Tell them you’re paying via the app and you can leave without ever seeing a bill
With Cover, you can dine and dash without getting in trouble.
In the hospitality industry, the least hospitable part of a meal usually comes right at the end, when the check arrives and everyone has to figure out who pays what, and the server has to deal with credit cards. Wouldn’t it be cool if there was an app that let you plug in your card info and preferred tip once, then automatically charges your credit card after your dine? Look no further: Cover is here.
The app, developed by cofounders Mark Egerman and Andrew Cove, lets you dine and dash and not get in trouble for it. Here’s how it works: You download the app, enter your credit card info and preferred tip (which you can change at any time), then let the restaurant know that you’ll be paying with Cover when you arrive. After you’re finished with your meal all you need to do is leave, and the restaurant will automatically charge your card, no questions asked. And if multiple people are dining, it can even be split between them.
Egerman and Cove have so far enlisted 35 of New York City’s top restaurants, including Charlie Bird, Carbone, Empellón Cocina, ZZ’s Clam Bar, Rouge Tomate, and L’Artusi, with more being added weekly (here’s a full list). It’s as simple as it sounds, and not only does it allow you to completely bypass the "check please" portion of the meal, it’s also pretty baller.
Five Unspoken Etiquette Rules to Keep in Mind When Using Money-Sharing Apps
For one, make sure you're sending funds to the right person.
The popularity of money-sharing apps—namely CashApp, Venmo, and Zelle—means that it is easier than ever to split the check between friends at a restaurant or send money to a family member or friend in need. All you have to do is download an app and connect it to your bank account once that&aposs done, you&aposll be able to send money with the push of a button. Many of these apps also offer instant transfers (with a fee) so that recipients can add the balance directly into their bank account right away. But with this ability to transfer funds digitally comes a set of unspoken rules. For this, we asked Jacqueline Whitmore, trusted etiquette expert and the founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, to tell us more.
The Best Restaurant Reservation Software for 2021
- Best Overall:Tablein
- Best for Customization:Resy OS
- Best for Ease of Use:Eat App
- Best Linked to POS:OpenTable
- Best for Consumer-Facing Reservations:Yelp
- Best Free Software:GloriaFood
Best Overall : Tablein
Take control of restaurant reservations with Tablein’s user-friendly and affordable program that earns our overall best spot.
Free 14-day trial, no credit card needed
Control restaurant capacity
Social media integrations
Not for large, high-volume restaurants
Although Tablein isn’t as well-known as brands like Yelp or OpenTable, it provides small to medium-sized restaurants with everything they need to take reservations and improve guest experiences. Tablein’s affordable plans, robust toolset, and 10-minute setup time make this reservation software stand out from its competitors.
Unlike other programs, you don’t need to download an app for Tablein to work. Simply open a browser on any device, and the responsive platform automatically fits on your cell phone, tablet, or desktop screen. Moreover, guests can place orders on your website, Facebook, or Google using any device.
Tablein is easy to use and offers table management and reservations features, such as:
- Guests can select a preferred table or leave special instructions with their reservations
- Customers receive automatic booking confirmations, reminders, cancellation notices, and feedback requests via email or text
- Managers get reservation notifications via email or text
- Oversee restaurant capacity by setting limits on time slots or days
- In-depth reporting dashboard with exporting capabilities
With Tablein, you don’t need to spend hours setting up your reservation software or training your staff. Its intuitive interface makes it easy to accept and manage reservations. Top features for ease of use include:
- Quick table cloning to set up your restaurant layout
- Drag-and-drop tools help you create one or more floor plans
- You can add an unlimited number of dining areas
- View reservations by floor plan or time frame
- Color-coded reservation status via a table view
- Make changes to reservations with drag-and-drop functions
- Use the search tab to find guest information
- One click to print your daily reservation list
Tablein offers two plans that come with all available features. In some cases, text messaging features may cost an extra fee per message. The packages include:
- Standard: $75 per month for up to 150 reservations
- Premium: $110 per month for unlimited reservations
Best for Customization : Resy OS
Personalize floor plans, communications, and employee access with Resy OS software.
