The Lowdown: the WalkIn app

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

The WalkIn app launch restaurant queues
A new app promises users that they’ll never have to stand in line for a restaurant again, by enabling them to join the queue from their phones.

Only in Britain would you find an app to help perpetuate an orderly queuing system
It does feel a little on the nose, doesn’t it? But having been developed by the team behind Just Eat, and with partner restaurants saying they have seen up to a 20% increase in revenue since coming on board, the WalkIn app could prove to be revelation for time-pressured diners who aren’t able to wait around at a restaurant for a table to become available.

How does it work?
Said to have been developed in response to the growing number of restaurants that do not take reservations, WalkIn allows diners to join a queue from their phone so they don’t have to stand in line. Using real-time technology, diners are able to track the length of a restaurant’s queue through the app, and only need to arrive once their table is ready.

How many restaurants are currently involved?
More than 40 already use WalkIn, including the pasta-focused Padella in London's Borough Market, which is known for having queue times north of an hour during busy evening services. Chains that are currently involved include The Breakfast Club, which can be notoriously busy when the hangover crowd converge on weekends; affordable steakhouse brand Flat Iron; and famous Chinese restaurant brand Din Tai Fung, which opened its first UK site in Covent Garden at the end of last year.

Is this as innovative as it appears?
Virtual queue management systems have been around for a while. Qudini has worked with brands including Honest Burgers, MEATliquor and Flat Iron to provide a similar service; while Padella has previously worked with the Clever Queue app. However that only allowed you to book if you were within 400 meters of the restaurant, whereas WalkIn allows you to do so from up to seven kilometres away.

So the age of standing out in the cold to eat in your favourite restaurant could be over?
Maybe we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves, but it’ll be interesting to see how the model grows in the next few months. WalkIn says that at present the app seats more than 125,000 diners a month, with that number expected to rise to 400,000 in the next six months. Alternatively though, you could just make sure your favourite place to eat simply takes bookings. Now there’s an idea…

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