Waiting for restaurants is never fun, though it is something of a local pastime. Now there's an app that aims to streamline the process and, probably, disrupt the act of standing in line outside of restaurants and make the world a better place in the process. Once you sign up with the free NoWait , you can join the virtual line at a participating restaurant, check on your status down to the minute, and receive a text message when your table is ready.
Currently the Pittsburgh-based company is mostly focused on chains like Chili's and TGI Friday's that employ those weird plastic buzzer notifications -- though it does have some clients like Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group's Eataly. And since it bills itself as "the first and only mobile network for casual-dining restaurants," State Bird and Frances probably won't be on there anytime soon.
But a quick search did reveal two S.F. restaurants: Elephant & Castle and Mikkeller Bar. Though I've never heard of a local (or anyone else) profess such a wild desire for Elephant & Castle's pub grub that they were willing to wait for it, the app could come in handy for a spot at one of the blonde wood booths to sample the house-made sausages and rare, interesting beers at Mikkeller.
It seems like an app like this could cause all sorts of headaches for the front of house, mostly because it's likely to encourage no shows. The service also isn't accessible to people without a smartphone. But there's something about it that also seems inevitable in our convenience-obsessed times -- it's actually surprising that no one has created an "Uber for line-waiting" in the Bay Area thus far, though surely there are many people hard at work on it.
Until then, S.F.'s most cutting-edge line management technique is probably still the webcam trained at the waiting list at Delfina Pizzeria.