Tabbedout: The iPhone App That Lets You Close Your Tab without Really Opening One

Categories: Whimsy

Thumbnail image for Katy Trail Ice House Patio.JPG
The Katy Trail Ice House was a zoo on Friday. There wasn't a single seat available, and there was a wait at the bar to get a beer. Despite the crowd, I was able to get in, order a Lawnmower, chug it and get out in about five minutes. How'd I do it? An iPhone app called Tabbedout that promises to liberate bar and restaurant patrons from waiting around for their check ever again.

Here's how it works.

Once the app is downloaded, you enter the same basic billing information you'd have to enter into any website before you use your credit card. The information then resides on the phone.

When you walk into a bar equipped with a Tabbedout system and open the app, it will ask you if you want to open a tab. Next the phone displays an alphanumeric code that you display to your bartender or waitress. I flashed the bartender my code over some dude's shoulder and asked for a Lawnmower. About one minute later I had my beer. And about 30 seconds after that, my "tab" appeared on my phone.

When you're ready to check out, you simply select the tip amount you want to leave with a slider, click the pay tab button, and Tabbedout sends you a receipt. It's pretty brilliant.

While I don't see the app providing as much of a purpose at a normal restaurant, its usefulness at busy bars is obvious. While everyone else crushes the bartenders after last call, you can sneak out the front door and hail the first cab home. Or for all you misers out there, you can leave a cheap-ass tip and not have to look your bartender in the eye.

For now there's only a handful of bars using the system in Dallas, but if it works as well for everyone else as it did for me, it will end up in every college bar in the world by next fall, and plenty of others, too.

Location Info

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Katy Trail Ice House

3127 Routh St., Dallas, TX

Category: Music


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14 comments
The Vine
The Vine

Is it available on the Aloha POS system yet?

Rick Orr
Rick Orr

Scott, thank you for the post on Tabbedout.  While we are based in Austin, I grew up near Dallas (Sulphur Springs) and lived Uptown back when Hank Haney driving range was where West Village sits today so adding places like Katy Trail, Humperdinks, Foundry, Sushi Zushi, Barley House, etc. has been very exciting and we are just getting started in DFW.  

With regards to the tipping feature you mentioned a few have posted about here, the merchant actually sets minimum and recommended tip amounts when they enroll with us.  As such, and to be sure our 'miser' friends - we all have them - aren't surprised, using the app requires that you at least tip that venue's minimum amount (usually 15%) - this is true if the server closes your check as well.  Of course, for a large and busy place like Katy Trail, being able to closeout a tab from the valet line is well worth an otherwise very fair tip.   

One last clarification per Mark's comments on fees.  The one comment about $.50 charges is true in the sense that we validate the card you are using Tabbedout to pay with is a good payment source; however, we never capture those funds.  This user saw a pending charge from saving a card and opening a tab but was never charged - Tabbedout is 100% free for the user AND we will be giving free money away in DFW for using the app very soon so keep an eye out for a gold 'Offers' button - tested in Austin and, as you'd guess, folks love free money / beer.

As for the $800 on a $20 tab, this was a bug related to the venue's processor and together we (the processor, POS, venue and Tabbedout) sorted this out quickly.  We don't process your payment, the venue does, but as with anything, occasionally there are hiccups and our partners and team are 24/7 looking to make sure our customers and merchants are happy.

In the end, what's really great is that you don't have to hand your card over and risk leaving it behind.  

All this said, we are just getting started in DFW and love your readers' commentary and feedback...please keep it coming and we appreciate your support in helping us grow. 

Cheers,

Rick OrrFounderTabbedout

primi timpano
primi timpano

Let the bartender see a twenty or better, tip hard on first drink--service deserving--and usually you will get plenty of attention. If it takes more than 10 minutes to get a drink, you are in the wrong place my friend, and you better leave.

GusMitchem
GusMitchem

Wow that's neat , I want to use my phone and create records for everything I do , is there an app to tell me when to piss too

Cash still works quite well , let's stop making life so complicated in an effort just to use technology

mark zero (Jason)
mark zero (Jason)

Dunno about the iPhone side, but according to the reviews, the Android app has billing issues...

I used TabbedOut at a bar in Denton, Texas, and it charged my card almost $800 on a $20 tab. Please be careful when using this app.Worked great at my local pub but description says free and I've had two random .50 cent charges from Austin, TX on my card. Plus I now have a pending charge for 45 dollars in Washington DC. I live in Washington State. Seems a little sketchy to me. Uninstalling until I see what that charge is for.

etc.

