Restaurant Coronavirus Relief: Tabit Channel Program Is A Winning Recipe

‘We’re doing something that is going to save restaurants,’ says Tabit Vice President of Sales Ken Richard. ‘We’re helping restaurants convert the way they operate to be more efficient in the COVID- 19 era. We want restaurants to survive. They are going to be our customers.’


Tabit is winning over partners with a breakthrough channel program and a coronavirus relief six-months-free offer for its cloud-based service for the battered restaurant industry.

Hospitality solution providers credit the executive team behind Tabit, including 30-year channel veteran Ken Richard, a former top channel executive for NCR and Xerox, for leading the charge on a much-needed restaurant industry rescue program. They say the 100 percent channel model is providing them with the right ingredients to help restaurants build a takeout business in the midst of a pandemic that has forced millions of restaurants to close their doors and lay off staff.

Tabit—an Israeli cloud-based services provider that in February closed an additional $35 million in venture capital funding for the North America sales offensive—provides a next-generation Software-as-a-Service platform that opens the doors for restaurants to do takeout orders. One of the big benefits of the service—which uses Apple iPads and mobile devices—is the ability for restaurants to dramatically reduce the exorbitant charges from online restaurant delivery companies. One restaurant that recently converted to the cloud service, for example, is saving $3,000 a month on payment processing fees.

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“This is a great opportunity,” said Austin Chavez, CEO of ReSource Point of Sale, Chicago, a national end-to-end hospitality technology solution provider that is working with Tabit. “I haven’t seen anything like this, whether it’s providing the six months free with technical resources or reducing the rates that these restauranteurs have to pay delivery companies.”

Chavez, who in his 17 years in the restaurant technology solution provider market has never seen a financial tsunami like the one the industry is grappling with now, said it’s heartening to have some “good news” with the launch of the Tabit program. “Tabit is out there making an effort to help some restaurants that really need it right now,” he said “Everyone is scrambling. Businesses are failing. Tabit is providing help to these restaurants. This is the right thing to do, and it is going to garner them a lot of loyalty.”

The platform is providing restaurants moving to a takeout model the ability to drastically reduce the costly fees from delivery services, said Chavez. “A lot of these restaurants are getting killed by the fees [charged by online delivery services],” he said. “They’re excited by the fact that the fees with Tabit are reasonable.”

Chavez, who frequently turns down vendors looking to team with his company, said he was impressed not only by the “cutting- edge” Tabit cloud services software, but by the proven point-of- sale industry team behind the company, including Tabit co-founder and CEO Barry Shaked and co-founder and President Nadav Solomon.

“The reason that we stopped and looked and decided to engage with them was because of the people behind the company that are driving the business,” said Chavez. “They have very strong roots in this business, and they have hired high-end talent like Ken Richard. They have a channel team that has been around for a long time who really know how to build and develop a channel.”

Chavez said he is excited to see the vision behind the Tabit offering, including a plan to offer local online platforms that help restaurants stand out in their respective markets. “A restaurant can sometimes get lost in the mix with a restaurant that is 20 miles from them,” he said. “Tabit is building out a model that gives customers clearer access to their local restaurant base.”

Scott Appel, owner of Gotham Hospitality Solutions, a Wayne N.J.-based point-of-sale solution provider, said he sees the Tabit offer as a watershed moment for restaurants trying to survive in the wake of the pandemic.

“It feels great to help these businesses,” said Appel, who has already moved three restaurants in Northern New Jersey to the Tabit service. “These restaurants needed a professional solution in days—not weeks. It has helped their business from the day they plugged in.”

Those restaurants are repurposing members of their staff as order takers, packers or somebody that shuttles orders out to a waiting car, said Appel. “We’re helping these restaurants revamp their business for delivery and takeout,” he said. “One of the most important messages we can get out to people is that this is an online ordering solution that can help. It’s OK if you have another POS system that is not an online ordering solution. We’ll help with the solution and see if it can transform into your only solution later on, but right now let’s help you through the tough times.”

Gotham, which is also offering restaurants protective screens for point-of-sale checkouts, has put the Tabit offer front and center on its website with the proclamation: “Free Online Ordering System For Restaurants … Let Tabit MobileFirst Cloud POS help get your restaurant online for delivery and takeout. Try it six months on us.”

