A POS System That Pays Percentage Rent Automatically

Tim McLaughlin wanted to streamline the customer experience at his Caboose Brewing Co. in Vienna, Virginia, and the POS system he developed also has made accounting and percentage rent a snap for tenants at food halls.

The multiple-points-of-sale model has grown cumbersome for vendors and landlords, said McLaughlin. His GoTab, he said, attracts bookkeeping-averse vendors and has something landlords like, too: “GoTab allows landlords to take on a little more risk on tenants because they know they can pay percentage rent because it’s automatically taken, and customers get the same quick-commerce experience they’ve come to enjoy with online shopping and food delivery,” said co-founder and CEO McLaughlin.

For visitors to food halls, lines move faster, and payouts for groups are easier. The integrated point-of-sale system gives patrons more time to cool their heels at dining tables, pour themselves beverages off a self-serve beer wall or explore. “Say you want a beer and a taco and maybe a slice of pizza. There’s no reason you should have to pay multiple times,” said McLaughlin.

Under GoTab Pass, staffers check a guest’s ID and then configure a credit card and mobile number to a branded RFID card or wristband. From there, a guest orders and then moves through checkout at each vendor by tapping the card or wristband on the merchant’s payment processor. The guest then gets a phone notification when the order is ready for pickup. At the end of the visit, the guest drops the RFID card or wristband into a bucket at the exit and receives a receipt via text message for all transactions made that day. “By digitizing the checkout process and eliminating the need to run a typical credit card and close individual transactions at each vendor, lines move a lot faster,” McLaughlin said. Guests may prepay a specific amount and will get refunded automatically if they spend less, so parents can get cards or bands for their kids with a limit, say $20. And because guests show their IDs when they get their cards or wristbands, underage visitors can’t order alcohol.

Among visitors to The Market at Malcom Yards in the Prospect Park neighborhood of Minneapolis, the RFID card/wristband system resonates with the younger set, party planners and large groups, said co-owner Patricia Wall. “They love that they can all have their own tabs and don’t have to worry about settling up or splitting a tab.”

Streamlined Accounting and Percentage Rent

Revenue from the completed transactions automatically flows to each vendor, minus percentage rent charges. “Everybody can go into the terminal and look at their accounts and see the sales immediately,” said Wall, of The Market at Malcom Yards, which uses GoTab. McLaughlin said: “That’s an attraction for restaurants, which tend to be accounting challenged.” At The Market at Malcolm Yards, tenants do indeed appreciate the simplified accounting process, Wall said, and have enjoyed increased credit card sales since GoTab was installed last July. That owes in part to the ease of ordering and reordering, she said.

Another landlord told McLaughlin it had been getting shorted about 30% of sales before GoTab’s pinpoint sales tracking. While landlords can see their tenants’ transactions instantly, tenants can’t see how other tenants are performing, McLaughlin noted.

But there are challenges, too. “One is getting in front of people and making them understand GoTab and the fact that it takes care of accounting and there is no similar product” that includes multivendor and rent-tabulation use, McLaughlin said. Like other new ideas, “it just takes time to sink in.” Additionally, getting all tenants to agree in their contracts and leases to use the system can be a problem, he conceded.

GoTab processes more than $500 million in transactions annually and operates in 35 states and in Canada. Several U.K. sites soon will adopt the technology, McLaughlin said. The company is expanding thanks in part to a recent capital infusion. “We’ve been pretty careful and are spending it slowly, building product,” McLaughlin said. “We will be cash-flow positive by the end of the year.”

Ultimately, the technology is applicable to such things as e-commerce, catalog fulfilment and pick-and-pack operations, he said, noting that the name was chosen in part because it doesn’t associate exclusively with food-and-beverage.

Attracting Vendors and Visitors

In their travels, Wall — a Culinary Institute of America graduate whose résumé includes stints as a food writer, a Dayton’s department store worker, a caterer and a real estate developer — and her developer/investor husband, John Wall, had enjoyed visiting food halls but often found themselves put off by the repeat, lengthy line-waits as they cobbled meals together from various stations. “You didn’t know when your food was ready, and you’d just stand there when you could be ordering a drink or walking around,” she recalled. “My thought then was that these halls really could use a card with some kind of integrated POS system that sends you texts when orders were ready.”

