Tock in the news.
What is usually a quiet day for the industry has already generated millions of dollars in sales, says Bryan Ferschinger, marketing chief at Tock, a restaurant reservation system that has morphed into an online order platform during the pandemic.
Roughly 1,000 restaurants - about a fifth of the businesses on the platform - are offering “Thanksgiving To Go” menus, with more launching every day, he says. “The world has changed. Restaurants have gotten creative this year as they strive to make the best of the situation by offering a range of Thanksgiving dinner options for carryout and delivery.”
“Unlike some of the big-name national players, who take upwards of 30 percent commission, Tock institutes a flat 3 percent fee. Fine-dining restaurants like Elizabeth, Roister and Boka still use the service, but Chicagoans can also shop takeout, delivery and reservations from more low-key neighborhood favorites like Ina Mae Tavern, Wyler Road and MCCB Chicago.”
“Each weekend, four restaurants join forces to curate a four-course dinner that’s packed to go. Customers pay $55 per person and place orders with Tock, the online reservation platform, by Wednesday of each week. Tock arranges for central pickup spots in the city and suburbs. Delivery is also available for an extra fee paid by the customer.”
“The latest is a new online dining hub from Chase that allows cardholders to book local and unique experiences through Tock, a Chicago-based online reservation and technology company. The new service, which was announced in February and which officially launched last week is available through dining.chase.com, allows Sapphire, Freedom and Ink cardholders to make reservations and order take-out directly through a portal powered by Tock.”
“Chase Dining through Ultimate Rewards will pave the way for eligible cardmembers to access reservations and experiences across Tock's network of eateries, wineries, and pop-up events, which are located in more than 200 cities around the United States. And Tock stands apart from other food-delivery services for its focus on higher-end restaurants, often helmed by Michelin-starred chefs, like Daniel Boulud.”
“Now, the issuer is working to expand Tock access, with a brand-new dining hub. Cardmembers will be able to engage with more than 4,000 restaurants and dining experiences, from reservations to food delivery, along with produce, meats and other cook-at-home products, via Tock Pasture, Produce, & Purveyors. Perhaps most exciting, however, is the option to redeem Ultimate Rewards points for Tock purchases at a higher rate.”
“Soon after, he created Tock To Go, which manages pickup and delivery orders for restaurants—and charges a much lower rate than other delivery platforms. Tock takes 3% on orders and integrates with DoorDash and Postmates for last-mile delivery, but the $5 to $10 delivery charge goes to the consumer, keeping costs to restaurants low.”
“Last week, the city of Chicago announced a partnership with ordering and reservations platform Tock. Through that program, restaurants and bars in areas of Chicago that are below 60% of the area median income can get Tock free for six months. Chicago-based Tock allows restaurants to manage reservations and takeout and delivery orders. ‘For many restaurants and bars, especially those in historically disinvested areas, technology can make all the difference,’ said Tock co-founder and CTO Brian Fitzpatrcik, in a statement. ‘Access to reservation systems during this critical time will help businesses keep pace while ensuring that they comply with regulations to keep their employees and patrons safe.’”
“Tock: As a business that provides an online reservation platform to restaurants, the coronavirus seemingly put Tock in a challenging spot. The fast-growing Chicago startup allows diners to put down a deposit in order to hold a table, essentially putting an end to no-shows for restaurants. In March, Tock launched Tock to Go, a feature that lets restaurants offer pickup and delivery. The service is aimed at restaurants that previously weren't equipped to offer takeout, helping them recoup lost revenue and employ more of their staff. ”
“Restaurants and bars in parts of the city that are below 60 percent of the area median income will be able to use Tock’s platform for free for six months. The company is partnering with the city on the initiative, which was announced Monday.”
“I’ve always believed that Tock would change the industry in meaningful ways: real time two-way pricing, digital payment on egress, reduction of no-shows and inefficiencies, reduction of food waste, elimination of tipping. I didn’t think that to-go would be a catalyst to get to these broader and, I think, inevitable changes. But as it turns out, it was the missing piece I didn’t see coming. We are growing in every respect and keep pushing new tools and innovations to help restaurants literally weekly.”
“As cool and cold weather arrives in Chicago and elsewhere, Kokonas believes restaurant owners will need to continue to adapt. ‘My own restaurant did 32,000 carryout meals in May. It was our record revenue month ever,’ he said as an example.”
“Nick Kokonas, CEO of Tock, told The Art Newspaper: ‘Gallery openings were always in the back of my mind because other event programs are not aesthetically appealing or versatile. With COVID-19 making even everyday visits more challenging, Tock is a natural fit to help manage reservations, tours, openings, and other events.’”
