This user-friendly restaurant software tops our list for restaurant reservation software. Our expert explains the pros, cons, pricing, and the cutting-edge feature that can boost revenues.
This article is part of a larger series on POS Systems.
Tock is a restaurant management app that includes tools for reservations, online ordering, and event management. Tock tops our most recent ranking of restaurant reservation software, earning a 4.30 out of 5. With ticket-based reservations, deep customer analytics, email marketing tools, and an integrated ordering site, Tock is an excellent fit for independent restaurants that struggle with no-shows or third-party platform fees. It also supports a potential revenue lifeline in the age of inflation and rising costs—dynamic pricing.
Tock is great for independent restaurants that struggle with no-shows with its unique ticket-based reservation setting, which lets you require pre-payment for meals and charge higher prices for premium tables or reservations at a premium time. This dynamic pricing can help you offset rising operational costs without raising prices across the board.
Apart from topping our restaurant reservation systems buyer’s guide, Tock is also one of our top recommendations for restaurant online ordering systems, with excellent tools for meal kit sales in particular. In addition to reservations and online ordering, Tock offers ticketed event sales tools that you can use for one-time special events like themed dinners, or to support a completely ticketed business. Tock’s tools are great for wineries that host tastings and nontraditional food businesses like culinary tours, cooking classes, or pop-up restaurants.
Tock is not the best when you want to integrate with a point-of-sale (POS) system other than Toast or Lightspeed. And if you do a high volume of online orders, you’ll find Tock’s tools a bit limiting. If you don’t need ticket-based reservations or event sales tools, then you can likely find a less expensive reservation system. If you want to increase your restaurant’s online visibility
POS-built reservations and waitlist management
Increased online visibility and dining room management
Pay-as-you-go online ordering
$39–$449 per month, plus $1.00–$1.50 per reservation
$1.50 per order, plus processing fees (2.75%+$0.30)
Tock offers three main products: reservations, online ordering (Tock To Go), and event booking (Tock Events). Each module has its own pricing structure. Of the three, Tock’s reservations module is the only one that requires monthly fees. Expand the sections below for a detailed look at each module’s pricing options.
Tock Reservations is available at two subscription levels: Plus and Pro. Both Plus and Pro support unlimited reservations, unlimited users, and unlimited devices. They both also include Tock To Go and Tock Events features. The only difference is the commission fee on prepaid reservations. Plus subscribers pay a 2% commission on prepaid reservations while Pro users pay a higher baseline month fee with no commission fees.
Tock Reservations Pricing
You can secure reservations with pre-payments (which are subject to standard processing fees), or you can choose not to require advance payments for reservations, though most Tock users opt for this reservation system so they can “sell” their available tables in a ticket model and avoid the cost of no-show reservations.
Tock also offers online ordering and delivery tools. The pricing for online ordering is pay-as-you-go. All you pay for online orders is a 3% commission fee, plus payment processing.
Tock To Go Pricing
Per-order commission fee
Varies by processor (see payments section below)
Restaurants that offer events like themed dinners or wine tastings may also want to use Tock’s event features. Tock’s event pricing model is simple—3% commission per ticketed transaction plus $0.99 per ticket. Your online sales will also be subject to payment processing fees, but you only pay for Event tools when you use them; there are no monthly fees.
Tock Event Pricing
Per-ticket commission fee
Varies by processor (see payments section below)
You can choose which Tock tools you need and leave the others, or start with one and add the others as needed. Many Tock users start with Tock’s reservation tools and expand into event sales or online ordering as their business grows, or they think of a novel way to use them for one-time events.
For example, you might begin with Tock’s basic reservations package, but decide to turn your New Year’s Eve dinner into a ticketed event, offer tickets to a wine dinner with a popular winemaker, or test drive a new menu by creating a VIP online ordering experience to investors or friends of the restaurant.
Tock supports online payments via Braintree and Stripe. At the time of this writing, Braintree lists its online payment processing rates as 2.59% plus 49 cents, and Stripe lists 2.9% plus 30 cents, though rates may change at any time at Braintree’s and Stripe’s sole discretion. If you process a high volume of transactions or process high-ticket transactions, you can request a custom rate quote by contacting Stripe’s or Braintree’s sales departments directly.
Stripe and Braintree are both fine payment processors, but if you already have a payment processor attached to your POS system, it can be a bit of a pain to add a completely new processor just for your Tock transactions.
Tock also sells its own line of gift cards that all Tock customers can accept for payments. If you want to create and accept custom-branded gift cards, you can do so via Tock’s integration with The Customer Connection. However, if you want to accept cash payments for customer orders, the system doesn’t easily support this payment method.
