Monday, April 12, 2010

Why Do Restaurants Give You Those Electronic Coaster Pagers?


Many restaurants give guests electronic coaster pagers that buzz and light up when their table is ready. The devices aren't cheap, but they do have an important role of somewhat "locking in" patrons to that particular restaurant.

If the hostess writes down your name and you get sick of waiting, you can discreetly walk out without saying a word and go in search of somewhere less crowded.

Instead, if the hostess gives you one of these electronic pagers, your only ways out are awkwardly handing the pager back to the hostess and telling her to take you off the list, walking off and basically stealing the pager, or just waiting longer than you wanted to for your table.

The hassle associated with the pager of course won't stop everyone from leaving, but it surely stops quite a few. And that can make a big difference at the end of the night for a busy restaurant.

7 comments:

pjsw said...

Once, while on vacation in Savannah, Georgia with my family, we accidentally stole one of these from an Outback steakhouse. I think the wait was too long and it was in someone's pocket or something. We ended up leaving it by the door of the restaurant early the next morning on our way out of town. We felt a little badly (they're surely expensive to replace), but I'll bet that people do take them for real with some frequency.

matty said...

If the restaurant is extremely busy, would they care about losing a few customers?

Maybe, but I think it's more about extending the intended ambiance to every level of the dining experience. Plus I think most customers prefer the pagers over having to wait to hear their name called in a noisy place.

Greg Finley said...

I have to believe restaurants will want to keep every customer they can. Even if you're making a lot of money, it's always nice to make a little more.

But you're right: it is nicer to use the pager than to strain your ears trying to hear them call your name. And it gives you something to talk about while you wait.

Josh Hattersley said...

I actually prefer the electronic pagers. Cami and I were at BJ's a few weeks back and the pager allowed us to head over to the bar, grab a drink, and watch some college basketball without fear of losing our place in the queue to be seated.

Also, if you lack the "courage" to return the thing for fear of an awkward social moment, you probably deserve the wait ^_^

Cora Bullock said...

It does make things more efficient. Matty made a good point too -- being quietly alerted by the paging system instead of being called out saves time and cuts down on noise. And you also get the chance to hang out elsewhere while you wait.

Gina Johnson said...

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Marie Tayler said...

I must say this is a good system provided by restaurants. Electronic pagers are also good.