Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn.
Ballston startup GoTab, which facilitates QR code ordering in restaurants, has picked up a lot of extra tables over the last 18 months.
“We’ve continued to grow,” CEO Tim McLaughlin said. “We lost a couple of clients nostalgic for the old way, but our product is fully compatible with operating a classic restaurant.”
GoTab, which launched in 2016, operates in restaurants, hotels, resorts, golf courses, festivals and the Capital One Arena in D.C. It does more than provide black squares that guests scan while seated at a table, however. It also targets ordering takeout or delivery and regular sales.
While its services are diverse, GoTab has seen the most growth with QR code ordering — especially during the pandemic, when contactless ordering helped keep restaurants open and staff and diners safe.
Last year, the number of payments made through the app grew by 100 times, he said. This year alone, payments are set to increase by 20 times. For the CEO, the staggering growth is hard to quantify to people.
“GoTab gets paid if restaurants get paid, so we measure success by payments,” he said. “People think I’m saying 100% growth. No, it’s 100 times.”
There are a few other signs of growth, too. Today, the company employs 65 staff, up from the nearly 20 it had last year, and the 35 to 45 employees with whom it kicked off 2021. And, as of last month, GoTab expanded into Canada. The company is looking to move into a number of other English-speaking countries, McLaughlin said.
Within a month, it will move into multi-merchant ordering. For example, if a group of friends visits the Ballston Quarter food hall — which is next to GoTab’s offices at 901 N. Stuart Street — everyone can scan the QR code at a table and order from multiple restaurants in one cart with one payment.
“If you go with your friends, you don’t have to all split up and have someone hold the table,” he said. “It’s fun if you want to go check out what they’re selling. If you have been there a few times, and you want to hang out with friends, that’s when it’s not fun.”
Businesses see the payments separately and it helps restaurants and customers save money on credit card fees.
McLaughlin said the black squares are not aimed at replacing servers. Rather, GoTab eliminates the need to hail down a waiter to add a last-minute order, fight through a crowd to close out at the bar, or wait for the check when pressed for time, he said.
“We are not against servers,” he said. “Right now, in many of our venues, you can order from a server and a phone, and go back and forth. It’s the best of both worlds.”
GoTab plans to transform any industry where payment- and service-related inefficiencies can be solved with tech. Restaurants were the first because that’s where technology was lacking the most, McLaughlin said.
“We’re not trying to eliminate local jobs,” he said. “We’re trying to support them and make them competitive.”
For restaurants, takeout companies such as Doordash, which has its own staff and is starting to open ghost kitchens, is the real competition. For local retail, it’s e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, as customers appreciate up-to-date inventories and quick delivery.
“Local merchants are good at the high-touch part of [the customer experience] but they’re not so good at inventory management and logistics,” he said. “We’re bringing tech to brick and mortar stores so they can be competitive with e-commerce-only companies.”
Step inside a cult-classic inspired world at DC Fray’s can’t-miss Halloween party packed with endless references to iconic films and music from the ‘80s and ‘90s. Vibe to retro sounds…
The restoration of Ballston Wetlands Park is officially complete and the park is now open to the public. Arlington County officials and community members marked the occasion today (Tuesday) with a…
A Wakefield High School freshman named Jorge Chavarria Rodíguez died Thursday evening, according to several sources. The 16-year-old attended Barcroft Elementary School and Kenmore Middle School and had just started…
This regularly scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Arlington resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Video summaries of some articles can…
The Kinhaven 5K and Family Fest is the family-friendly race of the fall. Runners, walkers, and stroller pushers hit the trail while family members enjoy the fan zone including moonbounce, face painting, music, snacks, and games.
Proceeds support outdoor education and fitness programming.
Early Bird Registration rates through September 30 at runkinhavendotcom!
Donate between 9/27 (Wed) and 9/30 (Sat) to Double Your Contribution to Nathan’s Cancer Slayers 2023, on behalf of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Nathan’s team works in memory of Nathan Fleming, who graduated from Washington-Liberty in 2019 while undergoing chemo and radiation.
Nathan was one of a kind, a great soul, and wise beyond his years. Loving and kind, funny, smart, interesting, easy-going, a little bit goofy and always positive.
Since May 2020, Nathan’s team has raised more than $425,000 to advance innovative childhood cancer research. This year, all the funds we raise will support sarcoma research at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Every dollar makes a big difference. Research to discover new drug treatments would NOT be possible without philanthropic funding. Unbelievably, childhood cancer research receives just 4% of the annual budget from the National Cancer Institute, underscoring the importance of charitable giving.
Whether you’re expecting your first baby or you just had your first baby, we want to meet YOU! All those feelings you’re having are NORMAL and it’s not just you. Please don’t isolate yourself – that’s quicksand.
Mamistad groups are