- Multichannel booking: Book from Tock website, Tock app, restaurant website, social media or Google searches
- Social media integrations: Customers can sign in with Facebook, Google, or Apple account credentials
- Book locations: Book specific dining areas (indoors, patio, etc.) if available
- Messaging & feedback: Automated confirmation SMS text messages and customer feedback forms
Tock is incredibly user-friendly for your guests. Tock allows your customers to reserve tables, place online orders or purchase tickets from your restaurant website, the Tock platform website, the Tock smartphone app, your social media accounts, or directly from a Google search. Customers can find your restaurant by name on the Tock app, or discover your business via a location-based search.
Tock sends automated confirmation text and email messages and accepts pre-payments for a deposit or an entire meal including tax and gratuity (depending on your account settings). Tock also sends an automated customer pre-booking survey so customers can communicate dietary restrictions, food allergies, or other special requests. Additionally, the system sends a post-reservation customer feedback survey, prompting customers to give you feedback directly, rather than blast you on Yelp and Google.
Tock is a unique restaurant management tool, offering a combination of prepaid reservations, ticketed event booking, customer analytics, online ordering, and delivery tools. Tock’s greatest innovation is the way it allows restaurants to sell table reservations the same way concert venues sell tickets. You can require customers to pay for their meals 100% upfront, including tax and gratuity and charge a higher price for premium seats. This dynamic pricing virtually eliminates no-shows, which can be a business killer for small restaurants.
In addition to the those we’ll examine in detail below, other Tock features include:
- Reporting and analytics: Tock reports range from high-level monthly sales overviews to detailed daily line item reports that track comps, discounts, and individual item sales. You can access reports from any web-enabled device.
- Platform website: Tock lists all Tock restaurants on its searchable website. Customers in your city can search the Tock website for pickup and delivery options at their preferred mealtime and discover your restaurant. This is a good option in competitive city locations or in tourist destinations where travelers often search for new restaurants.
- Customizable user permissions and settings: Choose what information various team members can access. Limit access to customer information or check modification functions. You can also allow team members to configure their preferred display settings so that they see their Tock dashboard in a way that makes the most sense to them.
- Multichannel reservations: Customers can book through your website, the Tock website, or the Tock app.
- Browser-based: You can access your Tock reservations on a tablet, computer, or smartphone, anywhere in your restaurant.
- Timed table release: Choose when to release tables for new bookings.
- Ticketed seating: You have the option to require pre-payment for reservations, similar to a ticket model.
- Waitlist tools: You can allow customers to add themselves to an online waitlist and alert them with automated SMS text alerts when a table is available.
- Concierge support: Special portals for hotel concierges support referral bookings.
With Tock, you can offer traditional reservations for a single party at a specific time, with no money changing hands. You can also sell your available tables using Tock’s dynamic ticket model by requiring a deposit that is applied to the final bill or requiring that guests order and pay for all of their food, beverages, and tips in advance.
Tock allows you to feature the things that make your restaurant special and make these experiences bookable on your website, on the Tock app, or on the Tock website. You can include special experiences for customers to reserve, like tasting menus, chef’s tables, wine tastings, mixology experiences, and more. For example, restaurants with popular patios can create separate reservation categories (and prices) for those coveted tables.
Tock’s reservation optimization tools will show you where you have opportunities to squeeze in more reservations. Popular restaurants can also control exactly when each table becomes available for booking. This increases the buzz around your restaurant and levels the playing field for customers trying to secure a reservation at a specific time. It will also save you labor hours when booking popular dining-out dates like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and New Year’s Eve.
Beyond reservations, Tock includes a couple of options for waitlist management. You can have your staff manage an in-house waitlist of customers who arrive in person at your restaurant. You can also offer an online waitlist that customers can add themselves to before they arrive. Either waitlist option includes SMS texting tools so your team can send text messages to alert waiting customers when their tables are ready.
- Tock-hosted ordering site: Build your online ordering site using Tock’s guided setup wizard.
- Slot-based ordering: Each order is tied to a specific time slot.
- Order limits: You can set order limits by time slot to control the flow of orders.
- In-house driver option: Assign delivery orders to a team of in-house drivers.
- Third-party driver option: Hail on-demand drivers from Uber or DoorDash.
- Private ordering link: You can create an online ordering experience for a private group of customers without making your menu available to the general public.
- Age verification: Alert your drivers and to-go staff to check IDs on pick-up and delivery orders that include alcohol.
- Print to kitchen: Set your online order tickets to print directly on kitchen printers to speed service.
Tock features a highly controllable online ordering system; all orders are timeslot-based. You can customize virtually every aspect of your ordering program from minimum and maximum order amount, time between orders, and what automated messages customers receive. You can also add age verification for age-restricted items like alcohol.
