Vail Valley entrepreneur has wait-list software for local bars and restaurants
Tom Griffin is offering the SeatQ software for free to Vail Valley businesses through 2020
Tom Griffin has spent much of his career in the online travel and leisure business. His latest product seems like a good fit for the times.
The new software — SeatQ — is actually an older idea that Griffin has revisited and updated.
The idea behind SeatQ is managing waiting lists so customers don’t have to wait in lobbies before their tables are ready or orders are finished.
Griffin said SeatQ isn’t an app. Instead, users can download the link and save it to their phone’s home page.
Users can call in an order, then receive a text when that order is ready.
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Digital crowd control
The system can also help restaurants manage what’s likely to be limited seating when they’re allowed to reopen. If restaurants are only allowed to open with half their regular tables, they’ll need to understand how long a table is occupied, and inform diners about wait times. SeatQ can do that, Griffin said.
“It’s not a reservation system, but it can be crowd control for people who use reservations,” Griffin said.
Restaurants can use the system to maintain and monitor their inventory of tables for sit-down diners.
For diners, using the system allows them to wait until their tables or orders are ready.
Griffin said he believes social distancing rules will be with us for some time thanks to the COVID-19 virus. A better way to managing waiting lists will be helpful to ensure an establishment doesn’t exceed its new maximum occupancy.
Griffin said he originally built SeatQ for a national restaurant chain. That company liked the idea, then copied it, he said.
Griffin said managing waiting times is going to be important going forward, because people will be waiting for fewer tables.
Griffin said he’s also talked to the owners of the Riverwalk Theater in Edwards about using the system to help manage audience sizes when people can return to the movies.
Griffin said he’s now offering the system for free to Vail Valley-based businesses through the end of 2020.
“It’s going to cost me money to do it,” he said. “But it can help.”
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.