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Restaurant / QSR Blog

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Keeping Customers Occupied While They Wait

Entertaining Restaurant Customers as They Wait

Waiting in line, waiting for a table, and waiting for food are the most dreaded aspects of any restaurant patron. Customers hate feeling like they’re wasting time, so how can you keep them entertained while they wait for service at your restaurant? There are many ways to prevent boredom and frustration, from unique art and decor to trivia and games.

Here are some of our favorite methods for keeping customers entertained while they wait. 

Prevent waiting before it begins

There are many ways to entertain customers while they wait, but how about preventing long wait times to begin with?

We covered six unique ways that restaurants are reducing wait times, including:

  • Wait management systems that automate the seating process.
  • Reducing chokepoints by using Envysion's video analytics and monitoring.
  • Focus on the front end, so customers know where to go and don’t get confused by your layout.
  • Technology, like apps that can easily text customers information about wait times.

Other methods include utilizing online and mobile ordering so that customers don’t have to wait if they’d rather order carry out.

Games while you wait

McDonald’s implemented gesture-based games in 150 of its most high profile locations. The games project right onto the restaurant’s tile floor, and they’re aimed at kids. Other restaurants and businesses use interactive displays and adult-focused games and trivia to entertain. Tablets are a popular way to provide these games, with some establishments installing them right into tables. Your POS (point of sale) vendor may even have additional features like games built into some of their offerings.

These waiting games don’t have to be high tech, though. One Florida-based Cracker Barrel location received good reviews from customers who loved the “brain games” the restaurant had for them to play while they waited. You could design a lounge area with board games and other activities, for example.

Design an aesthetically-pleasing waiting area

No customer wants to stand in your restaurant, idly passing time while not being quite sure about where they should wait. Solve this problem by designing a nice lounge area, complete with comfortable chairs and unique artwork (perhaps display work from local artists to stay involved in the community). At the very minimum, aim for comfortable seating in your lounge area.

Don’t forget the games, either!

Offer snacks while customers wait for food

Hungry diners can become frustrated waiting for their food to arrive, even if the wait time is entirely reasonable. If games and other techniques don’t fit in with your restaurant’s personality, try something simpler: provide bread, nuts, chips, or another snack to preoccupy customers while they’re waiting for food. Provide something that is simple, affordable, and easy to prepare in large quantities.

Give guests a view into the kitchen

Watching food be prepared can be a source of entertainment all on it’s own, so why not give patrons a bird's-eye view into the process? If you’re able to have an open kitchen in your restaurant it’s one great way to keep customers occupied while they’re waiting.

By keeping customers entertained and also working to prevent long wait times, you’ll be able to keep your customers happy before, during, and after they order.

About the Author — Dawn Lampert

Dawn is responsible for helping Envysion’s enterprise clients in the retail and restaurant spaces determine which Envysion products and services will best meet their needs. Prior to Envysion, Dawn was with MegaPath and was responsible for selling complex Wide Area Network (WAN) solutions into retail and restaurants. Additionally, Dawn has delivered significant results for other start-ups such as Connect South LLC, Intrepid Communications and Advanced Radio Telecom. Dawn earned her Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations at Western Kentucky University.

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