All plans are free through June 2021
No POS integration on the Basic plan
No analytics on Basic plan
With over 15 million Resy users, restaurants can accept reservations and get discovered on the Resy platform. Resy OS lets restaurateurs personalize all aspects of the reservation process, making it the clear winner in the best for customization category.
Resy OS provides web and mobile app access for guests and employees, so you can use any device to review or make reservations.
Its custom solutions help you deliver excellent experiences by:
- Giving VIPs exclusive access to reservations during specific time frames
- Allowing guests to choose their desired dining location, such as a bar table or outdoor seating
- Personalizing your reservation confirmation text messages
- Setting access levels for different team members, from management to servers
However, Resy OS provides many other features to support restaurants, such as:
- Mobile waitlist application so guests can get an alert when a table is available
- Ability to book reservations through multiple online platforms
- A built-in customer relationship management (CRM) program
- An occupancy monitoring tool that sends alerts before you go over your capacity limit
- Available contact tracing report for health-related concerns
- On-premise and off-premise options for virtual events or seat optimization
Currently, Resy OS is free for all users and plans until June 2021. After that, you can choose from three packages:
- Basic: $249 per month for reservations, table management, waitlist, and support for pick-up and virtual events
- Pro: $399 per month for a dedicated success manager, onboarding support, third-party pre-payment options, and post-meal surveys
- Enterprise: $899 per month for restaurants with 10 or more locations needing unlimited reporting options
Best for Ease of Use : Eat App
Easily access reservations, guest data, table management, and marketing content from any device.
24/7 instant messaging customer support
Add-on fees can get expensive
Limited white-label options
Can’t track channel where reservations come from
Eat App provides all-in-one functionality to oversee table bookings, plan for occupancy limits, and review analytics. Its management applications, visual layouts, and editing tools are user-friendly, earning Eat App the top slot for ease of use.
Along with iOS and Android manager apps, you can access your reservation and table management system on any desktop using a web browser. Its simple interface makes it easy to learn and use with functions such as:
- Drag-and-drop floor plan editing tools
- Choice of four views: floor plan, reservation list, grid view, or timeline
- Multiple filters to show reservations, no-shows, late arrivals, or finished bookings
- CRM is searchable by customer name or by adding tags to guest profiles
- Capacity settings of 30%, 50%, or 100% to easily manage volume
Eat App integrates with Google, Maps, Instagram, and Tripadvisor, which gives your restaurant higher visibility. Moreover, the plans include many features, like:
- Time-slot-based discounts
- Space for adding reservation notes
- Automated guest confirmation emails or SMS messages
- Waitlist and walk-in function, so guests get a text when a table is ready
- Ability to accept reservation deposits or charge for event tickets
- Customizable reports available on-screen or by printing
Choose from two plans and various add-on features to get the right combination of functionality for your business. Packages include:
- Pro: $129 per month with an annual payment or $159 monthly for all features and 250 guest confirmations via text per month
- Enterprise: Get a custom quote to add automated guest surveys, a digital menu, point-of-sale (POS) integrations, and phone integration
You can add several features to the Pro package, such as:
- Automated guest surveys and feedback: $25 per month
- Digital menu, contactless dine-in ordering, and delivery: $50 per month
- POS integration: $90 per month
- Phone integration: $25 per month
Best Linked to POS : OpenTable
Integrate your restaurant reservation software to 10 POS systems for free.
All plans free through March 2021
Highly rated mobile applications
Extra fees for reservations and payment processing
Free POS integration not available with Basic plan
Thirty-one million people book through OpenTable each month, and the platform features more than 600 affiliate booking partners, making it easier to get your restaurant noticed. Most reservation programs don’t offer restaurant POS integrations or charge hefty monthly fees to integrate. In contrast, OpenTable easily connects to popular systems, making it the best choice for restaurants wanting to link their reservation system to an existing POS program.