“At the onset of the pandemic, Tock, a restaurant reservation system serving several cities across the country, has recast itself as a take-out (and, in some cases, delivery) platform. The company has less name recognition than Grubhub or DoorDash but its platform, which includes a website and an app, has become the go-to option for many of L.A.'s upscale restaurants. More than 100 local restaurants now use the platform. Many of them, especially the ones that used to book reservations weeks in advance, are now offering prix fixe dinners or special menu items only on Tock.”
“In the months during initial lock-down efforts in Chicago, a group of gallery owners began holding regular Zoom meetings to try to figure out the best way to stay afloat and work together. The group took notice from friends in other industries including those in the restaurant world, decided to reach out to Tock, a new restaurant reservation system, to see if they could incorporate a reservation system into the gallery re-opening”
“Restaurants have also seen an increase in click-and-collect ordering... In response to this trend, US restaurant reservation start-up Tock created Tock To Go, an app that allows consumers to preorder meals for a future time and date. This flexibility helps restaurants spread peak-hour orders and optimize fulfillment capacity while providing a safe and hygienic payment option.”
“When restaurant owner Nick Kokonas saw reservations dwindle from fully-booked to zero in Hong Kong-based restaurants that used his booking service Tock, he realized the U.S. was next. Kokonas knew restaurants here, including those in his co-owned The Alinea Group, would use the reservation system in innovative ways to stay in business during the shutdown.”
Courier reports that the restaurants were transformed into takeaway venues and Tock was changed to “Tock to Go,” a takeaway and delivery service platform. Tock to Go signs up restaurants like other delivery apps, but in contrast to companies like UberEats, which charge 20-30% per order, Tock To Go charges a flat 3% commission. Created in just six days, Tock to Go added 465 restaurants in two weeks, spanning countries from Germany to Australia.”
“Wineries that use Tock pay either $199 a month plus 2% of Tock-generated sales or a flat $699 monthly fee. It's enabled Mr. Massoud to pace tasting appointments, control the number of tasters in the tasting room and archive their profiles. That last feature obviates the need for a contact-tracing sign-in sheet, he noted.”
“According to a spring 2020 article in Forbes, Kokonas galvanized his team to build a delivery and takeout platform that would enable easy setup for restaurants who were becoming reliant on to-go ordering, once diners were no longer coming in to restaurants. More associated with reservations for fine dining establishments like Alinea, Tock saw the need to pivot to support restaurants' changing needs and offerings.”
“We surveyed roughly 17,000 of Tock’s most active diners in May in order to gain insight into the diner state of mind,” said CEO Nick Kokonas. “Restaurants are going to need to continue offering takeout, alongside limited capacity reservations for the foreseeable future.”
“Tock and Tock To Go allow you to manage all your dine-in and takeout reservations with one company. “Now as dining rooms begin to reopen,” says Welter, “Tock is the only system that puts restaurants in control to manage reservations, delivery, and takeout all in one place.”
“Within three weeks, we were serving over 1,250 dinners every evening. Something wonderful happened: Our social media feeds filled with posts of families together around their kitchen tables, thanking our team for making their night special. The way we connected was equally powerful and personal, though different, and entirely unimaginable eight weeks ago.”
“Nick Kokonas — cofounder of Tock and co-owner of The Alinea Group restaurants, based in Chicago — has announced a new version called Tock 20 that combines tools for operators to organize reservations, delivery and pickup orders, events, waitlists and contactless payments, all in one place.”
“The platforms they’re using to help them succeed...are to their online sales and delivery operations what Shopify is to a half million sellers of consumer goods on the internet.”
“Earlier this week, Tock added a contactless ordering feature, and it has plans to add contactless payment options as well, which would allow a restaurant to send the check through an SMS message. Diners would then use their Tock accounts to settle up and tip the waitstaff.”
“Even before the pandemic, high-end restaurants like Minibar used pre-paid, “ticketed” reservations via boutique booking platform Tock. In March, the site started handling takeout and delivery orders. Now, a wider swath of restaurants is using the pre-paid ticketing method. Why? Economics, for one.
“It helps us capture a guaranteed amount per table to make sure we stay afloat,” says Centrolina/Piccolina chef Amy Brandwein, who’s reopening her Italian restaurants in CityCenterDC with Tock reservations.“We have an idea of how many people are coming and how many menu items we’re making.”
“They found that demand was incredibly high. Customers were hungry “both literally and metaphorically,” says Kokonas. “They were craving that cultural connection with the restaurant”. Integral to their pivot was spinning out Tock to Go, which used the reservation platform’s data structure and applied it to a kitchen adapted for takeout, with kitchen pacing.”
“As restaurants around the country furlough or lay off their workers or permanently close...Alinea is bringing in record revenue and has brought back its staff. Meanwhile Tock, a reservations platform that should be in deep trouble as bookings for dine-in experiences go to zero, just raised $10 million.”