All this customization may sound like it will take a lot of administrative time, but once you have set your parameters, you can feel confident that online order surprises won’t disrupt your in-house operation.
Tock organizes your orders by pick-up time. This allows you to control exactly how many orders your kitchen receives at a specific time. It also encourages customers to place orders in available time slots, keeping your staff busy and engaged throughout the shift, rather than getting slammed with orders at 7 p.m., then hearing crickets the rest of the night.
Its ordering site supports several order types, from individual menu items to wine bottles and merchandise such as tote bags and groceries. Where it excels, however, is with family-style meals, special occasion meals, and meal kits. You can let orders print directly to your kitchen printers without additional approvals in the front of the house. You can also print order slips from a standard desktop computer, which works especially well for restaurants that only accept orders with 24-hour advance notice.
If you want to offer delivery, Tock supports both in-house driver management and third-party drivers. You can easily assign deliveries to on-staff drivers via the Tock To Go dashboard, or you can route deliveries to third-party drivers via DoorDash or UberEats for flat-rate, per-delivery prices.
You can also offer curated experiences to a select group of loyal customers or friends of the restaurant by creating custom order links for offerings that are not available to the general public. This is an excellent fit for managing pop-up restaurants, testing new menu items, or running a “soft-opening” of your online ordering operation.
- Private event settings: Include a private event inquiry form on your main Tock page.
- Ticketed events: Create ticketed special events that are open to multiple customers.
- Add-on options: Let guests customize their event experience with add-ons like reserved tables, included valet charges, or food and beverage packages.
- Optional image gallery: Include a gallery of up to 20 images to show your customers what to expect from your event.
- Restricted visibility: Limit event page visibility to specific customer groups.
- QR code ticketing: Issue tickets via QR code for easy check-in.
Restaurants that have private dining rooms (PDRs) or book their whole restaurant space for weddings and other events can manage private event inquiries through Tock. You can include a private event inquiry form on your main Tock page so you never miss a chance to book a large party.
If your restaurant plans special events that are open to the public, Tock also has tools for you. You can create individual event pages for popular events like wine dinners, cooking classes, themed parties, concerts, or other special happenings. Customers can buy tickets directly through your event page and make additional purchases for food, beverages, tables, or other available options. You can add (and charge for) anything you think customers would like, from bottles of reserve wine to meet-and-greets with your chef.
Tickets to Tock events are issued via QR code, allowing your team to easily check in guests when they arrive. Scanning a customer’s ticket shows their customer information, so your staff can quickly identify VIPs or guests with special needs. Alternatively, you can view your event guest list from your reservation dashboard and check in guests manually.
- Detailed customer profiles: Know what your customers look like, what they do, what they like, and what they are allergic to.
- Filtered customer lists: Create lists of any type of customer that is valuable to you, from VIPs to red wine lovers.
- Customer surveys: Create pre- and post-event surveys to collect customer preferences or feedback.
- Targeted discounts and campaigns: Create discounts, events, and private ordering experiences tailored to the tastes of a specific customer group.
- Social media integration: Add “Book Now” buttons to your restaurant’s Facebook and Instagram pages.
Tock tracks detailed customer information across all three of its modules. You can include basics like customer contact information alongside details like occupation, industry affiliation, dining preferences, allergies, and even profile photos. If you’ve been using a different reservation platform—like Resy or OpenTable—you can easily import your existing customer list into Tock using Tock’s import tools.
Tock’s tagging feature lets you create customer categories to filter customers by whatever information you like. You can identify investors, local food personalities, vendors, wine lovers, regulars, or VIPs of any stripe. You can use these tags to segment customers into groups for targeted emails or offer access to exclusive menus and events.
Tock Ease of Use
Tock is an incredibly easy-to-use system. Once you sign up for the service, the Tock Team will set up your business account, importing your menus or other information for you. This process typically takes at least two days, but it depends on what modules you choose to use. For example, the setup for a reservation system tends to be more in-depth than an events-only subscription.
No matter what Tock services you choose, your Tock account comes with 24/7, US-based customer support. Every Tock customer service representative I have interacted with is highly knowledgeable about both Tock’s capabilities and the needs of restaurants. Tock’s sales team is one of the most knowledgeable restaurant software teams I have ever spoken to. They seem laser-focused on getting you the tools you need to solve your pain point, not trying to sell you functions you don’t need.
In addition to setup support and ongoing customer support, Tock also hosts an online knowledge base with training videos that walk you through creating online ordering menus, event pages, and more. Included articles cover everything from chargeback processing to managing drivers and configuring email and text notifications.
