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Restaurant Wait List App NoWait Raises $10 Million

Photo: NoWait/iTunes

NoWait, a digital restaurant wait list service, announced today that it has raised $10 million in a round of funding led by Drive Capital, a venture fund based in Ohio. According to a press release (below), the amount is almost twice as much as the $5.5 million it raised in its previous round of funding. The release also notes that NoWait will use the money "to expand its network of restaurants and consumers" and towards product development."

TechCrunch notes that NoWait provides a free app (available on iOS and Android) for customers with the wait times at a list of local restaurants and gives them the option of joining the wait lists from their phone. For restaurants, NoWait offers a "table management application" (dubbed NoWait Host) which allows restaurants to forgo buzzer systems in favor of alerting customers of available tables via text message. The app also allows restaurants to send customers messages promoting things like specials and the company is working on adding push notifications to make the experience smoother.

As previously noted, NoWait launched nationwide about three months ago. The press release notes that since then it has added 1,000 restaurants to its client list and "increased the number of diners seated monthly from 700,000 to more than 5 million." The app's client list includes national chains like On The Border, Chili's, Texas Roadhouse, TGI Friday's, and Buffalo Wild Wings. NoWait also works with independent restaurants like chef Marc Vetri's Pizzeria Vetri and chef Jose Garces' Village Whiskey in Philadelphia, Il Cane Rosso (Dallas), Eataly (NYC), and chef Hubert Keller's Burger Bar (Las Vegas). If wait lists aren't your thing, there's a new flock of apps like Table8 that allow diners pay for hard-to-get reservations ahead of time. See the press release:

NoWait Raises $10 Million From Drive Capital, Grows Anti-Reservation Mobile App For Casual-Dining Restaurants

NoWait , the first and only mobile network for casual-dining restaurants, today announced that it has raised $10 million led by Drive Capital, a $250 millionOhio-based fund focused on Midwestern companies, co-founded by former Sequoia partners Mark Kwamme and Chris Olsen, with participation from existing investors. For its restaurant partners, NoWait helps them replace traditional pen-and-paper and buzzers with its full front-of-house, iPad-based system. Guests use NoWait's recently launched consumer-facing application to view a list of nearby restaurants and real-time wait times, enabling them to join wait lists remotely from their mobile phones.

As the first and only mobile network for the casual-dining market, NoWait has increased the number of diners seated monthly from 700,000 to more than 5 million, and has on-boarded nearly 1,000 restaurants to its consumer app since launching nationally just three months ago. The company will use the $10 million investment to expand its network of restaurants and consumers, ramp up engineering to support its technology roadmap, and continue developing more products and services to enhance the guest experience and restaurant operations.

"We are excited to partner with NoWait because they are one of the few technologies that actually make restaurants more money," said Chris Olsen, co-founder of Drive Capital, who will join NoWait's board as part of his company's investment. "It's a great example of what a Midwest team can accomplish by being so close to their customers."

Current NoWait customers include major national chains such as First Watch, On The Border and Chili's, as well as popular independent hotspots like Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group's Eataly, Jose Garces' Village Whiskey, Marc Vetri's Pizzeria Vetri and Hubert Keller's Burger Bar.

"Our restaurant customers are seeking more ways to enhance their business while delighting their customers, and our consumers want the most enjoyable, hassle-free dining experience," said NoWait CEO Ware Sykes. "Leveraging Drive Capital's unique combination of West Coast pedigree with Midwest sensibility will enable us to grow our network faster and meet this demand for richer features such as reservations, guest data and more."

The $10 million Series B funding follows the recent national launch of NoWait's consumer application, after raising $5.5 million in its seed and Series A rounds.

"Since investing in NoWait less than two years ago, we have watched the company continue to explode," said Sean Ammirati, partner at Birchmere Ventures and a NoWait board member. "The growth opportunity is astounding, and NoWait is positioned to dominate the market."

Launching nationally this year, NoWait's guest app is now available in all 50 states and in every major metropolitan area throughout the country. Diners who cannot yet find their favorite restaurant can use the new "Suggest a Restaurant" feature to add and vote for casual-dining restaurants in their area, which has generated more than 15,000 restaurant recommendations. By year-end, the company expects to offer thousands of restaurants on the mobile guest app. With its service now available nationwide, as well as in Canada, NoWait's cloud-based mobile software has been used to seat more than 5 million guests every month, and more than 50 million in the past three years.

· NoWait Raises $10 Million From Drive Capital [NoWait]
· Restaurant Waitlist Platform NoWait Raises $10 Million Series B [TechCrunch]
· All Apps Coverage on Eater [-E-]