You can access OpenTable via iOS or Android apps or a web-based dashboard. To easily track customer spend and visit frequency while running comprehensive reports, connect OpenTable to POS systems, such as:
- Squirrel Systems
- Silverware POS
OpenTable also offers dozens of integrations with email marketing programs and review sites, giving you plenty of options to oversee restaurant operations and dining experiences. Other top features include:
- Email or push alerts for new reservations, VIP bookings, and cancellations
- Automated email or SMS confirmations to customers
- Table management with custom dining and bar floor plans
- Waitlist capabilities provide guests with time estimates and a text when a table is ready
- A digital takeout menu with a sharable ordering link
- Real-time view of shift revenue
- Review collection and management from sites like Google, Yext, Facebook, and Tripadvisor
OpenTable offers three plans on a month-to-month basis. You can connect your payment processor to collect online payments, but you’ll pay a 2% service fee per order. The monthly packages consist of:
- Basic: $29 per month plus $1.50 per network cover and
Company Why We Picked It Key Features Tablein Best Overall Affordable, easy setup, and robust features Resy OS Best for Customization Custom floor plans, user permissions, and communications Eat App Best for Ease of Use Simple drag-and-drop tools and multiple views OpenTable Best Linked to POS Integrates with 10 POS systems Yelp Best for Consumer-Facing Reservations Top-rated mobile app and customer-centric features GloriaFood Best Free Software No-cost reservation, pick-up, and delivery order management
- Core: $249 per month plus $1 per network cover for table management, in-house and online waitlist, POS integration, and real-time inventory
- Pro: $449 per month plus $1 per network cover for automation tools for email campaigns, guest profiles, and customer preferences
Best for Consumer-Facing Reservations : Yelp
With top-rate mobile applications, two-way communication, and a customer-centric focus, Yelp delights guests while making it easy to manage reservations.
Poor Yelp reviews may affect sales
Hard to get eyes on your site on the Yelp platform
Since 2017, Yelp has seated over 433 million diners and is considered one of the top platforms for people to find restaurants, order food, or reserve a table. Yelp’s ease of use and customer-friendly features make it perfect for consumer-facing reservations.
Yelp’s reservation and waitlist software gives you a dedicated front-of-house management tool that works on an iPad. However, the consumer-facing mobile apps receive high usability ratings for:
- Using AI-driven algorithms to predict guest wait times accurately
- Offering two-way text messaging so you can communicate with waiting guests
- Providing a remote check-in function to keep guests safe and happy
- Giving real-time updates regarding a guest’s position in line or estimated wait time
- Allowing customers to add themselves to a waitlist or sign up for a reminder
- Notifying guests when a takeout order is ready
- Personalizing experiences by tracking guest preferences, history, and special dates
Yelp also supports your staff and helps you optimize front of house (FOH) operations using features such as:
- Custom floor maps and a visual layout view
- Automatic reminders and confirmations to reduce no-shows
- A dedicated to-go tab for managing carry-out orders
- Tracking and analytics to see performance on Yelp
With Yelp, you pay a flat monthly fee with no extra charges, and all subscriptions come with a free iPad. The Table Management plan starts at $249 per month and includes takeout, reservations, waitlist, and server management tools.
You can also add Yelp Connect for $180 a month to customize your Yelp page, increase brand visibility, manage photos, and share business highlights. Or get started with Yelp ads for as low as $5 per day.
Best Free Software : GloriaFood
With no setup fee or subscription cost, GloriaFood restaurant reservation software allows you to accept unlimited bookings and orders for free.
Unlimited locations and orders
Intuitive customer-facing application
Supports website reservations
No visual table management display
GloriaFood offers an all-in-one system to handle your reservations, pick-up orders, delivery orders, and even supports customers who want to order ahead of time. Although some companies provide limited-time free specials, GloriaFood is completely free forever, making it the best free restaurant reservation software.
