Yelp buys a company that helps you shrink restaurant wait times

It liked its Nowait partnership so much that it bought the company.

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Chris Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Chris Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Yelp partnered with Nowait last year to let you line up remotely at restaurants and, ideally, skip the physical queue altogether. So how well did it work? Quite well, apparently -- so much so that Yelp is acquiring Nowait outright. The buyout gives Yelp an opportunity to tightly integrate more of Nowait's technology, and should shrink the time it takes to go from finding a place to eat to scoring a table.

The big challenge after the deal may simply be expansion. Nowait's virtual seating system is active with 4,000 restaurants in North America, but there are clearly many more eateries than that. Yelp may not make the most of the acquisition until the feature is relatively ubiquitous -- what good is skipping the physical line if it's not an option at your favorite place? If Yelp pulls this off, though, you'll have a good reason to use its app for restaurant searches over Google Maps and other generalized apps.

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