Imagine making a special trip all the way down to your favourite restaurant only to find yourself stuck in a horrendously long queue – or, even worse, to see a ‘closed’ sign.
That’s why a team of entrepreneurs from Singapore Management University – Chong Zi Xin, Lee Jun Kiat, and Tan Junguang – aims to find an answer to this common problem through their new app, Ticktok. It has received funding from Spring Singapore’s Yes! Startup Scheme.
The idea came about when these food lovers felt a pressing need to help others in the community. Tan Junguang explains to us:
Queueing can be an inconvenience, a physical annoyance. But at its very heart, queuing impacts people mostly on the psychological level. What if there is something out there that makes queueing more bearable, or even fun and rewarding?
Recently launched in August 2012, Ticktok contains real-time queue time information at more than 8,000 food and beverage (F&B) establishments in Singapore and is currently working with over 70 merchant partners. Interesting curation features include getting an overview of seating availability, opening hours, and whether the queue is worth the wait.
I particularly find the new element in the recent Ticktok update refreshing. A ‘Fast Forward Mode’ where users can plan in advance their dinner dates or casual brunches based on queue-time estimations from historical data. Furthermore, it is also an advantage to be able to receive instant discount vouchers of nearby locations just by actively sharing accurate information. The app interface is also sleek and user-friendly, making navigation a breeze. It is also thoughtful of the app designer to group, for instance, the numerous hawker centre shops under a common heading, otherwise users would have to spend quite a significant amount of time scrolling down long lists of F&B shops.
Initially, I was a little concerned over the accuracy of queue times as that could cause some users to abuse the system to their advantage by constantly submitting incorrect queue times to obtain discount vouchers. Junguang cleared the air by explaining that Ticktok uses a unique mix of crowd-sourcing, dedicated teams of queue auditors, and merchant participation:
Our unique algorithm will interpret existing data and amalgamate all inputs. As our user base and merchant partnership grow, our algorithm will evolve to become even more accurate with time.
The team also tells us that the full version will be released tomorrow and they do have exciting plans in store for users:
Apart from getting more merchant partners, having a version that caters to our Android friends will be a top priority. We are also introducing a key social feature to Ticktok that has not been (to our knowledge) done by anyone.
At the moment, there still seems to be quite a number of F&B establishments with no available queue times or reviews shared by users yet. Perhaps with the release of the full version – with more downloads and greater user participation – Ticktok would be able to maximize its potential.
Ticktok is available on the iTunes App store .
In the meantime, do check out their video below.