[Edit: see good response from company, below.]

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

This sounds really cool.I'm interested to see what the reaction by bartenders will be.  It's easy now to low tip a douchey bartender that paid little mind to you except to when you closed your tab. Now, I can skip out of there without tipping him? Genius.Scott, does it have a reminder feature if you forget to close out your tab?

Rick Orr
Rick Orr

Hi The Vine,Our sales team - sales at tabbedout dot com is available discuss our support for the various POS systems if you would like to contact them directly or if you have a particular place in mind.  We would love to hear from you.

Cheers,

Rick

Ren
Ren

How is this different than Pay with Square app?That one has been out for quite a while now.

mark zero (Jason)
mark zero (Jason)

Glad to hear the over-bill bug was stomped. Can't wait to try it out soon.

GusMitchem
GusMitchem

 You know what I say " When you can no longer get a drink and take a piss, it ceases to be a bar!"

Scott Reitz
Scott Reitz

 I don't see one. You can tip after leaving though. you don't have to be inside the restaurant to close out.

Alternatively the bar can close it out for you, but the rules that govern that aren't spelled out yet.

Rick Orr
Rick Orr

Hi Ren,The Pay with Square app is a similar consumer experience allowing you to pass your payment credentials to the merchant's 'Square' or 'Square Register' account without handing over plastic.  The key difference is the merchant types for Tabbedout versus Square.  

Square, PayPal Here, Intuit and others have done an amazing thing with mobile phones by making so that most anyone, particularly small merchants, can accept credit cards.  This is ideal for the ever-popular (happy to see Dallas adding more and more as we've enjoyed a proliferation of pretty damn good food via mobile trucks here in Austin) food truck vendor who doesn't really need a full-blown Point-of-sale system (Micros, Aloha, Dinerware, Digital Dining, Future POS, Positouch, etc.) but wants to increase their opportunity for revenue by taking plastic in today's mostly cashless world.

A business like Katy Trail, Humperdink's or our recently announced partner, TGI Friday's, uses their POS to essentially run their business while also processing credit cards.  With Tabbedout we've gone after the 500,000 or so full-service bars and restaurants (perhaps 90% of which already own a POS system) to allow consumers the convenience and security (great comments above and on a related article by the way) of opening a tab from an iPhone or Android device via our free app, persisting and viewing their tab (a feature unique to our mobile payment model) and, of course, setting a fair tip and paying.

In summary, Square and the other mobile acceptance players are doing a great thing by making it easier for smaller merchants to accept payment - we are indeed fans, but our customers are larger merchants (bars, restaurants, casinos, hotels, bowling alleys, etc.) who already have a POS.

Rick OrrFounder Tabbedout

Rick Orr
Rick Orr

Hi Ren,The Pay with Square app is a similar consumer experience allowing you to pass your payment credentials to the merchant's 'Square' or 'Square Register' account without handing over plastic.  The key difference is the merchant types for Tabbedout versus Square.  

Square, PayPal Here, Intuit and others have done an amazing thing with mobile phones by making so that most anyone, particularly small merchants, can accept credit cards.  This is ideal for the ever-popular (happy to see Dallas adding more and more as we've enjoyed a proliferation of pretty damn good food via mobile trucks here in Austin) food truck vendor who doesn't really need a full-blown Point-of-sale system (Micros, Aloha, Dinerware, Digital Dining, Future POS, Positouch, etc.) but wants to increase their opportunity for revenue by taking plastic in today's mostly cashless world.

A business like Katy Trail, Humperdink's or our recently announced partner, TGI Friday's, uses their POS to essentially run their business while also processing credit cards.  With Tabbedout we've gone after the 500,000 or so full-service bars and restaurants (perhaps 90% of which already own a POS system) to allow consumers the convenience and security (great comments above and on a related article by the way) of opening a tab from an iPhone or Android device via our free app, persisting and viewing their tab (a feature unique to our mobile payment model) and, of course, setting a fair tip and paying.

In summary, Square and the other mobile acceptance players are doing a great thing by making it easier for smaller merchants to accept payment - we are indeed fans, but our customers are larger merchants (bars, restaurants, casinos, hotels, bowling alleys, etc.) who already have a POS.

Rick OrrFounder Tabbedout

Rick Orr
Rick Orr

Thanks Mark..please let us know how your experience is.  We are launching Offers (= free money) in DFW soon so look for the yellow icon and 'Offers' button in the app for savings for you and your friends.

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