The list is impressive, SeatMe for $12 million, Quickque another $12 million, and Urbanspoon Rezbook for an undisclosed sum. All have one thing in common—they’re apps for restaurant host stands. OpenTable, the 300lb gorilla, has around 30,000 restaurants and recently overtook two of its competitors. Seems like a good time to buy stock in OpenTable right?
Wrong! The competition is just starting to heat up. A new startup named Hostus has been quietly working behind the scenes on an app with restaurants—for restaurants. “I was convinced there was a better way, and a little over two and a half years ago we started on what we believed would be what everyone was looking for.” Says Oscar Waczynski, one of two Hostus founders.
It turns out that notion was spot on. Hostus has completed a year and a half of beta testing and will hit the Apple app store in the coming months. Since their development, restaurants have lined up as far away as Australia, itching to use the Hostus app. One thing setting Hostus apart from other apps is their ability to leave the job up to the host. Managers and owners of restaurants no longer have to spend their time at the host stand.
“Owners and managers tell me that they used to spend a lot of their time at the host stand to make sure it was running smoothly, now they rely on Hostus. We also designed everything with the turn & burn style restaurant in mind. We believe that our app shouldn’t require updating, it should update the hosts. For instance, when you add someone to the wait list, it sends an automated SMS with an approximate time that the table will be ready. When the table’s ready, it’s one tap to send an automated phone call to let them know. Missed the call? A back up SMS gets sent. It’s about removing all the difficult steps from the job so hosts can concentrate on service.” - Oscar Waczynski
I think we’ve all been to a restaurant where the wait time for a table is longer than their entire meal. So you wait, hoping to be seated quickly, so you can inhale a delicious meal. That’s all we want, and Hostus makes it happen in a simple, pleasing way.
There’s no doubt, there will be a heated battle to overthrow the current front runner—OpenTable, and Hostus, SeatMe, Quickcue and Rezbook have shown there is a real demand for restaurant tech that makes a difference—the kind of tech that makes your life easier, simpler and ultimately, happier, each time you go out and spend your hard earned money.