Thanks to a new app, you no longer have to bother the grumpy host every 10 minutes to see if your table is ready. According to DNAinfo, two brothers have created an app called NextME that promises to take the "guesswork out of restaurant waits." After an app user puts their name down, they can check their place in line any time via text. Users will then receive an estimate on their remaining wait time, which is calculated through data analytics (data!). Plus, the app will send waiting diners a text when their table is ready.
Unlike clunky pager systems, NextME can be downloaded on to cell phones for diners and features an automated system that can be downloaded on either an iPhone or iPad for restaurants. Furthermore, while pager systems only work within a certain zone, the app works everywhere your phone does. So, those waiting can easily go down the street to a bar and wait comfortably until their table is ready.
The founders, John and James Yi, believe that the app will be most useful at brunch restaurants, mom-and-pop shops, and restaurants without reservation lists. John Yi tells the publication, "A lot of diners, when they see a long line, they immediately turn around and leave... Now, we are retaining customers for the restaurants."
Currently, the brothers are focused on the Chicago market: Restaurants like Southport Grocery. Wishbone, and Kuma's Too are on board to use the app. Eventually, John and James want to expand nationally. NextME is free for users, while restaurants are charged for each party that logs on.
NextME appears to be among the first of its kind. Most new restaurant-related apps are tackling the reservations side of the business, like Resy. Payment apps are also hot at the moment: Cover, Dash, and Apple Pay currently dominate the market.