Yelp Acquires the Restaurant Waitlist App Nowait



The interview search and review service has officially invested in another restaurant app.

For $40 million, Yelp purchased  the restaurant waitlist service app Nowait. The system, along with the seating tool will now be under the Yelp umbrella. 

“In 2016, we partnered with Yelp to connect tens of millions of consumers to our restaurant partners. Today, we are thrilled to announce that Yelp has acquired Nowait. Together, we’ll make even bigger strides in the restaurant industry by allowing guests to go more quickly from search and discovery, to dining at our partner restaurants,” according to the Nowait website.

Yelp already has a reservation product and a mobile food-ordering platform and partnered with NoWait after making a strategic $8 million investment in the company in 2016.

Nowait gained traction quickly in the market and has a network of over 4,000 restaurants enrolled in the system. Restaurants like Buffalo Wild Wings, Chili’s, On the Border, and Mellow Mushroom are some of big chains using the service, which ranges from $179-249 a month.

Nowait cleverly found a niche market of casual dining establishments that did not offer traditional advance reservations.

Users can see what the wait is ahead of time and add their name to the list (like call-ahead seating) without stepping foot into the restaurant. Customers evidently wait less time and are be contacted when their table was ready.

So will the app be incorporated into Yelp’s system entirely, without existing on its own?

“Right now, we’re going to have both apps,” said Ware Sykes, CEOof Nowait to “TechCrunch.” “We want to make sure we’re creating no disruption for our customers…I think there’s lots more we want to add to the Yelp network – there are tens of millions of consumers on the Yelp network, and we want to bring that network to our customers.”

Nowait’s current team of 40+ will remain based in Pittburgh, whereas Yelp is base in San Francisco.

Yelp realized that after Nowait was integrated that it became a popular feature by their users.

“Nowait has quickly become an important feature for Yelp users and a valuable addition to our overall restaurant offerings. With this acquisition, we’ll make even bigger strides in the restaurant industry by allowing Yelp users to more quickly move from search and discovery to transacting at a local business,” said Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp co-founder and CEO, in a statement.

Do you think the two systems complement each other? Was acquiring Nowait worth the $40 million investment? Read more