Inspiration

L’app It Up: Qudini

Searching through the deluge of London based apps available at our fingertips can be a fruitless endeavour. The vast majority are aimed at tourists. In this series, Sam Frankl searches out those apps that actually make a real Londoner’s life that little bit easier. 

First, a caveat, Qudini is not designed for the general public. Qudini is an online bookings system that is designed for restaurants. This article is plea to restaurateurs.

I don’t know the story behind this app so I’m going to fictionalise it for you: One fateful night in 2012, Mr Qudini went to, let’s say MEATliquor. His friend Mr Blog had been raving about the place for months. So Mr Qudini wandered down to Selfridges where he found a rather long queue. He frowned and started snaking his way along, towards the back. After several minutes he began a small incline and soon realised that he was following the queue up the multi-story car-park in which MEATliquor occupies the ground floor. Up and up he went until he reached the very top. It was here, weighing up his options between joining the end of the queue and hurling himself down onto Oxford Street below that a tiny lightbulb ignited above his head. The rest is (more accurate) history.

There is another way. Honest Burger’s Soho branch, Bodeans and Jackson & Rye are among the first major establishments to embrace this service. Having experienced it for myself, as a customer, I feel it is my duty to spread the gospel. Yes, a no-reservations policy is egalitarian and (once seemed) somewhat refreshing, but there is no excuse for leaving your client base shivering or milling around local bars, for hours.

Qudini proudly boasts that 52% of customers would choose to dine at one of their client’s restaurants above others in the future. If you consider that for a moment; it’s quite a statement. This is simply a mechanism for entering a restaurant, it has no impact on the quality of the meal or the experience once inside. That is is how dire certain bookings policies have become. And it is very simple; the customer leaves their number with the host, who enters it into the system. They receive a message to say they’ve joined the queue and a live web link showing their place on the list. When their table is ready, they receive another message, leaving them free to do whatever they please and your staff free to focus on the restaurant in the meantime. There was a time when a queue was a sign of prestige, with technology such as this available, surely it is now a sign of inefficiency.