• Guest engagement software becomes active the moment a guest makes contact with a participating restaurant with their smart phone.
• Every interaction, from how long guests have to wait to what they order for dessert can be tracked and recorded to form a guest profile.
• Upon a guest's return, employees can "remember" a person's name and preferences, even rewarding them as a frequent diner with their favorite slice of pie.
• Priced at about a penny per customer, Quickcue's software resides on special iPads in the restaurant, which are typically used by hosts and managers.
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Put away the pencils and dry erase markers, because restaurant wait lists are entering the information age.
Homegrown software company Quickcue could cut to the front of the line after signing a deal with national chain Mellow Mushroom to supply all 120 of its restaurants with iPad-based software that alerts customers via text message when their table is ready.
Atlanta-based Mellow Mushroom, which is adding around 20 restaurants per year, will install Quickcue in all new locations as well.
"Mellow fans often will drive 100 miles to get to the nearest location, so we need to deliver a quality product and an awesome guest experience every time," said David Dadnowitz, Mellow Mushroom's director of operations. "Quickcue has a similar approach, which made partnering with them as the exclusive provider of our host stand technology an easy decision."
The deal will elevate Quickcue's software into what CEO Bo Ferger calls "a leadership position" in the front-of-house software market, and will speed the Chattanooga-based company toward profitability.
"For us to consolidate our leadership position, it requires us to build our business, so this is not the time to sit back and wait to see what's going to happen," Ferger said. "We see the market growing, and I'd say 2013 was the year chains woke up and realized the value of the big platform picture that we're building."
In addition to alerting customers when their table is ready via text message, Quickcue also takes reservations, manages seating and keeps track of guests' preferences. The ultimate goal is to develop a package that generates an all-inclusive customer profile which will include favorite dishes, servers, tables, drinks and other likes and dislikes.
Each restaurant can use all or some of the features offered by Quickcue. For instance, Mellow Mushroom does not take reservations, though it will use the software to manage its wait lists.
Quickcue's deal with Mellow Mushroom complements a previous agreement signed with Craftworks Restaurants & Breweries to install the software in its restaurants also. Those deals, combined with several additional agreements that Ferger says are in the works, will require the company to ramp up it's workforce from 16 currently, adding sales and support staff to accelerate its growth.
The business is still working its way through $2.7 million in private investment that it raised toward the end of 2012, and it is likely to need just one more round of financing before its revenue begins to outstrip expenses, Ferger said.
"People have looked at us to see if we can build a high-end technology company in Chattanooga, and I'm extremely proud that we have," he said, noting that 95 percent of the staff is from the Scenic City. "The proof long-term will be in the pudding, but the reality is we've done an aewesome job building a pretty desireable business."
Contact staff writer Ellis Smith at esmith@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6315.