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Case Study

Zippy’s keeps guests safe & comfortable while dishing up favorites at 22 locations with help from Waitwhile









Zippy’s, an iconic dining institution in Hawaii, has been using Waitwhile to keep both guests and staff safe while dishing up the delicious favorites its customers love across all 22 of its locations.

Zippy’s grew from simple beginnings in 1966, when brothers Francis and Charles Higa started their first restaurant on King Street in Honolulu. Through their hard work and vision, Zippy’s has become a Hawaii institution.


Of user feedback about our ordering app is how easy it is to use. It has been called magic. And that’s thanks to Waitwhile.

The Challenge

Zippy’s, an iconic dining institution in Hawaii, never took reservations. “We’re a diner. Diners don’t take reservations. People expect to be able to walk in and get a table”, says Kevin Yim, VP of Marketing. But once the pandemic hit, state safety regulations made it impossible to allow the crowds to keep gathering and waiting outside of Zippy’s 22 locations the way they’d been doing for decades. Zippy’s needed a simple, scalable way to allow guests to line up virtually and wait from the safety of their cars.

The Solution

After doing their research and looking at available solutions, Zippy’s landed on Waitwhile. “We had no idea how many people we’d have coming in during a pandemic.

We staggered the number of locations we opened based on demand. So we needed a flexible solution that wouldn’t lock us in and make us pay for hundreds of customers we wouldn’t end up needing,” said Kevin. Waitwhile’s flexible pricing allowed Zippy’s to upgrade or downgrade based on their actual number of visitors, and this sealed the deal. “We were both on the fly with this whole pandemic and Waitwhile was able to fly with us. We appreciate that.”

Zippy’s used Waitwhile in two different ways: To allow diners to line up virtually, keeping customers and staff safe, while staying in compliance with state regulations. And also to offer curbside pickup, which in combination with their newly launched online ordering app ended up largely transforming the way people ordered food on the island. In both cases Zippy’s used Waitwhile’s two-way messaging to communicate with customers and keep them informed about the status of their order.

Features used

Virtual Waitlist

Manage lines of guests and resources.

SMS Communication

Keep an open line of communication and update customers on their appointments.

Curbside Pickup

Lets customers order in advance and have food delivered straight to their car.

The Result

Zippy’s staff was able to understand Waitwhile’s platform almost immediately with virtually no training. And if there were any questions, Zippy’s felt they could always rely on Waitwhile’s “very responsive and knowledgeable support team.” According to Kevin, “out of everything our staff had to suddenly learn how to do, learning to use Waitwhile was the easiest.”

Once the staff became expert users, they went about introducing Waitwhile to their loyal customer base. “We are a community partner. We are not just a place to eat. Our staff are like family to many of our seniors. It felt good to be able to introduce new technology to less tech savvy people, and the seniors ended up feeling good about themselves.”

Zippy’s was able to keep both guests and staff safe, while providing the comfort and delicious food the community had grown to rely on. Its online ordering app has been a runaway success with high customer adoption and a great deal of repeat business. “95% of the feedback about our online ordering process is about how easy it is. It’s been called magic. And that’s thanks to Waitwhile.” Kevin believes that “virtual waitlists aren’t going anywhere. They’re here to stay. No one is going to want to stand in a regular line when there’s a much more convenient way of doing it.” We at Waitwhile, wholeheartedly agree.

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