Tock in the news.
“Kokonas said that the best way for people to help their favorite restaurants is by ordering food where it's available.
‘Those that have set up pick-up or delivery options are doing what they can to feed people.’”
“Since delivery went live at Seven Reasons last week, its staff count has expanded from five to 18 employees.”
“He also advises chefs to start using a payment processing system where customers order everything ahead of time. Addo’s team uses the Tock platform, where diners can purchase their meals online, then just show up to eat (or now pick up) at the time they've selected. Crisis or not, an ordering system like this is a huge help for restaurant owners. They don't need to guess how many diners will be in on a given night. Chefs know how much staff they need for every shift. Food waste shrinks; Tuesday's unsold roast chicken no longer needs to be flipped into Wednesday's blue-plate special. In an industry where margins are notoriously razor-thin, it’s a godsend.
‘It allows chefs to treat their offerings like retail items,’ Rivera says. It also eliminates cash and on-site point of sale transactions (with touchscreens and pens), and also facilitates contact-free handoffs, critical in the age of pandemics.”
“Tock to Go allows a restaurant to post a takeout menu and then communicate directly with the customer who orders from it. In the first 24 hours, some 250 restaurants signed up, and on the second day of operations, which was March 18, Tock, he says, did almost $500,000 in sales for restaurants around the U.S. and a few in Europe."
“It’s hard not to wonder what else might be as well. Will a system like OpenTable, which charges a monthly subscription and a small fee for every reservation, return if bookings don’t?”
“Landmark Seattle restaurant Canlis, which opened in 1950, shut down its dining room earlier this month to make a major shift. It created a concept for each daypart: a morning Bagel Shed, a lunchtime burger drive-thru and a dinnertime family meal delivery service, complete with bottles of wine.
“Fine dining is not what Seattle needs right now,” Canlis posted on its website. “Instead, this was one idea for safely creating jobs for our employees while serving as much of our city as we can.”
On Friday, its website also noted this: “As of 9:06 a.m. we have sold out of bagels. Thank you for your business.”
“Nick Kokonas, co-founder of Alinea in Chicago, operates Tock, a reservation system for restaurants. In the past six days, he’s built Tock To Go and is unable to keep up with demand as restaurants shift their model to offer to-go and delivery only.
He has 430 restaurants waiting to start selling via Tock, he says, around 40 percent of which is new business since the coronavirus took hold, he says. In addition, “30 to 40 restaurants contact us every hour and we’re working 24/7 to both get them going and show them current best practices of what the community is doing around the world to try to re employ people.”
“The new service allowed restaurants to create to-go menus on their existing Tock page, but then augmented the system also gave them two-way text messaging to coordinate pickup and delivery, and maps integration to aid restaurant staff if they did plan to deliver meals. This way they could start a delivery operation without having to work with other online delivery apps that charge a large commission. With Tock, they’re essentially offering the program free to existing restaurants on the platform and only passing the credit card fees along to the restaurant for each transaction. That means you can order from a restaurant through Tock and know that place is getting that money themselves and not handing up to 30 percent of it off to a third party.”
“Tock wrote some new software so restaurants could sell meals online and, crucially, process credit card payments, which requires an ability to encrypt data that most restaurants do not possess. About 40 restaurants in the United States and several in other countries have started using the new service, Tock to Go.”
“The suggestion struck a chord with Tock CEO Nick Kokonas, who quickly galvanized his team to build a delivery and takeout platform that would enable easy setup for restaurants who are new to the to-go space. More associated with fine dining establishments like Alinea and Atelier Crenn, Tock would need to pivot to support restaurants as they undergo dramatic changes.”
“And the platform is already facing heavy demand for its straightforward services, with a few dozen employees already working quickly to personally help restaurants launch on the platform. Yesterday alone it received over 200 requests from restaurants around the country, including many who are entirely new to the Tock platform.
‘The key is that we are allowing restaurants to streamline the process just as we do for everyday reservations in normal times...No menus to upload, no complicated service requirements,” added Kokonas. “Just do one thing perfectly per night and sell it.’”
“The coronavirus pandemic has hit hardest restaurants that are not equipped to run takeout and delivery operations. In response to Canlis’ decision to pivot to on-the-go options last week, it formed a partnership with online reservation system Tock to launch a delivery platform that could be quickly launched and set up. In addition to serving helping Canlis in the transition to online ordering, Tock hopes to become a platform to enable other impacted restaurants to re-open or remain open despite the changes.
“We told Tock that we were trying to hack their system,” explained Canlis. “We’re Seattlites, but we’re not programmers. So once they heard the idea, they called their team to work around the clock to build this for more restaurants.””
“Available now, and free to anyone with a Tock account, is a new Diner Profile Page. Features include a universal preferences registry, in which your dining restrictions, allergies and preferences (such as booth versus table and still versus sparkling water) are automatically conveyed to every restaurant you book. The page also tracks your restaurant-visit history, offers restaurant suggestions based on past experiences and allows you to share views — privately — with other members
That “privately” part is crucial; Kokonas vowed that Tock ‘will not publish your ratings or opinions, ever. Conflicts of interest inherent in Yelp, Open Table and other sites that both publish reviews and sell bookings will not exist.’”
“We already know your dining history — why is there no platform like Spotify or Netflix for restaurants that anticipates your needs, knows what you enjoy and suggests little nudges to you [like], ‘Hey, your anniversary is coming up in a little while — maybe you should book something now, and we’ve got these great five choices that are in your (playlist).’ So that mass personalization for the consumer is coming, that’s something that we’re building. You have to get to a point where you have enough of that data to do it well enough that it’s meaningful, but we’re there now.”
“In November, the managers of Vernick...moved online bookings from OpenTable to Tock, a platform that at the time was used by no other restaurant in Philadelphia.
But reservations kept coming in by phone and through Vernick’s website, where customers click a link that now takes them to Tock instead of OpenTable.
“It has not dipped at all," said general manager Ryan Mulholland.”