Yelp Buys Restaurant Waitlist Tech Company Nowait For $40M

Image courtesy of jdong

Yelp is trying to change the way users visit restaurants — or the way in which they wait for a table with the $40 million purchase of Nowait, a startup that uses technology to streamline the seating process at restaurants around the country.

Yelp announced the acquisition on Wednesday, upping its previous $8 million investment in the waitlist technology company.

Pittsburgh-based Nowait launched in 2010 as a mobile network for restaurant waitlists, enabling users to see the real-time seating availability at restaurants and place their name on the waiting list.

The system essentially replaces paper waitlists and handheld buzzers used to notify customers when their table is ready.

Once a diner has placed their name on the virtual waitlist, Nowait’s technology will send them a message. At that point the customer can reply notifying the restaurant if they are running late or right outside the door.

With the acquisition, Yelp says it will fully integrate Nowait technology into its service, allowing diners to move directly from their restaurant search to getting in line for a table without leaving the Yelp app.

Currently, Nowait is live in about 4,000 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada.

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