Imogen Wethered

Co-Founder and CEO of Qudini. Imogen has been building Qudini to improve restaurant and retail customer experiences since the age of 23.

Research has shown that 81% of customers admit they would be willing to pay more for a superior customer experience.

For customers walking into your restaurant demanding the next available table, your waiting experience is the first interaction they will have with your establishment, and more importantly, your brand. It is therefore, essential to ensure waiting experiences are professional, personalised, and efficient, operating seamlessly from the first step to the very last.

At Qudini we pride ourselves on working closely with restaurants to help create best-in-class waiting experiences that improve our partners’ brands, retain more customers and improve their operations, enabling them to ultimately seat more customers each night.

Part of our core product and service offering is our innovative Qudini digital waitlist app. The app enables restaurants to add customers into a waiting list or ‘virtual queue’ using a tablet device, from which they can easily send text messages at the click of a button to customers to notify them that their tables are ready. This means that when there’s a queue, customers are able to leave a restaurant and relax whilst waiting in the local area until their table is ready.

Drawing on our experience of working with restaurants to improve their customer experience journeys, we have put together a brief ‘How To’ guide, with quick tips on how best to create a waiting experience that your customers are guaranteed to enjoy, and remember:

Ensure your most personable staff are on hosting duties.

A host is a vital member of staff; they are the first person customers interact with once they come through the door. It’s therefore, essential to ensure your most personable members of staff assume these roles. This will go a long way to initiating strong and lasting relationships with customers the moment they step through the door.

Ensure your waiting experience is professional, efficient, and transparent.

Customers are only willing to wait for a table if they believe their request for a table has been logged and will be dealt with efficiently. With this in mind, it’s essential to demonstrate the transparency and efficiency of any waiting system in place. The use of a digital waitlist and tablet conveys a professional approach and ensures customers are secure in knowing they’ve been added to a digital system, with text message notifications acting as instant confirmation.

Communicate with your customers whilst they wait.

If customers are kept informed whilst waiting, they feel more assured and their time waiting will feel shorter. Qudinis digital waitlist app allows for constant communication and reassurance with customers whilst they wait. This can be through sending customers clickable personalised web links to view their position in the queue, and by allowing customers to send text messages to hosts if and when they have a question. This is how many of our partners are able to have customers happily wait in a nearby bar for up to three hours for a table in their restaurants.

Offer your customers opportunities to engage with your brand whilst they wait.

Every interaction you have with your customers should be a chance for them to immerse themselves in your brand, with waiting experiences proving a very valuable yet largely untapped opportunity to do so. If customers are waiting in your restaurant’s bar this is easy to do, if they wait outside in a queue it’s a great touch to bring them drinks whilst they wait. Qudini’s digital waitlist goes further, providing customers with branded web links to a virtual queue tracker to view their position, along with links to restaurants’ menus, websites and social media profiles. This means that even when customers are waiting off-site they are able to easily interact with your brand and even plan their meal in advance.

Allow your customers to easily notify you, should they wish to cancel.

Two-way communication is essential to helping you seat customers faster. If it’s difficult for customers to let you know they want to cancel their reservation or request for a table, they simply won’t do so, and as a result, you’ll waste valuable time waiting for them. This is where Qudini’s digital waitlist really comes into it’s own. Our functionality allows for customers to easily text the app directly to notify hosts they wish to cancel their reservation or table request.

Give customers timeframes in which to return for their table

Enabling customers to wait remotely is great for customers, but it’s also essential to ensure customers return quickly so that tables aren’t left open and time is lost. We find that most restaurants ask their customers to return within 10 minutes of being notified that their table is ready.