Monday, November 21, 2011

Server appreciation? There's an app for that

Posted By on Mon, Nov 21, 2011 at 10:36 AM


It's always nice when you go out for a meal and the service doesn't suck. What's more disappointing than a would-be-wonderful dining experience foiled by an uncaring and inexperienced server? Ew. Luckily, there is just as much potential to have a memorable experience as there is for an awful one. Dining out becomes a genuine pleasure when your dinner service provider is a true professional; someone with the ability to guide you through the evening in an attentive, yet unobtrusive way. Good service can be transcendent, and good servers should be rewarded. Right?

Well Jared Malan thinks so, which is why he came up with We&Co; an app that allows diners to thank their servers for a job well-done.

His love for technology aside, the former server turned Notre Dame MBA says that the best way to show your appreciation is by thanking your server in person—and leaving them a fat tip. But Malan is also an idealist on a mission to make society more empathetic through technology. "I wanted to find a way to make people happier," he says, "especially during hard economic times."

Launched in late July and based out of Atlanta, the We&Co app is an evolution of social media check-ins. Powered by GPS, the app automatically pulls up a list of businesses in the area, and after service, customers can post thank-you messages on their server's profile. The app tracks the number of times a user thanks a particular employee, and after 10 "thanks," the user is granted "regular" status. Once a regular, users become eligible for any perks or incentives offered by participating businesses. For example, if you become a regular of Condesa Coffee through We&Co, you get free coffee for a week.

Users also have the power to add service professionals to the system themselves which is useful because only a handful of restaurants and servers have made profiles this early in the game. BTW, the app isn't just for restaurants. You can thank anyone that provides you with a service: hairstylists, mechanics, nail technicians, etc. And although the largest percentage of users are in Atlanta, the app gets its data from and will pull up nearby businesses regardless of your location.

We&Co is still in its early stages, and as always, there are still some kinks to be worked out. The We&Co crew is still tinkering with the app's format and there are sure to be plenty of changes in the coming months. Meanwhile, Malan is also developing another aspect of the app that will be geared towards business owners who can track the number of thanks and thankers. Owner of Empire State South, chef Hugh Acheson, is also in on the project. "Hugh is helping us develop an interactive dashboard for owners and managers to see thanks and to measure their progress," Malan says.

We&Co will be launching an online Beta version of the app early this week. Malan hopes the site will be a place for employees to showcase their skill, cultivate their client base and receive positive feedback. He hopes that through We&Co, servers will be able to definitively show why they are valuable to a business.

As of yet, the app is only available on the iPhone, but Malan says an Android version is in the works.

"People in the service industry really don't get the appreciation they deserve," Malan says. "We&Co is a way for employees to get positive feedback and develop a reputation they can hang on to over time." Thanks Jared!

On We&Co now
Holeman & Finch
Empire State South
Condesa Coffee
Steady Hand Pour House
Perrine's Wine Shop
Star Provisions
Double Zero Napoletana
The Iberian Pig
Grindhouse Killer Burgers

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