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Case study Waterman’s Surfside Grille rescues potential business with Sprint Smart Messaging

Founded in 1981, Waterman’s Surfside Grille is a family business that has been a presence on Virginia Beach for decades. As a popular tourist destination, the restaurant serves up to 1,500 customers daily during the peak summer season. The Standing family employs more than 100 hostesses, servers and staff to keep up with the crowds of beach-going customers.

The hostesses at Waterman’s had their hands full; beyond assisting restaurant-goers, they were responsible for answering the phone, which exceeded 150 calls daily. However, the hostesses needed to prioritize guests. As a result, the restaurant was missing 50% of all calls. “That’s potential business on the other end of the line, but we just can’t get to them all,” said Marketing Manager Courtney Brough.

Even with a dedicated receptionist to manage the company’s 3 phone lines, most calls went unanswered. The restaurant’s 15-year-old phone system also presented problems. To reflect the restaurant’s changing policies, Brough updated the phone recording each month, which required technical onsite support and didn’t offer a user-friendly menu.

Waterman’s Surfside Grille

Waterman’s is a family-owned restaurant that employs more than 100 hostesses, servers and staff.


The restaurant was missing 50% of calls, and therefore possible revenue, even with a dedicated receptionist.


Sprint provided Sprint Smart Messaging to rescue missed calls and respond to customer questions.

Implementing Sprint Smart Messaging

Waterman’s needed a solution to rescue missed calls and efficiently respond to commonly asked questions – all within an aging phone system. Sprint’s AI-enhanced answering service solved these needs and more. “Sprint Smart Messaging was so easy to set up,” Brough said. “All I had to do was log in, set up call forwarding and we were in business.”

Now, Sprint Smart Messaging intercepts calls after 4 rings and gives callers the option to text Waterman’s or leave a voicemail. Hostesses answer the phone during downtime, but if they don’t have time, it steps in to help. Once callers opt in to text, the solution automatically responds and answers questions about hours, menu items, reservation policies and more – so hostesses can focus on serving patrons.

Because Waterman’s already used iPads to manage guests, adding the Sprint Smart Messaging app was a natural fit. During downtime, hostesses hop over to the app to answer questions. Brough also receives desktop alerts when new messages come in, so she can ensure every customer gets a response. “Sprint Smart Messaging has absolutely improved our customer experience,” Brough said. “Customers find it really easy to use and like that they get fast responses.”

Sprint Smart Messaging Key Benefits:

  • Recover more calls – In addition to increasing revenue, Sprint Smart Messaging has greatly improved the restaurant’s customer service
  • Eliminate the cost of a receptionist – For Waterman’s, Sprint Smart Messaging paid for itself in less than two days by eliminating the need to employ a receptionist
  • Respond to questions automatically – Most customer questions, about things like policies, menu items and wait times, can be answered easily with AI
  • Reach more customers with text – Customers have the option to text or leave a message, which appeals to both older and younger generations
  • Easily set up voicemail recording – Changing voicemails to reflect policies is quick and easy, and no longer requires onsite support. The team can also record their own voices to preserve the feel of the family-owned business