Cell Phones Used As Restaurant Pagers

Jul 08 2003 - 08:30 AM ET | SMS
Several weeks ago, MobileTracker publisher Jon Gales was sitting in PF Changs and thought that instead of the bulky pagers common at casual restaurants, an SMS sent to his cell phone would be a much better solution. There are numerous advantages--nothing extra to carry around, no range problems, and it's cheaper for the restaurant (no theft). A commercial pager company called Long Range Systems has a device that calls patrons cell phones and plays a recorded message. Not quite as cool as getting an SMS, but it's a step in the right direction. It isn't implemented in many locations now, but it's starting to gain steam. Owners like it because it cuts down on theft (those pagers cost $50-$70 bucks). The drawback is that patrons can wander too far... Their table may be ready, but they could be 10 miles away at another eatery that had no wait. This is still a problem with conventional pagers as their range is limited to a small radius around the central station. Restaurants in or around malls are especially plagued by the problem. Long Range Systems ignored our requests when we asked if they were looking at SMS as an alternative to voice communication. It's too bad--we would really like to know. If you've been to a restaurant that uses mobile technology in a cool way, please let us know. Comments are open.