Although GloriaFood isn’t accessible by desktop, your staff can use the intuitive app on iOS and Android devices. Customers can order from the FoodBooking application, your website, or Facebook.
The free plan comes with a robust set of features, including:
- Online menu with custom or stock photos
- Customer confirmation emails when you accept, miss, or reject an order
- Email blast capability to quickly communicate with all guests
- Print receipts using existing hardware
- Pre-ordering function with prepayment
- One-click to enable no-contact delivery and curbside pick-up
- An ordering widget to add a "table reservation" button to your website
If you want to accept payments using GloriaFood, you can choose your existing online payment gateway using the management application. GloriaFood doesn’t charge extra fees to connect your payment processor. You also can buy a custom branded reservation and ordering application for smartphones with pricing available via a custom quote.
Restaurant fixed expenses
Your restaurant&rsquos fixed costs are easier to work into your budget since they rarely change. Here are the fixed costs to budget for:
- Rent and building fees
- License fees
- Insurance coverage
- Ongoing marketing
1. Rent and building fees
While how much you pay per month for your commercial space varies greatly depending on where you&rsquore located and how much square footage you have, the monthly rent and building fees you agree to pay when you sign your commercial lease are unlikely to change.
Before signing a lease, have both an attorney and accountant look it over to find any potential red flags and see whether or not it fits into your set monthly budget.
2. License fees
While most licenses and permits have an initial cost, you may need to renew some of them annually. When you&rsquore deciding which licenses and permits you need, factor in the initial costs and the fixed renewal fees as well.
3. Insurance Coverage
Insurance is an essential part of a functional business, especially for restaurants that want to be fully protected from liabilities. In an atmosphere that sees so many guests, and puts employees at risk for injuries in a busy kitchen full of dangerous equipment, adequate protection is critical. At the minimum, most restaurants will need:
General liability insurance, to protect against everyday accidents and incidents.
- Product liability, in case any equipment malfunctions and causes injury.
- Liquor liability, a special policy for restaurants that serve alcohol.
- Workers&rsquo compensation policies, to keep employees protected in case of injury.
- Commercial vehicle insurance for any restaurant that offers delivery.
- Restaurant insurance, a specific form of coverage that takes into account industry-specific risks.
- Loss of income insurance, a specialty policy that can provide a safety net if something like a fire or robbery forces you to close temporarily.
Insurance will vary based on size, function, and location, but most restaurant start-ups can expect costs of around $6,000 a year. While low-principal plans with high deductibles may seem appealing, be sure you can afford to pay multiple deductibles simultaneously in case something like a kitchen fire resulting from product malfunction closes your restaurant and injures employees.
4. Ongoing marketing
Along with the marketing costs to get your brand up and running, you may want to put a fixed amount aside each month towards ongoing marketing.
Social media ads, influencer marketing, events, PR outreach, you name it. However, you decide to market your business, create a monthly marketing budget and stick to it.
Also, consider amazing customer service as a part of your marketing. Nielson reported that 77% of customers are likely to visit a restaurant that they were recommended by friends and family. If you take care of your customers each and every service, they&rsquore far more likely to keep coming back, write positive reviews online and recommend your restaurant to their entourage.
The best thing you can do to market your restaurant is to focus on customer satisfaction and retention.
- 1 (4 pound) chicken, cut into pieces
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour for coating
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 quarts vegetable oil for frying
Take your cut up chicken pieces and skin them if you prefer. Put the flour in a large plastic bag (let the amount of chicken you are cooking dictate the amount of flour you use). Season the flour with paprika, salt and pepper to taste (paprika helps to brown the chicken).
Dip chicken pieces in buttermilk then, a few at a time, put them in the bag with the flour, seal the bag and shake to coat well. Place the coated chicken on a cookie sheet or tray, and cover with a clean dish towel or waxed paper. LET SIT UNTIL THE FLOUR IS OF A PASTE-LIKE CONSISTENCY. THIS IS CRUCIAL!
