A new app has been unveiled that allows users to determine the availability of London restaurant tables in real time. The app – which has been christened ‘eet’ – uses sensor technology to determine how many diners are currently within an eatery.
Sensors detect the sound levels, humidity, temperature and air pressure in any specific restaurant. The app then uses a complex algorithm to determine the number of people currently within the chosen venue.
Once it has been established that the restaurant of choice has sufficient free capacity, the app allows people to book a table with just a few clicks – negating the need to phone in for a reservation, or book via a website.
A number of sites – including Busaba Eathai and Pachamama – have already taken part in a successful trial. The app’s creator Ali Meruani says he hopes to roll out the technology to more venues in the very near future. So far in total just under 150 London restaurants have signed up with eet, including Lima and the Michelin-starred Galvin at Windows.
Meruani also says that although the eet app currently only works with selected restaurants, he plans that future releases of the app will include bars and clubs.
“That’s when the sensor data becomes very exciting,” says Meruani. “Sometimes you want a quiet little bar and sometimes you want a more happening place, and we can provide that level of information to consumers.”
There are another 170 sites in the pipeline to sign up with the eet app and, if successful, Meruani plans to extend coverage to more venues inside the capital, and even beyond London.
“There are several big names coming on board in the next two weeks,” Meruani claims. “By the end of the year we are hoping to expand to multiple cities in the UK.”
The internet giant Google introduced a new feature to their search engine technology in July that is similarly designed to help people find vacant tables. This feature highlighted ‘popular’ times for restaurants alongside the search information published on Google’s listings. Meruani does not, however, seem too bothered by Google’s new endeavour.
“Google keeps on dabbling in this space but hasn’t really made a big dent yet,” he pointed out. “It does not have active data coming back from restaurants – it uses historical data. If you walk around Soho a restaurant [that’s] busy on one Wednesday may not be the next.”
The eet app can be downloaded to either iPhone or Android powered devices. As well as information about table availability, potential diners can also use the app to check out restaurant menus, plus pictures and reviews from both critics and diners. App users can also select a restaurant based on their mood and the time they have available, plus – if they are the kind of diner who simply cannot make their mind up, the app has a ‘Surprise Me’ feature which will select a suitable place to eat purely at random.