“After the coronavirus hit, the restaurateur Nick Kokonas reconfigured his reservation app to help restaurants handle takeout orders. The team understands the food business, so it can help restaurants handle orders in a sane way: You reserve a time for pick up.
This way, the restaurants don’t get slammed all at once during peak hours, like what can happen with typical delivery apps. Tock charges a flat 3 percent commission, much less than the fees of bigger apps like Uber Eats.
I’ve used Tock several times to order takeout from my favorite restaurants in San Francisco, and I’m impressed. As soon as I have arrived for my appointed order time, the food has been ready, and there has never been a line.”
“After closing down in mid-March following B.C. public health and City of Vancouver orders, Poirier took some time to re-group before St. Lawrence went back online to offer take-home meals. It was then that Poirier moved St. Lawrence to Tock, the online booking platform that first appeared on the scene in Vancouver in early 2018 and that is structured to take advance payment for or charge penalties for missed reservations.”
“We are incredibly biased to thinking that this is going to permanently change the way that restaurants do business. [People] are reacting very quickly to something which has only existed for six weeks or eight weeks. We’ve had pandemics before. This will end. In the short term, we need to make people feel safe. In the long term, it will be safe, and [restaurants] will be packed again.”
“Reservations are going to be more important than ever with limited capacity and spacing requirements... People are going to want to know their reservation means they are not getting crammed alongside a bunch of other tables. And it’s not just restaurants—this will be true for most in-person businesses for the foreseeable future."
“Restaurateur Nick Kokonas spoke with Yahoo Finance about how the restaurant industry is handling the coronavirus pandemic.”
“The funding round was led by Valor Siren Ventures, which is backed by Starbucks. Tock has been around for more than five years facilitating bookings, but quickly added carry-out and delivery services when the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S.”
“Restaurateur Nick Kokonas spoke with Yahoo Finance about how the restaurant industry is handling the coronavirus pandemic.”
“Since the reopening will initially be for takeout only, Whitaker wanted to make sure that the ordering and food service were up to the restaurant's previous standards. So he's using Tock to help customers order, schedule and pay, and he says the platform is designed well to transition back to full service at the restaurant, once it's allowed to reopen.”
“Weiner, an outspoken critic of Grubhub, calls the fees outrageous, He spends 7 percent of his total costs on real estate and 25 to 35 percent on food. Spending 30 percent on delivery isn’t sustainable for restaurants... “And money leaves the community, they are not saving the restaurants we love.” Toia believes that third parties can be a boon for restaurants. He singled out Tock, which charges restaurants 3 percent per order…”
“I really believe that for every problem, we have to figure out how to solve it and make something through innovation. When we started takeout at Chinois, we were working with DoorDash. They charge 25% to 30% for every delivery. That is OK if you have a fast-food restaurant where the average check is $10. We changed to Tock, where people can put in the order and pick up at a certain time. That helped a lot.”
“As restaurants reopen, Tock’s all-in-one platform is “game-changing for the industry,” Shulkin said. The Tock platform offers restaurants the ability to book reservations, plan events, handle take-out and managed customers with an integrated CRM.”
“We were impressed with Tock’s system, innovations, and rapidly expanding raving-fan customer base throughout 2019, but we were blown away by its rapid development and deployment of Tock to Go amidst this terrible pandemic” Valor Siren Ventures fund manager and Tock board member Jon Shulkin said in a statement. “Tock revealed true grit and entrepreneurial spirit, and is helping thousands of restaurants build a bridge to the future.”
“And on Wednesday, the startup announced it raised $10 million in new funding led by Valor Siren Ventures, a fund managed by Chicago’s Valor Equity Partners that counts Starbucks among its investors. The coffee chain giant announced in 2019 that it would invest $100 million in the fund to back up-and-coming food businesses. Chicago-based Origin Ventures also invested in Tock’s latest funding round.”
“Tock, a Chicago-based restaurant reservation site, has just raised $10 million in a financing round led by Valor Siren Ventures, a fund backed by Starbucks.
“I feel like this is it. A lot of people are going to go through a lot of pain and have their lives changed forever, but I feel like the opportunity is as much positive - a completely global awareness and clean-slate mentality that we’ve never had. We have it in pockets, but this is so widespread and sweeping and affecting everybody, it might be an interesting re-set for everyone.”
“He adds that restaurants that have created “curated To Go experiences that are elevated ... are totally busy right now.” His team is adding 50 to 60 restaurants to the system every day. “We are working 24/7 to get them up and running,” writes Kokonas. “And we see demand continuing to increase overall.”
