If you own or operate any business in the hospitality space, you’re going to want to make sure to check out this GoTab Review, because it could quite possibly change the way you run your business. Even though GoTab has been around since 2016, it is just now starting to catch fire with bar and restaurant owners who have begun to realize exactly how effective the GoTab system can be in their business. I highly recommend that you schedule a live demo with them so they can tell you exactly how it will fit in with your concept.
Full disclosure: I love GoTab, and because of this, GoTab has appreciatively offered to give my audience a big discount if you do sign-up with them. That means if you use any of the links on this page to get a live demo and you do sign up eventually, GoTab will waive the $1,000 set-up fee. They will do everything for you for FREE. Pretty sweet deal.
As I mentioned, GoTab was founded in 2016 by Tim McGlaughlin, a fifteen year veteran in the technology space who co-owned a brewery and decided there must be a better way to improve operations and provide quick service and convenience when it came to mobile ordering and payment. In the beginning, GoTab started as just a mobile payment that showed up as a code on restaurant receipts. By 2018, it added the QR code to allow guests to not only pay, but order from their phones. From there, GoTab has added an array of features and components, including KDS (Kitchen Display System), integrated messaging, and POS software, all of which can be used for free. Yep, you read correctly, a FREE POS SYSTEM. More on how they make money in a minute.
Here is a visual of their products and features timeline.
In addition, the GoTab POS software (as well as all of their software) can be run on any iOS, Android or Windows device, so you can use your existing hardware if you already have it.
What the Hell is GoTab Exactly?
This is a fair question because of everything that GoTab can do. People often ask, “Is it a QR code? Is it mobile ordering? Is it for delivery and take out? Is it a POS system?”
The answer is: yes, yes, yes and yes.
Originally it was slated just for mobile ordering and payment via a QR code, but as they grew, they saw an opportunity to streamline operations even more by adding integrated messaging between the staff and guests so that each could text back and forth during their experience. This allows the staff to have constant communication between the two to ensure the best experience possible. Then in 2021, GoTab added POS software for businesses that did not have a POS system or wanted to move away from the outlandishly expensive ones they were using at the time.
But even if you have a POS system and are locked into a contract (or you simply like it already), GoTab works great right along side it. The GoTab POS is only an option for those who want it. And yes, again, GoTab is a free restaurant POS system for you to use.
Who Can Use GoTab?
GoTab can be used by just about any business in the hospitality space, but I would not recommend it for fine-dining or traditional restaurants where the guests will expect a full-service experience. With that said, GoTab can be used in a highly-effective manner to systemize your business for any of these:
- Bars, Clubs, Lounges
- Casual Restaurants
- Coffee Shops
- Food Trucks
- Golf Courses
- Entertainment Venues
- Movie Theaters
How Does GoTab Work?
Before we get to all the features, this is what GoTab looks like from the moment the guest sits down to the moment they leave.
Let’s follow Jack, a businessman who is meeting friends after work at the Guinness brewery for some beers and food. So Jack sits down at a table, sees a QR code and scans it, bringing up Guinness’s interactive menu with all of their beer and food options.
As he is browsing, a server drops by and quickly explains how the ordering system works and lets Jack know that she is there if he needs anything.
After perusing the menu, Jack chooses a beer and a Bavarian pretzel, adds it to his cart and orders it. He keeps his tab open because he has friends coming and he wants to pay today. In fact, he is able to text the QR code to his buddies so they can view the menu and order from their phones so that it will be ready when they get there.
Within a coupe minutes Jack’s beer arrives from his server, and five minutes after that his pretzel arrives. Jack then realizes that he wished he ordered a water for himself, and he notices that he needs some silverware, so he texts his server, Jasmine, and decides to ask for a few waters for the table.
Eventually Jack’s friends arrive, and they go through the same process of ordering their own food and beers, which magically show up from their server. During their time there, instead of entering it into their phones, a few of the guys ask Jasmine as she’s walking by if they can have another round of beers. She cheerfully acknowledges in the affirmative and is able to enter their order directly on the GoTab POS because she has direct access to their tab as well, because GoTab is the only native platform that has the ability to message back and forth from guest to server/bartender, as well as kitchen to guest and vice-versa.
When they are finished, Jack is able to simply check out on his phone. He makes the payment, enters the tip, and they are good to go. If they had wanted to, they could have easily split the check amongst the table, but today Jack has taken care of the bill.
Ok, now that you have a basic idea of what GoTab looks like and how it works, let’s get into the nitty-gritty details. Here are the metrics, broken down into the six categories I like to measure when reviewing POS systems.
I know, 9.9 ain’t bad at all. Is it a legit score? In my experience, yes. Let’s talk about why.
If you read up to this point, you already know a bit about the features and what GoTab can do. I know it seems like I should have given you a spoiler alert or something, but sometimes you just want to know right off the bat exactly what this technology does that you’re looking at, so I felt compelled to help. With that said, let’s look at a more comprehensive list of GoTab’s features.
For the Guest
- No App Download
- No Waiting to Order or Pay
- Browse a Full Interactive Menu, Complete With Descriptions, Photos and Even Videos
- Two-Way Text With Server & Kitchen
- Order & Pay at the Table
- Online Ordering & Delivery
- Keep Tab Open for Individuals or Groups
- Share Tab With Others
- Split Checks
- Dietary constraints filters (vegan, veg, GF, etc.)
- Curbside Pickup Auto Input (color, model, etc.)