Since The Market at Malcolm Yards implemented GoTab in July 2022, zero tenants have turned over, “and there’s now a waiting list, including several high-end chefs,” Wall said.

Another GoTab-equipped food hall, Colorado’s Golden Mill, also sought an improved customer experience. It bought into GoTab’s POS, making it far easier for patrons to navigate its two PourMyBeer walls totaling 56 taps, Golden Mill officials noted in a testimonial on GoTab’s website. Guests frequently laud their newfound freedom to get food and beverage quickly using a single card or wristband, a Golden Mill representative told GoTab, and service speed and staffing efficiencies have improved as a result. As guests exit for the night, they drop their cards or bands in locked boxes. When the facility closes tabs at night’s end, it texts final bills to any guests that didn’t close their tabs.

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Situated “in the heart of it all, yet tranquil enough to make you feel away from it all too,” The Limelight Hotel Snowmass offers 99 hotel rooms and 11 residences, as well as footsteps-to-gondola access in winter and summer — right in the middle of Snowmass Base Village.

The Situation

Especially over the last few years, the Limelight Hotels IT team had witnessed a significant shift to contactless technology in the hospitality industry. After evaluating friction points in the guest journey, aligning with modern technology platforms in their restaurant was determined to be an effective way to offer elevated contactless dining experiences to their guests while also evolving their technology platforms to continue to support long-term company goals. Limelight Hotel partnered with GoTab to provide an enhanced on-demand dining experience on par with the brand’s reputation for exceptional guest service.

The Solution

Reducing Staff Touch Points Without Sacrificing Guest Experience

Guests are now able to begin a tab from their room or the property’s restaurant by scanning a QR code, texting a link to friends or family members on the ski slope to add in their orders, then meeting up together at the patio or lodge to enjoy their meal and après ski festivities without interruption. By streamlining tasks like inputting orders and processing payments, this eliminates friction for hotel staff and allows them to focus on delivering renowned guest service for a memorable experience. Since partnering with GoTab, Limelight Snowmass has consistently seen higher check averages and sales.

“We found the Point of Sale platforms we were looking at offered the guest and staff limited opportunities to further reduce touch points or improve the traditional restaurant experience. The GoTab platform enabled the guest to take an active role over the flow of their experience while simultaneously reducing touch points and further streamlining restaurant operations.”Nick Giglio, Manager of Hotel IT Operations, The Little Nell Hotel Group

According to the Limelight Hotels team, some of the other platforms that were evaluated were either missing some of the pieces they were looking for, had weak customer support models, or had little willingness to develop integrations to existing hotel platforms already in place. To that end, GoTab integrated with cloud-based platform, Infor. Together, GoTab and Infor are providing dynamic solutions to support central, efficient service across hotel amenities and deliver exceptional guest experiences.

“Previously, guests would call down to the restaurant to begin an order from their room or while they were out enjoying the ski slopes. Using GoTab, guests can now place orders from anywhere on the resort, giving them the on-demand service they want without interrupting their day. GoTab empowers us to give control to the guest, reducing touch points and streamlining overall restaurant operations, making Limelight Hotel the resort of choice for Snowmass.”Nick Giglio, Manager of Hotel IT Operations, The Little Nell Hotel Group

Since introducing GoTab, The Limelight Hotel has seen a consistent level of upsells and items sold per check resulting in additional revenue capture. They have been able to maintain service levels in their restaurants during periods when there was reduced staffing available without significantly diminishing the guest experience.

The Benefits

Eliminate Phone Orders – Take Orders from the Slopes. Guests can start a tab from their room or on the mountain without interrupting the flow of their day.

Future-Proofed Technologies – Delivering elevated contactless ordering via integration with the Infor hotel management platform.

Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.

  • Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.
  • Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.
  • Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.
  • Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.

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