Fill a large skillet (cast iron is best) about 1/3 to 1/2 full with vegetable oil. Heat until VERY hot. Put in as many chicken pieces as the skillet can hold. Brown the chicken in HOT oil on both sides. When browned, reduce heat and cover skillet let cook for 30 minutes (the chicken will be cooked through but not crispy). Remove cover, raise heat again and continue to fry until crispy.
Drain the fried chicken on paper towels. Depending on how much chicken you have, you may have to fry in a few shifts. Keep the finished chicken in a slightly warm oven while preparing the rest.
Cook’n is one of a kind free recipe organizer software for Windows. It not only lets you add and organize recipes added manually, but also allows you to access recipes online. It has an inbuilt recipe search engine that will search for recipes based on the keywords you type. It fetches recipes from famous recipe websites, such as: food.com, foodnetwork.com, delish.com, allrecipes.com, etc. You can easily capture recipes from these websites and store in your database to access them offline with the help of Snip-it tool. If you have a scanned copy of a recipe as Image, you can store that as well here.
While adding a new recipe, you can customize a recipe page, add the number of servings, preparation time, cook time, and add the type of dish (breakfast, dessert, main dish, salad, sandwich, side, etc.). While you add ingredients, you can enter following details: Quantity, Unit, Info, and Brand of product. If you have the ingredients listed in a plain text file, this software automatically snags ingredients and adds to the list. For each recipe, you can calculate its Nutritional Value based on the ingredients and quantity.
Its a multi-platform cookbook software and is available for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Kindle. It can be used as a social network platform for foodies, where you can share recipes created by you or your favorite recipes with your friends.
In addition to all these, there is already a large collection of recipes pre-loaded here in various categories, like: breakfast, dessert, main dish, salad, sandwich, side, and more.
The Shopping List tool available here lets you add items that you have to buy. Along with items, you can enter amount, brand, and price of the item.
If you have signed up with Cook’n Cloud, you can sign in from the software and sync your recipes with cloud so that you can access them anywhere.
It is one of the most advanced recipe manager software available out there.
How OpenTable Works for Restaurants
As a diner, when you think about OpenTable, you probably think about the convenience of booking restaurant reservations online (as we hope you do!). However, recent buzz has led some diners to wonder, “Is OpenTable as good for my favorite restaurants as it is for me?” Well, we certainly believe so, and here’s the how and the why.
OpenTable’s most popular product for restaurants is our Electronic Reservation Book, which replaces the traditional pen-and-paper reservation book. It’s the touch-screen system you see when you check in at the restaurant’s host stand. Long before most diners had discovered OpenTable.com, restaurants purchased our Electronic Reservation Book to help them manage reservations, assign tables, recognize repeat diners, and remember your preferences. Restaurants pay a $199 monthly subscription fee, which includes our software, unlimited upgrades, the touch-screen computer system, and customer support. In addition, there’s a one-time installation fee, which covers on-site installation and training and custom configuration of the system.
For online reservations, we charge a pay-for-performance fee of $1.00 per seated diner booked on OpenTable.com or .25 per seated diner booked via the restaurant’s website. And for the typical restaurant, it takes only three incremental reservations to break even on the complete monthly OpenTable cost.[i]
We also recently introduced a web-based product that caters to restaurants that don’t require all of the operational benefits of our Electronic Reservation Book. This product provides restaurants with access to the OpenTable network of diners as well as online reservation booking capabilities for their own websites.
So, is OpenTable a good value for restaurants? Do we help improve restaurants’ bottom lines? In a word, yes.
