With all the world going mobile, will making reservations at restaurants go the way of the smartphone?
thinks so. The Pittsburgh-based startup is beta-testing its new mobile app in Pittsburgh. If all goes as planned, NoWait says it will have seated more than 20 million diners by the end of 2013, easily surpassing the number of people making reservations on OpenTable, an online system that caters to fine dining establishments.
The iPad-based app has proven to be quite popular with diners and casual dining spots, places that typically don’t take reservations and might have long lines on any given day, says Robb Myer, president and chief product officer.
Pittsburgh clients have been instrumental in the development of the core product, so it made sense to tap them in developing the consumer interface, says Myer. “It’s one of the advantages of being in Pittsburgh,” he adds. “We can get a better cross section of people in Pittsburgh than if we launched it in New York or San Francisco.”
NoWait works to make the waiting game more tolerable. When diners arrive, the host inputs the customers’s name and mobile number. Diners then have the choice of leaving the restaurant and returning and are able to check their place in line.
At the same time, restaurant managers are better able to manage the queue and optimize table turnover. The startup received received funding from Birchmere Ventures in Pittsburgh and was built with seed funding and support from Innovation Works’ AlphaLab and Carnegie Mellon University Open Field Entrepreneurs Fund.
In other startup news, Gov. Tom Corbett toured IW’s AlphaLab on the South Side
last week and launched Innovate in PA, a new program that will accelerate job growth in the tech sector and support entrepreneurs and startup companies.
The Innovate in PA tax program is expected to bring in $75 million for seed capital needs across the state. The funds will be distributed through the Ben Franklin Technology Partners and will benefit incubators like IW and the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse.
“The most creative entrepreneurs and innovative startups are right here in Western Pennsylvania,” Corbett told the gathered crowd.
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Robb Myer, NoWait; Innovation Works
Photo: Gov. Corbett chats with Hank Safferstein of Cognition Therapeutics and Rich Lunak of Innovation Works.