Here’s a highlight of some of the top local-business-related news of the week:
[Restaurant Tech News] Apple Takes on Restaurant Technology With a New Reservation And Ordering System
News Source: The Next Web
This week, Apple filed a patent for a proprietary reservation and ordering system that would give consumers the ability to manage reservations, see waitlist times, and make orders right from their iDevices. Additionally, the system will offer menu recommendations to consumers based on allergies or preferences indicated on a user’s mobile device.
It’s unclear at this point how exactly the system will impact restaurants in terms of staffing, data management, and ticketing procedures. The patent hasn’t been approved yet, so there’s no word yet on if or when this system will come to market.
Key Takeaway: Apple’s entry into the reservation and ordering foray will put more information and control into the hands of the consumer than ever before. But will that be a good thing for restaurants? The app seems to have the greatest upside for fast-casual establishments by helping diners know how long they’ll have to wait and which menu items might be intriguing to them ahead of time. For more upscale establishments, where service is part of the experience and price tag, Apple’s technology seems less applicable. However the technology is employed, it’ll be interesting to see how Apple fares against more specialized, industry-specific companies already established in the restaurant tech space. Speaking of which…
[Restaurant Tech News] OpenTable Purchases Quickcue to Develop Mobile Waitlist Technology
News Source: Eater
On Monday, OpenTable announced the acquisition of Quickcue, a start-up that allows front-of-house staff to manage tables, see wait times, track guest preferences and histories, and view operational analytics via iPad.
As of today, OpenTable’s reservation system does not rely on real-time waitlists, which is a major drawback for customers. Quickcue will provide the tools they need to find tables in real time. They also plan to help businesses with a high volume of walk-ins seat tables in a more efficient way.
Key Takeaway: OpenTable’s mobile waitlist technology is directly in line with Apple’s proposed reservation and ordering system. However, Quickcue gives more control to the restaurants themselves over the process, and does not incorporate ordering functionality. Both OpenTable and Apple’s moves emphasize the importance of real-time information and mobile ease-of-use as consumers increasingly turn toward small-screen devices to manage their lives.
[Social Media News] Twitter Tests "Nearby" Service To Show Users More Local Tweets
News Source: Entrepreneur
Reports came in this week that Twitter is testing a new mobile-app service that shows tweets from nearby users, whether or not they follow particular users in their area. This new “Nearby” service will provide hyperlocal information such as news, events, and business offers on a map interface above a timeline of local tweets.
Tweets will only be incorporated into the "Nearby" feature if a user has location tagging turned on, so those who want greater privacy can remain off the grid.
Key Takeaway: Local businesses have already begun to see the positive impact of real-time, local recommendations with apps like Foursquare. Displaying tweets to nearby users could give small businesses another outlet to provide appetizing information and offers to local consumers. Positive customer feedback about your business will be easier for users to see with the Nearby feature as well. All the more reason for you to be active on your Twitter account, turn on location tagging, and encourage customers to share feedback about your business on social.
Other news catch your eye this week? Leave a comment and let us know!