getWaiter app aims to put an end to “Garcon, Garcon!”

getwaiter-app

Garcon! Garcon! Caught your attention? How about if I click my fingers? Or suggestively waggle my eyebrows whilst miming a pen in the air? No … well then maybe I’ll use a brand new app on my phone – getWaiter. Perhaps the dictionary definition of a first world problem, getWaiter was created by entrepreneurs Paul Tombs and Dominic McGuinness who were frustrated about not being able to get the waiter’s attention when eating out. I would have simply gone to a new restaurant. Or at the most written a bad Yelp review. This is why they’re the entrepreneurs.

“The pleasure of dining out is about being able to completely relax because everything will be done for you, but it’s frustrating if you keep having to break off your conversation to grab the attention of a hard-working but very busy waiter. *get*Waiter! is a really valuable, simple app that tells waiters exactly who needs their attention,” said Dominic McGuinness, the company’s marketing director.

The free app works by scanning a special at your table, which automatically connects your table to the venue’s central waiting management system. This does feel a tiny bit like a sledgehammer to crack a walnut, but the developers assure us that the system is quick and painless one-click solution. Users don’t have to register to use the app, and no personal information is stored on the company’s servers, so you won’t be emailed countless 10% discount offers.

If you find this to be a genuine problem this app is probably quite useful. As a scruffy gentleman I always look like I’m about to dine and dash so have grown up with wait staff watching me like a hawk. Even when surrounded by other scruffy folk, I feel can always get table service with a smile and a strong arm wave. Plus I’m not the sort of person that would get put out waiting an extra couple of minutes to order dessert. Others feel differently. “Even if the food is great, you can be left with a sour taste in your mouth if it takes too long to pay the bill” according to Paul Tombs, managing director of *get*Waiter!

Take up is everything with an app like this – if it’s widely adopted by restaurants where you eat there’s a small chance it could become a genuine time saver. Although there is every possibility that installing an app such as getWaiter in your restaurant could make your staff much more attentive just because they know it’s there. According to Paul, the aim is that the app “becomes an instantly recognisable badge of excellence for customer service. Just as Michelin stars in the window of a restaurant signify great food, customers will know that venues where the *get*Waiter! logo is on show really care about providing a great customer experience.”

Sadly you can’t pay with the app. Or split the bill. Or order. In fact the app would be amazing if it did a little more than replace the ability to clear one’s throat loudly. However the app is designed to keep “personal service” at the forefront of your dining experience. The team behind believes the human touch is a vital part of great service in restaurants, and waiters’ extensive knowledge of wine and food remains vital difference.

Apple’s Apple Store app is pretty great example of an in-store app that enables you to shop, plan things, interact with staff and transact when you’re actually in the store – especially if you have a genius appointment. If only they served food. getWaiter can be downloaded free from the iTunes and Android Play stores or by clicking www.getwaiter.com

TwitReview: It’s rude to eat and tweet at the same time. Or is it?

Seeing a man chow down on his cheese and herb pizza and take out his BlackBerry to use Twitter might be about to become normality after details of a new unique restaurant review website emerged.

Twitreview
Picture courtesy of Flickr user rainydayknitter

TwitReview, which begins with a private beta launch in March before a full public unveiling later, spins on the idea that up-to-date restaurant reviews are indeed the best reviews. Out of date reviews are the scourge of any keen restaurant goer and they may, of course, lead to someone innocently picking the curry when they really, really shouldn’t have.

The service requires users to tweet reviews with an OWLi – a code unique to a particular participating restaurant or café – and a TwitReview hashtag. After the review has been filed, users can search on the website for recent reviews of the eatery – or, if you’re the head chef, check up on what people really think of your mussels.

One of TwitReview’s more redeeming features is its multimedia possibilities. Similar to how the every day man can indulge in a bit of citizen journalism via amateur photos and videos, Joe Bloggs will now be able to partake in citizen restaurant reviewing – meaning pictures and videos can accompany the text. And with strong multimedia functionality, the mind wanders with regards to other avenues TwitReview could explore. Retail reviews, or live music reviews, could be possibilities.

Its obvious drawback however – and one shared with most Twitter activities in general – is the 140 character limit. How are you supposed to wax lyrical about that sirloin steak in such a tight word limit? It’s a conundrum we’ll only really be able to work out when the service fully launches to the public later this year, but the signs are looking good for TwitReview. Bon Appetite, they say.

For more information, visit www.twitreview.co.uk