“Sticking to its roots in reservations, the app helps restaurants schedule pickup and delivery times to avoid a rush of orders at 6:30 p.m., a common problem with delivery apps that often overwhelms the kitchen,”
“(Nick) is also the founder and CEO of Tock, Inc., a reservations and CRM system for restaurants, serving more than 10M diners and clients in more than 30 countries. Tock also recently launched a to-go platform, which has helped restaurants pivot to fulfill pickup and delivery orders.”
“Instead of using third-party companies, Tan advises that restaurants should look to use trained front of house staff to deliver, and eradicate the steep 30% delivery charges. Platforms such as Tock-to-Go could be the answer. The recently-launched US-based delivery and take-out service promises low fees and encourages restaurants to offer pick-up and delivery using their existing staff.”
“Tock To Go, a Chicago-based service from restaurateur Nick Kokonas that evolved from his Tock reservation system, only takes a 3 per cent commission from restaurants in Vancouver and Toronto.”
“In six days, Tock’s engineers reinvented the app—instead of taking reservations for tables, it would schedule takeout orders. OpenTable and Tock’s other competitors had lost all their revenue and resorted to linking clients to delivery services such as GrubHub and Uber Eats. But Tock to Go was able to offer its restaurants a solution.”
“While they considered a few different online platforms, Littleton decided to offer curbside pickup on Fridays and Saturdays using Tock, the online ordering system run by restaurateur Nick Kokonas. “Tock has made it possible to provide meals to our customers in the most similar way they are used to,” says Littleton. “It gives them the opportunity to order exactly how they’d like to.””
“We knew of Tock because it was developed by people in the restaurant industry, so that in itself is appealing,” she says, adding that her restaurant received pitches from both established delivery apps and newcomers she’s never heard of. “I’ve also worked at places before that used the other apps like Uber Eats and Foodora and I knew it wasn’t the option for us. It’s really expensive and our food can’t sit around for 30 minutes before it gets to the customer.”
“Operators need to be questioning everything...and "own" their own customer relationship. Then, in times like this, you can quickly monetize that by serving those customers."
He says he appreciates the fair commission that Tock To Go is offering. “They created this app for all the right reasons, to help restaurateurs at a time of need,” Wong said. “They’re not looking to gouge restaurants, the price is a fraction of what similar apps take.””
“She recommended using Tock, Nick Kokonas’s online ordering system. “It’s so easy to set up,” says Raskin. Now, instead of making individual deliveries, he picks a parking lot in a different suburb each day, and customers meet him there.”
“While all the big booking services have adjusted their functionality to meet the moment, reservations and event ticketing service Tock, used by more than 3,000 restaurants worldwide, went a step further, building out an entirely new product — in a week.”
“To top it off, Tock only charges a flat 3% on every order, in an attempt to give customers the comfort of knowing their patronage is primarily going towards keeping local businesses afloat. It's a lightweight, mobile solution that hopefully helps restaurants adapt to these unusual circumstances.”
“We reconfigured Tock to offer two-way communication with our customers. They pull up in their cars during their 15-minute pickup window and pop their trunk, and we put the food in. There is no direct contact.”
“Both quickly pivoted to takeout and delivery. Alinea began offering beef Wellington and coq au vin for takeout at only $35 per plate, and Kokonas’ employees at Tock worked around the clock to retool the reservation app into a new pickup and delivery ordering system called Tock To Go.”
“The meals cost $40 per person and are available to reserve via Tock. This marks the first time the restaurant has ever done takeout, and it comes as COVID-19 measures continue to keep dining rooms across the state closed until at least May 4.”
“Sushi Hayakawa has used the reservation system Tock for a while, and it is well-suited for the challenges restaurants are facing during the pandemic.”
“And in March 2020, the team worked around the clock for a week to release Tock To Go, a platform designed to help restaurants that previously only offered dine-in options pivot to fulfill pickup and delivery orders.”
“Upon reopening, Grand Cafe and Eastside served as pick up points for affordable take and bake meals $30 bought dinner for two. The kits were made in limited supply, and all deliveries were zero contact.”
“Kokonas is keen on takeout not only because it keeps workers employed, but it potentially prevents food scarcity in the city. Between grocery stores and restaurants, "you've spread out your food distribution into many, many nodes. More points of opportunity means less chance of failure," he explains.”
“Many wineries are now transitioning to pickup and delivery, as well as offering virtual tastings…Ashes & Diamonds has everything set up through Tock, so customers can opt for either delivery or drive-through, and reserve a specific time slot.”
“When (n/naka) put them up on Tock this past Saturday, the Kaiseki Jūbako and bentos sold out within a day.”
“In a shockingly short amount of time, Tock To Go was launched, and dozens of restaurants worldwide are now using it to offer carryout where they once were dine-in only.”
“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.”