Is the vibrating square hockey puck thing that lights up to tell you that your table at T.G.I. Friday’s soon to be a thing of the past? Food blog Food2 reports that a start-up called ReadyPing is planning to market a text message–based solution to the crowded restaurant/diner summons problem.

As the ReadyPing website points out, sending a message to customers’ own cell phones prevents pagers from being lost, stolen, or damaged … and, um, contaminated: “There’s no telling where those pagers have gone (the bathroom?) or who’s been touching them. An investigation conducted by CBS3 Philadelphia found that 5 of 7 pagers from different restaurants tested positive for commonly found bacteria such as Staphylococcus.”

One of the potential pitfalls, as per a thoughtful commenter on the Food2 story: Is this the key that unlocks the evil genie of restaurant-related text messaging spam?

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