Restaurants Turn to Tech to Manage Wait Times, Improve Service

Restaurant operators are investing in technology to better estimate wait times and improve the process of alerting guests when their tables are ready, hoping to keep patrons from fleeing at the site of long lines.

With a constant stream of chains to choose from, competition in the casual dining sector is fierce. Some major restaurant operators could be losing up to $1 million in sales each week as guests leave because of wait-time frustrations. When it comes to investing in new technology, wait management has become a top priority for chains.

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. (RRGB) is trying out a new system of texting guests when their table is ready at one of its mall-based locations. The move will allow people to shop, or simply browse, while they’re waiting to be seated. The chain is only in the very early stages of testing it, a spokesman said.

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