Ware Sykes, formerly an executive with workforce talent site TheLadders, has been named CEO of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based mobile restaurant management seating company NoWait. Birchmere Ventures backs NoWait.
Ware Sykes Named CEO of Restaurant Seating Management Leader NoWait
Pittsburgh, PA January 03, 2013
NoWait, a Pittsburgh-based startup using mobile technology to solve one of the most common pain points in the restaurant business — seating management — has named Ware Sykes as CEO.
Sykes previously led all sales and enterprise marketing for TheLadders, and was responsible for developing the vision and execution of the services business. He honed his expertise in building and leading high-growth businesses and high-performing teams as VP of Sales & Services and a member of the company’s leadership team.
The company was founded in the summer of 2010 and is quickly emerging as a market leader in restaurant seating management for the casual dining industry. The appointment of Sykes to the top leadership role comes as the company looks to expand its product line and reach within this popular market segment.
“Of the 300,000 table service restaurants in the U.S., only ten percent take reservations,” said Sykes. “It’s a market nine times greater than that served by reservation companies like OpenTable. Our system gives customers a better dining experience and restaurant owners the rich analytics about wait times and diner turnover they need to run their businesses better.”
Texas Roadhouse, Mad Mex, Red Robin, Moretti’s Ristorante & Pizzeria and TGI Friday’s are among a growing number of big restaurant brands using NoWait’s technology. The company has seated more than six million diners through its system.
NoWait’s cloud-based, mobile software serves as the OpenTable for casual dining. In no-reservation restaurants, NoWait’s application streamlines operations and optimizes turnover thanks to its ease of use, speed, and overall simplicity. Once a diner enters the restaurant, the host inputs the customer’s name and cell number into an iPad running the NoWait Host app. Within seconds, guests receive a message indicating the wait time until their table is available. If they have a smartphone, the system will send both a text and a link to “What’s my Place,” a feature unique to NoWait that not only indicates the estimated wait, but also a diner’s position in line. This frees up guests to visit retailers or bars nearby, reducing both congestion and the frustration of waiting. Once the table is ready, the diner receives a text to return to the restaurant to be seated without delay.
NoWait founder Robb Myer will remain President and take on the added responsibility of Chief Product Officer.
“We built NoWait to do more than than just replace a vibrating plastic hockey puck,” said Myer. “NoWait makes life easier for hosts and hostesses. And it gives restaurant owners a tool to delight customers even after they’ve paid their check.”
Birchmere Ventures, which led the company’s Series A round of funding, played an integral part in an aggressive search to fill the CEO role.
“One of the things we noticed right away was the great blend of skills and personality between Robb and Ware,” said Birchmere partner Sean Ammirati. “They make a great team. And with Ware based in New York City, we anticipate even greater penetration as he builds out the team in one of the world’s largest restaurant markets.”
“We are honored to be able to support CMU entrepreneurs like Robb, especially since it means we don’t have to wait in line at restaurants,” said Peter Stern, a founding director at OFEF, a fund dedicated to helping CMU entrepreneurs.
About NoWait NoWait is a mobile seating management service that enables restaurant owners and managers to get a view of the queue and optimize turnover, while diners have the freedom to wait where they want until their table is ready for seating. The company is backed by Birchmere Ventures and Innovation Works (IW). Based in Pittsburgh, PA, NoWait was built with seed funding from IW’s AlphaLab Tech Accelerator and Carnegie Mellon University Open Field Entrepreneurs Fund. More information is available at: http://www.nowaitapp.com/. Follow NoWait on Twitter @NoWaitApp or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nowaitapp.