Application of the Week: WaitList

George: Should we tell him we’re leaving?

Elaine: What for? Let’s just get out of here. (They all leave) …

Restaurant Host: Seinfeld, Four?

Episode 16, Season 2. Seinfeld. “The Chinese Restaurant”

If this describes your usual experience at a bar or restaurant on any given night, you’ll take comfort in knowing that The Onion AV Club has solved some of your dinner problems. WaitList for the iPhone is a free application that lets you know how long you’ll be waiting for nearby restaurants, bars, or clubs.

WaitList uses the GPS feature on your phone to show you local restaurants in your area. Once your name is on the seating list, you log into WaitList, find the location and update the wait time that your hostess has given you. Once you update it into the application, when someone else logs in to check out the location, they’ll see the time you’ve indicated. You can also send wait time updates directly to your Twitter account.

Popular location related se rvices like FourSquare are being used by companies to update local markets on current conditions. With WaitList, local vendors are going to be able to update their own wait times. With active Twitter accounts, restaurants can push out their updates and help people know how long they will be waiting for. This lets them be ahead of their customers, so that no one comes into a restaurant unprepared for how long they may be waiting.

One problem with the application is that you don’t have any restrictions to which location you can update wait times for. Let’s say there are two bars across the street from each other, one bar might update the others wait times to much longer than they actually are to drive business across the stree.

Now you just have to decide where to eat. 

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