When I was in New Orleans a couple of months ago I used an app for the first time called Nowait. If the recent news is any indication, you might be using it soon, too.
As the name might indicate, if you put a space between the no and the wait, the app is designed to eliminate waiting at popular restaurants. For example, in New Orleans, I had a hankering for the gumbo at Stanley’s at Jackson Square. Because of its central location in the heart of the city’s most touristy spot, not to mention its crazy good gumbo, there is almost always a long line to get in, sometimes with waits up to an hour.
But with the Nowait app, I simply logged on, found the wait time, and clicked the restaurant to automatically place myself in line for a party of two. Even though I was across the French Quarter, I was able to put my name down without trekking over. And I was able to stroll the shops on Royal Street rather than standing around within shouting distance of the cafe’s host stand. I was also able to keep track of my place in line. Very convenient. If there isn’t a line, the app will tell you the coast is clear and to come on in.
(Stanley’s, by the way, requires users of the app to be within 2 miles of the restaurant, so you can’t click it to get in line just before you board your flight in Orlando, though on Sunday mornings the timing might be about right.)
The newsworthy thing that happened recently is that Yelp, the online listing service and unfettered complaint system, has collaborated with Nowait to offer the service on its mobile app (it’s not available through the website, at least not yet).
As of now, the restaurants offering the service in Central Florida are few, unless you’re really into dining at Chili’s — all locations in the franchise appear to be signed up, and, man, are there a boatload of Chili’s. (And seriously, who waits for a table at Chili’s?)
But with Yelp’s encouragement, the list of participating restaurants is bound to get bigger. And the list isn’t all Chili’s — independent restaurants Colibri, in Baldwin Park, and Boca on Park Avenue are participants. You can also click restaurants that aren’t currently participating to say that you’d like to see them on the app. I assume the app sends the restaurant a little nudging note.
By the way, I got to Stanley’s and verified that I was indeed on the wait list at the restaurant, just as promised. I’ll be using Nowait a lot more in the future. Especially if I ever find myself craving something from Chili’s.