Tock directly integrates with restaurant POS systems Toast and Upserve by Lightspeed. Supported third-party delivery options are Uber and DoorDash. These popular platforms are great for restaurants that use them, but it would be nice to see additional integrations, especially with more restaurant POS systems.
Tock gives small independent restaurants streamlined, user-friendly software solutions that meet their specific needs; it is not a system designed for the enterprise-level business with a lower functioning subscription for the “small guys.” I’ve followed this software since it developed in 2014, and I’ve recommended it personally to countless small restaurants, wineries, and event businesses.
Tock’s score in the category is a little low here, though, because we take user reviews into account. Tock’s average across popular review sites is 3.90, mostly due to some lower scores in 2018 to 2019. I unpack Tock user reviews in the next section, so read on if you want more nuance.
Overall, Tock has great industry karma; the online ordering functions were developed at lightning speed when the COVID-19 pandemic forced restaurant closures. This brand continually creates insightful solutions for independent restaurants, offering them at a price that small restaurants can afford. If Tock has tools you will use—admittedly, they are not a fit for every restaurant—it is worth checking out.
What Users Say in Tock Reviews
Restaurant users generally have a favorable opinion of Tock, though the system has far fewer user reviews than larger systems like OpenTable or Resy. Tock’s reviews are further complicated by the fact that—as with most reservation system reviews—you’re as likely to find reviews of the platform from customers as you are from restaurant owners. This can skew Tock’s overall rating.
- Capterra: Tock earns a 3.6 out of 5 based on 10 reviews, though some of these reviews are from consumers, some of whom criticize the Tock platform for the business practices of restaurants that use Tock.
- G2: Tock receives a 4.2 out of 5 based on three reviews.
- Hotel Tech Reviews: Tock earns a 5 out of 5 based on 10 reviews from verified hotel users. Tock is also ranked as the sixth-best overall restaurant management software on the site.
Positive reviews mention the robust customer database tools and how the prepaid reservations reduce the pain of no-shows. Negative reviews note that Tock lacks the reach of reservations behemoth OpenTable, and mention that the web-based system can sometimes lag if the internet connection is weak. Some restaurant customers gave Tock a negative rating because they were unable to get a refund from one of Tock’s client restaurants, which is completely out of Tock’s hands.
|Users Like||Users Don’t Like|
|More cost-effective than pricier reservation or online ordering systems||Tock supports few POS integrations|
|Support for event sales makes event planning easy||Lacks the customer awareness of larger platforms like OpenTable|
|Detailed customer profiles streamline guest management||Requires strong internet connection to work|
Methodology—How We Evaluated Tock
We compared several of the most popular restaurant reservation systems against the same restaurant-focused criteria. We looked at overall price, guest experience, operations tools, and ease of use. Finally, we gave our expert score based on our own experience testing out and using the software.
Click through the tabs below for a deeper look at our scoring criteria:
15% of Overall Score
We considered the monthly fee for each system, and whether or not it imposes volume limits or charges extra for SMS messaging or integrations. We also looked at contract terms, free trials, and overall value.
25% of Overall Score
For this section, we considered if the system had tools for guest metrics and analytics, social media integrations, and the overall popularity of the app. Automated confirmations, two-way SMS messaging, and post-dining questionnaires were also considered.
25% of Overall Score
20% of Overall Score
We looked at the software interface for guests and operators, assessing how easy it was for both user types to access key information and features. We also looked at ratings on the App Store, useful integrations, and customization options.
15% of Overall Score
Finally, we considered any standout features of each system and how the software compared against the price. We also used sites such as Capterra to see what real-world operators thought of each system. Then, we awarded points based on our personal experience interacting with the software and the company’s customer support.
Meet Our Experts
Who exactly are we? All of the restaurant software on Fit Small Business is considered and scored by our restaurant experts. Tock was reviewed and scored by:
Mary King has worked in every type of food service business, from coffee shops and food trucks to full-service fine dining restaurants. With over 14 years of industry experience, and over a decade managing restaurants, she has used all kinds of restaurant software in real-world food service businesses.
Ray Delucci has 10 years of food industry experience and has managed full-service restaurants and large events, and even helped manage prep for food trucks while in college in the Napa Valley. He has used restaurant software across many different food service sectors. Ray is the host and creator of the Line Cook Thoughts podcast.
Tock is a cost-effective platform that helps small independent restaurants manage reservations, event sales, and online orders. Expanded customer profiles support tailored marketing campaigns and allow you to offer perks and special events to select customer groups.
This platform works best for restaurants that have a high profile or loyal customer base, as it does not yet have the reach of discovery platforms like OpenTable or Yelp. But if you want dynamic pricing to reduce the pain and cost of no-shows, you won’t find a better reservation system. Contact Tock directly for a demo and see if it is right for your restaurant.