- Pay With Credit Card, Apple Pay or Google Pay
- Default and Custom Tipping
For the Operator and Staff
- Full-featured POS, KDS & Manager Dashboard
- Run Dine-in, Take-Out & Delivery From One Platform
- Two-Way Text With Guests
- Real-Time Notifications
- Real-Time Analytics
- Unlimited Revenue Stations
- Orders Routed to Assigned Stations (i.e. Bar & Kitchen)
- Delivery Zone Mapping
- Menu Management
- Feature-rich KDS system
- Forced Modifiers + Upsell Modifiers
- Floor Management With Unlimited Zones (Areas)
- Customer Feedback Option After Check-Out
- Promotional Notices
- Free Onboarding & Account Set-Up (When Using Dave’s Link)
- Multiple Integrations
- Cloud-Based; Access Your Account From Anywhere
- Dedicated 24/7 Support Team
Yes, I know that’s a lot. I don’t mean to overwhelm, but it’s important that you know everything that GoTab can do for you. When you sign-up for the live demo, the GoTab experts will go over these more thoroughly and answer any and all of your questions for you.
Let’s move on to exactly what GoTab is going to do for you when you sign-up.
GoTab Pros and Cons
- Increases sales by 30%
- Lowers labor costs by 10 – 20%
- Increases table-turnover by 20%
- Reduces ordering errors
- Staff earns more tips because table sections are bigger
- Staff has more time to interact with guests
- More than 30 integrations with 3rd party software
- POS is good but not as robust as the top POS systems
- There is a learning curve for guests, so it’s up to staff to educate them
Pricing – How Much Does GoTab Cost?
Many of you may have simply scrolled down to the pricing right from the get-go because pricing is often one of the top considerations. And you may be wondering if I’ve been shoveling you a bunch of B.S. when I tell you that GoTab is free to use. I’m not. Here’s the breakdown for pricing.
Monthly Fees – $0.00
Hardware – $0.00 unless you need hardware and they will sell it to you, almost at cost.
Set-Up & Onboarding – $1,000, but if you use this link to sign-up for a demo, set-up is free
Processing Fees – 2.0% + 0.15¢ (Card present) or 2.5% + 0.25¢ (Card not present). If you can find anything lower, they will match it.
24/7 Support – $0.00
No Contracts – Cancel at anytime
How Does GoTab Make Their Money?
GoTab makes their money by assessing a 1% + 0.25¢ convenience fee to the guest for all QR code transactions. Now, you might think that your guests wouldn’t like this and might through a fit, but in this day and age when everything went to online ordering during COVID, and many orders were assessed a convenience fee, nobody even flinches at this. As an example, if someone orders $50 through the QR code, they would pay 0.50¢ + 0.25¢ for a total of a 0.75¢ convenience fee. This simple convenience fee allows you to have a completely free QR code ordering system and free POS system.
Any orders and payments made directly through the POS system, if the guest pays cash, GoTab makes nothing buy a few pennies from the credit card processing, as most of it goes to the processing company.
GoTab Frequently Asked Questions
Many of these questions and answers will be repeated from earlier. I like to do this for those who are just skimming the article and miss the answers higher up. That way you have all the answers in one little sections here.
How much does GoTab cost?
$0.00. GoTab costs nothing for the owner to use. The processing fees are 2.0% + 15¢ for card present, or 2.5% + 25¢ for card not present. If you find a lower processing fee, let them know and they will match it.
Is there a fee to set-up your account?
There is normally a $1,000 set-up and onboarding fee, but by going through my link, GoTab is waiving the $1,000 set-up fee.
Do you have to sign a long-term contract?
No. There are no contracts. Cancel at anytime.
What if your staff doesn’t like it?
This is the most common fear of owners and managers who want to take care of employees who fear they will be replaced, but it has been determined that for the most part, employees absolutely love GoTab. GoTab claims that this is because the servers have less steps to take care of the guests, which means they can handle larger table sections. In addition, tabs are 30% larger and table-turnover is 20% faster so everyone is making more money.
How long will take to set-up your account?
Account set-up varies based on the size of your venue, the complexity of your menu, as well as other logistics involving the hardware you need and the wifi capabilities of your establishment. With that said, set-up normally takes around 2 – 4 weeks. A GoTab expert will be able to nail this down closer during the live demo.
Do you need any special hardware?
No. GoTab does not require any special hardware. If you already have hardware, more likely than not the GoTab software will run on what you already have. They also offer hardware for operators who are just getting started or who need new hardware (click here to view hardware options). If you would like to run GoTab to your printers, you will need to purchase a GoTab router for a nominal fee.
How can guests pay using GoTab?
Your guests can pay using any credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay.
Can you pass on credit card fees to the guests?
Yes, absolutely. GoTab has found many of its accounts using the convenience fee feature specifically to pass on credit card fees to the guests.
GoTab Customer Service and Support
This is where GoTab really shines, which is great because when it comes to POS systems and technology in general, support is so important. GoTab has 24/7 support, and they just recently won an award for their customer support. Not only can you call, but you can text your rep at any time, even asking them to do back-end admin functions for you during a busy shift if need be.
In addition, the GoTab manager’s dashboard has tutorials on how each section of the software works.
Establishing any new technology into your business can certainly be a disruption in your life, but with the capabilities that GoTab brings, and the opportunity you have to increase your sales, lower your labor costs, and increase both your productivity and time, there is little doubt that GoTab is a system that I would personally take the time to implement into my bar/restaurant. We already know that the QR code is here to stay, and we also know that with each passing day, more and more people are wanting to use their phones and technology to make their own lives more convenient.
This is the wave of the future, so it is my recommendation to get out ahead of it. When you do, you’re going to see a thrilled look on your guests’ faces, as well as your staff when they see how much easier it makes their lives and the opportunity they have to make more money.
Thanks for being here. I’ll see you next time.