Why use a Digital Waitlist?

It is no secret that the world is becoming ever more digitized and that includes the restaurant industry. Years ago, restaurants began to adopt POS systems and card payments. Then came websites and social media. Today, most restaurants participate in one or more online ordering system.

Tablets like the iPad have revolutionized how restaurants operate. There are several iPad-based POS systems. The delivery systems operate on iPads or other tablets, and reservation systems do as well. Although reservation systems abound, there does not yet exist a ‘non-reservation’ or ‘wait list’ system for faster paced restaurants – pizzerias, ramen shops, burger restaurants, tapas bars, breakfast and brunch cafes, and more.

Now Carbonara App, a digital waitlist for restaurants, offers an easy-to-use tool for the non-reservation restaurant.

Seating Customers in a Non-Reservation Restaurant

It can be difficult to accommodate customers during busy shifts. Many people come to the restaurant at the same time hoping to find a table, and eventually a long wait builds.Today the solution to manage this is pen and paper – making a waitlist on a clipboard. At times, the paper wait list can get a bit messy, and there can be a fair amount of confusion in trying to seat customers.

The staff is all trying to work off of one sheet to see what is going on, and customers sometimes ask for an update on when a table will become available. The entrance to the restaurant may fill up with waiting customers, and this even creates a little more confusion and slows down seating.

Try to think from the customer perspective about this as well. It is unlikely that any customer hopes to come to a restaurant and stand in a queue. In fact, if customers see a queue, do they walk away before even finding how long it will take to get a table? And surely no restaurant owner prefers to make guests stand around and wait for a table. This doesn’t feel like offering customers good hospitality.

Making Improvements

Something else that’s likely not thought of is that there is no insight into the number of customers that are seated and those that are not. For example:

  • How many customers put their names on the restaurant wait list but never get a table?
  • How much revenue does the restaurant lose in this scenario?
  • How long are guests waiting?
  • Does the restaurant host know exactly how long to tell customers they will wait?
  • How many customers never come to the restaurant because they know the wait will be too long and they don’t want to stand in a queue?

In reality, there is no system of measurement from which to make any improvements.

Solutions offered by a Digital Waitlist

Busy restaurants need a waitlist system in place. They deserve to have something that helps to better accommodate guests. And customers will appreciate it. It shows a higher level of hospitality and a commitment to the guest experience.

So for the non-reservation restaurant, the digital waitlist becomes a system that makes seating customers easier on both the restaurant and the customer.


3 party types – waiting guests, call-aheads, and reservations

Frame 1

Seating areas


Login from multiple devices, all view the same list and work together on it.

Smart Tools

Digital timers.

Digital timers make it easy to understand how long a

party has been waiting and when to notify them

Reservation reminders

Extended Hospitality

Offer a better way for guests to get a table. And make the entire town your waiting area.

Shifted Demand

Extend the time that people will wait because they don’t have to queue. Add more parties that you can seat, and capture more of the demand coming in the door.