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Outback Steakhouse innovates reservations with mobile-enabled wait lists

Outback Steakhouse claims to be the only national restaurant chain to offer mobile access to real-time data about wait times for tables, reflecting how smartphones are innovating customer experiences.

Outback Steakhouse is streamlining the reservations and waiting process for consumers with the introduction of Click Thru Seating, available on Outback’s 365 mobile application and online. The strategy was driven by a survey that found consumers sometimes wait 40 minutes to be seated. 

“People go to a restaurant to eat, not to wait,” said Elizabeth Watts, director of media and community relations for Bloomin’ Brands, Tampa, FL. “Click Thru Seating empowers our guests and helps them get a table when they want it.

“Our number one priority is to provide our guests with the best customer experience possible, which includes minimizing or eliminating the wait.”

Easier for staff and guests
The chain is hoping that Click Thru Seating will offer convenience to guests as well as servers and hosts in the restaurants. Hosts will have an easier time keeping track of reservations, and late guests can rest assured that their names will not be dropped from the wait list or that they will be penalized.

To sign up for a reservation and view current wait times, consumers can visit or use the 365 app to sign up for a time slot or change it if they are running late. Click Thru Seating offers more flexibility than traditional reservations, and can be done with the tap of a button.

Outback recognizes that allowing Click Thru Seating to be completed with a mobile device will provide customers with complete control and accessibility to current wait times, from any location. Guests will be able to plan ahead accordingly and feel certain that they will not be wasting time waiting for their table.

The restaurant is launching Click Thru Seating just before the holiday season begins in full swing. Its survey revealed that consumers wish they had an additional four hours a day to accomplish tasks during the busy holiday season.

Outback believes that its time-saving technology will enable consumers to spend more time completing holiday checklists, and will relieve some of the stress that the hectic time brings.

Expanding app features
Click Thru Seating is the latest feature the restaurant has introduced to its popular 365 app. The app also offers Outback Steakhouse! Specials, which come with a countdown clock to inform users of how much time they have left to take advantage of the deal.

Consumers may sign up to receive push notifications on their smartphones for surprise offers or special events taking place at locations nearby. Guests can also stay entertained in the restaurant by learning Australian phrases with the app, or partaking in Aussie trivia.

“Time is valuable, especially with the holiday season quickly approaching,” Ms. Watts said.

“Click Thru Seating is an tool that helps people decide how they want to spend their time before sitting down for a delicious meal. We think they’ll be excited that we’re giving them the power to decide.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York