In addition to helping restaurants run their operations, OpenTable helps restaurants attract incremental guests. And, by helping our restaurant partners fill seats that might otherwise have gone empty, we help them make more money. This is because a large portion of a restaurant’s expenses are fixed — they don’t go up as a restaurant serves more guests. For example, whether the dining room is half full or there’s a line out the door, a restaurant pays the same amount in rent and must have minimum staffing in place for the floor and kitchen. By spreading the overhead costs over a larger number of paying customers, restaurants make more money.
Think about an airplane that takes off half full. That airplane still has the same equipment and personnel costs as a full plane. So every empty seat represents a lost revenue opportunity for that airline just as every empty chair represents a lost revenue opportunity for a restaurant. Filling more seats generates more profits. And OpenTable helps fill more seats.
We hope this helps you better understand how we help to connect diners with open tables at more than 15,000 restaurants around the world. If you’re hungry for additional information and a restaurant’s in-depth perspective on the revenue-generating value of OpenTable’s products and services, chew on this blog post: Is OpenTable Worth It? Founding Farmers says ‘Yes’! by Dan Simons of VSAG, owners and operators of two restaurants on the OpenTable network.
[i] The typical restaurant gets a positive return on its monthly OpenTable investment with only 3 incremental reservations each month. OpenTable Costs: $199 monthly fee + (3 Incremental reservations x 3 diners/reservation x $1 per diner fee) = $208 Restaurant Gross Margin: $42.50 per diner check x (1 -35% cost-of-goods) x 3 incremental reservations x 3 diners/reservation = $249
Word for iPad is free — for some users
6:00 AM on Jul 30, 2020 CDT
This week’s reader question is a followup to my recent review of the Apple Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro.
“In today’s review, you talked about replacing your laptop with iPad. I got my first iPad in February and downloaded Microsoft Word. I guess I can use it to open Word documents but have to buy Word to type anything. From what I read, I have to pay a monthly fee for Word for the iPad. When my wife got a Mac years ago, we were able to buy Office and get Word that way for just a one-time purchase price. Can I get that for my iPad and pay one time and avoid the monthly payment?”
With Magic Keyboard, can your iPad now finally replace your laptop?
Well, it depends on what kind of iPad you have.
Microsoft Office apps (Word, Excel and Powerpoint) are free to download on the iOS app store.
You can create, edit, open and print Office documents with your iPad or iPhone, but whether or not you have to pay depends on the size of your iPad’s screen.
If your iPad screen is smaller than 10.1 inches, you can use the Office apps for free. You will need to create a free Microsoft account.
If your iPad screen is larger than that, which includes the latest 10.2-inch iPad and the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros, you’ll need a Microsoft 365 subscription to use Office apps for iOS.
You can subscribe for $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year.
With the subscription, you will get premium versions of the apps with more robust features.
You may want to look at other word processing apps for iOS for free or that you can buy outright.
Apple’s Pages is free, and it can open, edit and save Word documents.
I’m partial to iA Writer ($29.99), which isn’t much for formatting, but it does make the act of writing fun and easy by just showing text on a blank page so you can concentrate on your content.
You can also use Google Docs, which is free and includes an online word processor.
A General Liability Policy for Your Business May Cover the Following Claims:
- Bodily injuries and property damage your business may have caused. This can include customer slip and falls or employee accidents, like breaking a client’s windows while working at their home.
- Advertising injury that your business causes by defaming someone else or another company.
- Copyright infringement from using someone else’s work in your business’ ads without their permission.
- Reputational harm if something you said in an interview about another business owner negatively impacts their company.
Before you install an app, here’s what you can do to better protect your privacy:
- Use official app stores. To reduce the risk of installing potentially harmful apps, download apps only from official app stores, such as your device’s manufacturer or operating system app store. Also, research the developer before installing an app.
- Check out the permissions. To gain access to information like your location or contacts or to get access to features like your camera and microphone, apps need your permission. You may be asked to give permission when you first download the app, or at the time the app first tries to access that information or feature. Pay close attention to the permissions the app requests. For example, does it really need to access your location or photos to do its job?