Microsoft announced today that it has made a strategic investment in BuzzTable through the Bing Fund, a program run in partnership with HP and Nokia to support mobile and Web-based startups.

The company joins LikeBright, which was picked up in January and Selectable Media from last December.

BuzzTable offers two mobile apps and a browser-based dashboard to help the hospitality industry seat customers and generally provide a better experience – be it in a cafe, restaurant or takeaway joint.

Consumers need to download the app and then give the host their mobile phone number. The host types it in, establishing a connection with the user through a custom weblink.

As the customer, or group of customers wait for a table they can then look at the menu, view photos of featured dishes and track how long it will take for them to be given a seat. If they’re forced to wait too long, there’s even a feedback system where they can rate the service and food.

BuzzTable is focused on helping restaurant owners give their consumers a table as quickly as possible. That’s fine, although restaurant pagers already exist and the scope for improvements here feels rather limited. The way that the app can be used to branch into other services however, such as user feedback and loyalty schemes, will arguably be much more compelling to the Bing Fund.

Details on the Bing Fund are limited, but the use of the Bing brand suggests a significant amount of independence from Microsoft. It’s unclear whether it means some of that support will be tailored towards integrating with its own search services (otherwise why be involved?) but there will likely be some changes in the product as it develops.

“As you can see, BuzzTable offers a full course menu, not just a series of entrees,” a blog post on the Bing website reads. “Over the next few months, Bing Fund will be working closely with the team to see how we can help scale and improve what is already an outstanding set of services.”

Image Credit: FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images