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Let your phone do the queuing

4 min read

Are you tired of spending half your night out standing in line at the bar or trying to get the attention of a waiter? Together with Bambora, the Swedish startup WEIQ has created an app that handles the queuing for you. The result is not only that you can spend more time with your friends, restaurants can also offer more personal service and become more profitable.

Over the past 20 years, consumers have taken more and more control over how we shop and pay. We now expect self-service checkouts in grocery stores, a wide variety of delivery methods when we shop online and we want to decide when and how we pay. But one area has remained almost unchanged: restaurant orders.

In the past few years, however, innovators have started popping up within the restaurant industry. One of these innovators is WEIQ, an ordering app that got started in 2018 after Josef Weidman, an IT consultant, had a frustrating visit to a bar.

Josef Weidman explains that the basic idea of WEIQ is to eliminate queuing and waiting around for waiters by instead letting the customer view the menu, place their order and pay directly through an app. That way, the app doesn’t just create a more pleasant experience for the individual guest but can also improve the finances for the restaurant.

“We understood that queues and other obstacles to ordering must affect sales. Restaurants have a lot of fixed costs for their facilities and equipment. So, if all their guests come at once you need to have an efficient system in order to sell as much as possible when the guests are there. In addition, the app actually gives the staff more time for “real service”. Instead of walking around and asking people what they want, they can get to know their guests”, says Josef Weidman, the CEO of WEIQ.

The challenge of changing a behavior
According to Josef Weidman, the biggest challenge for WEIQ is that they need to change the behavior of both guests and restauranteurs. To convince the guests to order through the app they have to eliminate any obstacle to ordering. Which is why WEIQ doesn’t require any registration by its users. All you have to do is download the app, enter your card details and start ordering at any of the associated restaurants, who all have their own “apps inside the app”.

To attract the restaurants, on the other hand, WEIQ has put its efforts into creating a user-friendly all-in-one solution. To that end, WEIQ have both developed their own POS system as well as integrations to some of the markets leading POS systems. Together with Bambora, they have also developed an easy-to-use payment solution, where the restaurant signs an acquiring agreement directly with Bambora so that the money never has to pass through WEIQ.

“The restaurants really appreciate that they get their money the next day, as opposed to many other online services. This is an industry that is pretty tough when it comes to liquidity, so it’s important.”

Development of the app itself started in January 2018 and, unlike many other startups, WEIQ wanted to finish the development before they started selling their solution.

“In the restaurant industry there is no room bugs or glitches, it just has to work”.

Because of that, actual sales started just this May but already they have signed up some big clients, among them the ferry company Destination Gotland and the biggest night club in the company’s hometown Lund. Another happy customer is the biggest restaurant in the nearby coastal town Lomma, called The Place, who have used WEIQ to serve throngs of hungry and thirsty holiday-makers.

“We have seen that WEIQ actually improves the customer experience. Before, the customers had to stand in line to order and pick up their food when it was done. Now, they can just have a seat and order directly to their table. The fact that sales have increased doesn’t hurt either!”, says the owner, Håkan Olsson.

According to Josef Weidman there are many other big clients on the way and the interest for their solution continues to grow as more restaurateurs start to realize that people’s expectations on customer service has changed. Also, he says, there are several other benefits that many restaurateurs might not realize.

“We also see it giving our customers an unlimited amount of card terminals for free, since their guests can now use their phones as card terminals. Also, you don’t need staff to supervise every transaction or to run out with the check, which means that you remove the personnel costs that’s usually associated with card transactions”.