Article: “Just give them a buzz” (Mar.2006)


"At a stroke, you free yourself of the necessity for all that tentative hand-waving and er-excuse-me-ing. Instead of relying upon the remote mathematical probability of your imploring stare (A) crossing the waiter's line of vision (B) at a mid-point (C), you have the statistical certainty that pressing the service button will activate a pager in his back pocket…

"I feel terribly embarrassed about summoning you like this," I explain.

"Please don't be," she says, kindly. "I'd far rather you pressed the button, because if you stood up, waving your arms and calling out, the whole restaurant would think I wasn't doing my job."

So can the Tablecall experience be called a success? Already, versions of this US-inspired system have been installed in a number of UK venues, mainly high-volume operations such as Beefeaters, plus the occasional bar or restaurant where high-backed booths make eye contact impossible. But will the concept spread? And does it really free the diner from the tortures of fruitless hand-wagging and the brutal humiliation of waiter-snub?"

link: "Just give them a buzz" by Christopher Middleton (Telegraph, Mar. 26, 2006)

WaiterBell Angle: The author of this article does not believe the concept and product (TableCall) will become popular in the UK because of UK dining attitudes and that its overall usefulness does not justify the awkwardness he felt or new issues it created. 

I feel that WaiterBell differs from TableCall in a few important ways. WaiterBell does not use individual pagers (allowing the waitstaff team to assist each other), there is less equipment, and lower cost.

Also, the scenario described by the author makes it seem that the server was not providing any table service. We feel that the WaiterBell system is not meant to replace restaurant table service, but supplement the waitstaff and provide a service safety net to prevent service gaps.

note: for a case study about the TableCall system provided by the company, click here.


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