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.
Tock 20 was a long-term goal already in place that was merely accelerated by the events and effects of COVID-19, Kokonas said. It includes new features like contactless payment, which has become a necessity as restaurants welcome diners back but attempt to minimize direct contact.
The goal was to create a unified all-in-one reservation system that combines functionality now in demand as restaurants are forced to rely more on off-premise service, even as they reopen for dine-in, said Kokonas.
Tock 20 has multiple tabs to organize an operator or manager’s upcoming reservations (including a list of guest names, waitlist, and delivery orders), as well as in-house events, floor plan and menu changes that can be updated on the fly.
Other features include an upgraded waitlist and pre-dining questionnaires that can allow guests to order their meals before setting foot in the restaurant — also to minimize person-to person contact.
Tock To Go, which allows restaurant on their systems to pivot easily to pickup and takeout orders, was launched in March shortly after dine-in restrictions began. Over the last few months, Tock’s To Go service allowed restaurants that did not typically offer takeout and delivery to sign up to sell meal kits, to-go packs and virtual events that could help them weather the shutdown stage.
Tock is not the only reservations system pivoting to better fit the new normal. Resy added a mobile waitlist and contactless pickup feature, while OpenTable began opening up their services to grocery stores, bars and wineries.
Since launching the new features, Kokonas said they’ve been onboarding 30-50 new restaurant customers per day and have grown 300% since last year. He attributed the increase to a flat commission rate of 3% on all pickups and deliveries.
“Restaurants control this individually not only by location but also by item being sold,” Kokonas said. “As elevated to-go continues to grow and evolve, our pickup and delivery not only is customizable, it also allows for proper kitchen pacing and inventory at a granular level, allowing restaurants to sell more and deliver higher quality experiences.”
But even as restaurants reservations systems expand their features to match the growing needs of operators and consumers, Kokonas said their traditional reservations are starting to build back up again. After plummeting in mid-March, the number of reservations has grown quickly since the end of May, almost overtaking the number of to-go orders, and Tock anticipates the ratio of off-premise to in-house dining to continue to shift.
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