Restaurants: Guest Pagers VS Wait List Apps

Mar 30, 2017 5:13:05 PM

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For your restaurant, should you use a paging system, a wait list management app or BOTH?

If you own or manage a restaurant, you could be wondering what the best solution is to manage guest wait list. Learn the pros and cons of text messaging apps and onsite restaurant guest pagers.

Pros and Cons of Restaurant Guest Pagers

Pro's of Guest Pagers

Cons of Guest Pagers

Guest Commitment

Believe it or not, there is some psychology involved in lending someone a tangible object to return. Many restaurant owners we spoke to preferred old-school pagers because the guests felt accountable. When a pager is handed to them, they tend to stick around longer to get seated.

Take Up Space

Even the most modern paging systems take up some space. You need to have a host stand with enough space to charge them, pass them out and manage the transmitter.


Commercial pagers, licensed by the FCC are often more reliable than cell service. Smartphones operate on shared cellular networks where signals are not always strong. Long-range pagers operate on a separate and faster frequency.


Pagers are one more thing you have to service. While most pagers are fairly low-maintenance, you still have to clean them and change their batteries once in awhile.


Messages from pagers cannot be tracked like cell phones. Privacy as well as reliability are one reason you still see so many doctors with pagers.


Depending on the size of your restaurant and how many wireless pagers you need, a guest paging system may not fit within your budget. You also need to consider the cost of repairing or replacing pagers.

Pros and Cons of Text Messaging Apps

Pro's of Guest Text Apps

Cons of Guest Text Apps

Guest Engagement

Most people who have a mobile phone may prefer to use it. When you use a text waitlisting app, you’re texting someone who is already engaged with their phone in the first place.

Guest Privacy

Many guests are not comfortable giving out their phone number. Anyone who has ever received “phone spam” --whether it’s an automated voice call or text, may think twice about giving you their number.

Guest Interaction

Two-way sms means guests can also send messages instead of interrupting the hostess during a rush. If they need a booster seat, have a birthday or other special request, they can easily let you know.


Can you be sure that your guest receives the message on their phone? If their cell service is spotty or they forgot to charge their phone and their battery dies, you never know for sure if they get your message.

App Integration

Waitlist apps integrate with other restaurant management software. Take reservations, let guests see the wait list and daily specials even before they arrive.


When restaurant guests have a pager in hand, they are less likely to walk out and find someplace else to eat. Having full transparency of the waitlist and nothing to return makes it tempting to just walk out and eat somewhere else.

Which One Should You Use?

Wireless pagers have revolutionized the restaurant industry by helping restaurants seat quests quicker and increase table turnover.

As technology continues to evolve you’re faced with even more options. Both pagers and wait list apps have benefits. It’s just a matter of deciding which ones work best for you.

You can always choose both.

Many restaurants use both pagers and wait list apps to extend the option directly to their guests. Our waitlist app can be a great addition for anyone already happy with their paging system.

Learn More About Waitlist and Text

April Lentini

Written by April Lentini

Marketing Strategist at JTECH, an HME Company