Reservations used to look like tipped-in chairs and restaurants used to assume the table would be filled every night with their usual faces of businessmen and people who like to take up the same table each night.
Of course, throughout the 20th century, people realized that this was no longer a dependable way to reserve tables nor fill their seats with new people. Restaurants in the 1980’s found that the concept of no-shows was causing big problems, impossibly long reservation lists, and emptier restaurants with an unhappy and lengthy line. Soon though, a new technology would fix their problem.
Enter - the restaurant pager. Restaurant pagers gave a measured and fair tell of who was where in line without the businessman bias or the no-show issue. Especially when restaurants became chains and the entertainment of the night for families and couples was, in fact, going to dinner.
Themed places like The Cheesecake Factory would have people waiting up until an hour and a half for dinner, making it possible to utilize the technology to make better use of the lines and waits. Now, we see restaurants hand out these palm-sized pagers to let its patrons walk around without worrying that they missed their reservation, or their name being called out.
It also allows customers to wait longer than they might ordinarily because they are not just sitting there waiting for the time, but they can also walk around and look at stores, shops, or other means of entertainment to pass the time.
The Invention Itself
The invention of the restaurant pager actually came along long before its utilization in the dining industry. In the 1950’s, physicians created what we know now as the restaurant pager. It took 42 additional years to use it properly in restaurants on a regular basis.
In 1995, the restaurant coaster-style pager was invented, and the wait times and restaurants collectively took an exhale. Originally, the pagers did not buzz, this was added later on as well as some unnecessary and memorably annoying features were also added.
The pager would buzz and make an alarmingly loud noise if you exited the range of the pager, quite literally shouting at you: “You are out of range!” While some of these kinks have been ironed out by time, others have remained, and some older restaurants don’t have a need to upgrade considering the simple technology doesn’t really age out.
The restaurant pager is an integral invention to the flow and movement of lines and restaurants and is the reason why we can have long wait lines today. It is a fool-proof way to make sure that the next order received is the next order filled, everyone is happy, everyone gets a seat.