This article is part of a larger series on POS Systems.
Tock is a restaurant reservation, online ordering, and event sales app. You can use Tock’s tools individually or combine all three tools to create a comprehensive solution. With restaurant point-of-sale (POS) integrations, ticket-based reservations, flexible driver management tools, and an integrated ordering site, Tock is an excellent fit for independent restaurants that struggle with no-shows or third-party platform fees.
What We Recommend Tock For:
- Independent restaurants that sell online meal kits: Tock is one of our top recommendations for restaurant online ordering systems, with excellent tools for meal kit sales in particular.
- Small restaurants with limited seating: Restaurants with fewer than 50 seats can lose a lot of money with no-shows. Tock’s ticket-based reservation model ensures that all reservations are prepaid, which alleviates this pain point.
- Tasting rooms and event venues: Tock’s event sales tools can be curated to offer tastings at wineries and distilleries or tickets to one-time special events like themed dinners.
- Pop-ups: Experiential pop-ups like culinary tours, one-time wine or culinary classes, or restaurants with limited runs can sell tickets or tables using Tock’s reservation or event tools.
When Tock Would Not Be a Good Fit:
- Restaurants that want to increase online visibility: Tock has a web platform where member restaurants can list their reservations and online ordering options, but it is not as popular as reservation platforms OpenTable and Yelp or third-party ordering platforms like DoorDash or UberEats.
- High-volume online ordering operations: If you need to support a high volume of online orders, you’ll be better supported by something like PopMenu, Zuppler, or CloudWaitress. See our guide to the best restaurant online ordering systems for more options.
- Restaurants that want full POS integration: Currently, Tock only integrates directly with Toast and Upserve by Lightspeed. If you use a different POS and want reservations and online ordering tools that integrate directly with your system, you’ll prefer OpenTable for reservations (19 POS integrations including Lightspeed, Aloha, & Micros), and Restolabs for online ordering (its open API supports multiple integrations).
Tock offers three main products: reservations, online ordering, and event booking. Each module has its own pricing structure. Of the three, Tock’s reservations module is the only one that requires monthly fees. Tock’s reservations tools are offered at three subscription tiers: Plus, Pro, and Enterprise. All three include unlimited bookings, users, and devices, as well as Tock’s excellent guest management tools. The main difference between them is the per-reservation fees; Plus users pay a 2% commission on each reservation, while Pro and Enterprise users do not.
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 example, you might begin with Tock’s basic reservations package, but decide to turn your New Year’s Eve dinner into a ticketed event, or offer tickets to a wine dinner with a popular winemaker.
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.
Tock is a unique restaurant management tool, offering a combination of reservation, event booking, online ordering, and delivery tools. Tock’s greatest innovation is the way it allows restaurants to sell table reservations the same way that concert venues sell tickets. You can require customers to pay for their meals 100% upfront if you like. This feature virtually eliminates no-shows, which can be a business killer for small restaurants with limited seating.
In addition to those we’ll examine in detail below, other 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 To Go 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 ticket model by requiring a deposit that is applied to the final bill or requiring that guests make 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 even 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.
Online Ordering & Delivery
- 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.
Customer Relationship Management & Marketing
- 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 supports pre-booking surveys so you can collect customers’ preferences or food allergies. You can also include post-visit email messages to prompt customer feedback. This gives you private, actionable insights into your guests’ experiences and lets you fix problems before you hear about them on Yelp.
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 level of membership you choose, your Tock account comes with 24/7, US-based customer support. And it has been our experience when communicating with the Tock team that their representatives are all highly knowledgeable about both Tock’s capabilities and the needs of restaurants.
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.
What Users Think of Tock
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 3.7 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.
- 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. But nearly all reviews state that these are minor quibbles with an otherwise strong system.
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
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.
Tock 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 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.