for Uncle Mike’s. “With our restaurant layout, staffing and the turnover speed, having to continually return to a central device was cumbersome and cost us time.”
Carbonara App conversely makes use of cloud technology, meaning anyone at any time anywhere on the restaurant floor can handle the digital waitlist.
Pocket Ready Guest Management
It’s one of the app’s most celebrated features. Once Uncle Mike’s became aware of Carbonara App’s multi-device functionality, they were very pleased to share news about its success, integrating the app into their style of staff workflow.
“We were most intrigued by Carbonara [App] making it possible for anybody in our [front-of-house] staff to manage and add names to the waitlist using the personal devices that they were already carrying around with them.”
There was also another benefit. “We also could not believe that Carbonara was being offered for free when it has more features than the competition and includes unlimited SMS.”
This is a good point to remember: Carbonara App is absolutely free of charge. Uncle Mike’s previously noticed that competitor systems came with “monthly charges for the service”.
These, the team reported, “were not cost effective considering that we only really needed a waitlist app during a 3—4 hour window during weekend brunch”. No doubt then Carbonara App’s free features were a welcome addition for the team. Restaurants can chat with us to find out all they need to know about the app, a completely cost-free hospitality tool.
The Best Bit About Carbonara App
SMS features enable Carbonara App to work. They;
- Allow guests to leave to return later
- Send reminder messages to waiting customers
- Give guests a better overall waiting experience
Pre-written text messages make the most out of today’s smartphone technology. “It has streamlined our ability to get guests checked, notified, and seated,” the Uncle Mike’s team said. “We no longer have to go hunting around for a single scrap of paper or single device to add names. We no longer have to take the extra time to call or text customers manually.”
As such, a simple guest reminder message helps reduce restaurant no-shows and lends restaurants a helping hand when it comes to offering customers better booking experiences.
More Useful Features
The app’s useful waitlist features have ultimately boosted the quality of Uncle Mike’s guest services. Gazing back, the team were glad to get rid of needless tasks — specifically, problems associated with pen-and-paper. “Being able to simply tap a button to notify a customer from any of our phones is incredible for us.”
No customer likes to feel trapped in a lobby to endure an interminable wait. A digital waitlist has helped Uncle Mike’s Place and its customers avoid any negative feelings they may associate with a long wait — a big pain for customers who are particularly impatient for the most important meal of the day, breakfast.
Carbonara App has now improved the efficiency of its waitlist features with new QR code functionality. This allows customers to join digital waitlists through simply scanning a visible QR code at the restaurant. With half a billion phone users regularly using online services, it only makes sense to implement digital methods to improve restaurant wait experiences.
Join the Digital Waitlist in Chicago
Uncle Mike’s Place were very pleased with the features and services Carbonara App provides. Would they recommend it to other restaurants in Illinois and beyond?
Yes, they most definitely would. “Just give it a shot,” they said triumphantly. “There’s absolutely nothing to lose and no strings attached!”
Carbonara App has helped restaurants across the world improve their services. In Europe, from north Italy to southern France, restaurants are using the app to great success. Contact us to learn how your restaurant can install and use the app in less than five minutes. Remember — it’s cost free!