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Sioux Falls entrepreneur creates app to help with restaurant wait times

Published: May. 4, 2021 at 7:12 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Business is starting to pick up for restaurants in Sioux Falls and some folks are running into long wait times for a table. One entrepreneur believes he’s found a solution. It’s called BoothOrTable.

We all know what it’s like to show up at a restaurant and find out there’s a substantial wait time

“Walk up to the host stand, hear 45-minute wait and I’m not quite sure what to do next and I might assume, you know most restaurants are going to be this type of wait,” said Ben Whitley, Founder of BoothOrTable.

Whitley hopes his new app BoothOrTable can help add some certainty. The app allows restaurants to publish live wait times directly to their website. Guests can check wait times before leaving the house. Then add themselves to the waitlist. They’ll receive an email with a time that their booth or table will be ready.

Whitley says his app is meant to compliment reservations.

“Reservations are for folks that are planning well ahead of where they want to go on a particular evening. Letting folks check-in online is really focused on those kinds of last-minute decision-makers that, you know they just got a babysitter, now they want to go out to eat. So now it’s time to find a place,” said Whitley.

R Wine Bar is the first restaurant to beta test the app.

“Our weekend wait time is pretty substantial and a lot of people show up assuming they can walk in on a Friday night and they get here and they’re like, ‘Woah like it’s filled up.’ And then you can see the disappointment and ‘What it’s over an hour wait,”’ said R Wine Bar Owner Riccardo Tarabelsi.

Tarabelsi says the waitlist on the app has kept them from losing possible foot traffic. Guests are able to find something to do while waiting for a table instead of finding another restaurant altogether. The app is also a time saver.

“We used to get phone calls, ‘Hey how busy are you? Can we get in? If we show up in ten minutes can we get in?’ It was those kinds of phone calls and we’re getting less and less of those,” said Tarabelsi.

Whitley is looking for more restaurants to beta table or booth so he can continue to fine-tune the app and ensure a better dining experience for both restaurants and customers.

Those interested can apply at BoothOrTable.com.

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