“It’s an exciting product,” said Appel, who over the course of a 22- year career has moved several thousand restaurants to point-of-sale systems. “The product has so many things to offer and the majority of the things help in this environment from online ordering to contactless payments to notifying the customer that their order is ready, minimizing their chance of walking into a place and interacting with someone that might be sick. The product came along at the right time. It is very millennial-based. I think this product is going to make a difference on all levels of food service operations.”

One client that worked with Gotham to build an online presence had an old point-of-sale system and was able to move to an online ordering system without a big capital expenditure, said Appel. The cloud-based services model is in stark contrast to legacy point-of-sale systems that required a big capital expenditure and more than a month to get up and running, he said.

“With this we are getting customers up and running in a few days,” Appel said. “This isn’t 30 or 40 days. In 30 or 40 days they could be out of business. This gives those restaurants the ability in a few days to be making money on takeout, paying the rent and paying their staff.”

The Tabit service has eliminated mistakes that came with taking orders over the phone and increased the average takeout order size, said Appel.

One client has seen a 30 percent increase in the average order size, said Appel. “Restaurants see an immediate impact on sales when they put pictures of their dishes on their online ordering site,” he said. “The checkout order goes up. People start impulse buying. They often add an appetizer or a desert.”

Appel—a former corporate chef for California Pizza Kitchen and director of operations for the Red Robin burger restaurant chain— is looking forward to helping provide restaurants all the benefits of the Tabit system, including personalizing the customer experience. “Tabit provides the ability to really learn what the customer wants with a full complement of products,” he said. “You can see what the customer has ordered in the past, texting them and marketing to them.”

Appel said he sees the ability to build and grow a cloud-based services business with Tabit. “This is the present and the future,” he said. “I’m really excited. There is no telling how much we can grow the business. It’s very easy to justify the cost of the product to the customer.”

Tabit’s Richard, who has built multiple channel businesses as both a vendor and partner, said he has crafted the Tabit channel model as the ultimate 100 percent partner-only program.

“We’re doing 100 percent channels in the United States,” he said. “We are going only through channels. We are the only player in this space that is doing this. We are going through smaller and regional partners, national partners and global systems integrators. This is a modern channel program.”

The program—which is called Tabit Simple—has no fees, no quotas, no territories and allows channel partners to own the Tacustomer relationship and billing with a firm commitment that Tabit will “not compete” with them. It provides the ability for partners to earn double-digit margins on implementation services and recurring revenue for both cloud services and payment processing fees.

The ability for partners to own the billing and the relationship is a breakthrough in a cloud services market where many vendors want to own the billing relationship, said Richard.

“The big problem with channel programs in this industry is they try to spend all their time trying to tell partners how to run their business,” he said. “Partners need to be able to run their own businesses. I’m going to assume these partners have their own best interests at heart and are going to run their companies as efficiently and profitably as they can. I am going to provide them with technology, support, marketing funds and resource support so they can go out and sell.”

The partner-focused program is attracting hospitality solution providers who have been “abused” by competitive programs with direct competition and unnecessary mandates, said Richard.

Richard is recruiting end-to-end hospitality technology solution providers that can handle everything from Wi-Fi access point placement to on-site support. “These guys are selling technology,” he said. “It’s point-of-sale online ordering, reservations, seating, bar software, kitchen software and analytics. We’re selling all of it.”

The biggest breakthrough in the current high-processing-fee takeout delivery environment may well be Tabit’s payment processing “agnostic” model, said Richard. “As soon as you have no choice on payment processing, the price goes up,” he said. “This is costing restaurants a fortune. We just flipped a restaurant in Dallas and we’re saving them $3,000 a month on payment processing alone. It’s a ton of money for a restaurant. It’s the difference between a restaurant making money or losing money. We’re payment-processing-agnostic. We go through a gateway to all the major processors. When the payment processors compete for your business, you get better pricing. That’s the way capitalism works.”

Richard said the Tabit model is providing a lifeline for restaurants that have been battered by both the pandemic and the high fees from online delivery companies. “We’re doing something that is going to save restaurants,” he said. “We’re helping restaurants convert the way they operate to be more efficient in the COVID- 19 era. We want restaurants to survive. They are going to be our customers.”