Tabbedout, a Phone App, Makes Bartenders’ Lives Easier

Rick Orr's wife picked out this Tabbedout groomscake for their wedding last June. (photo by Ben Godkin)

Rick Orr, co-founder and EVP of Tabbedout, is a smart guy, but it’s not something he shoves in your face when you meet him. At least, that’s not what happened when I first encountered him and his then-fiancée at a little bistro in Austin last summer.

When Orr explained the concept of Tabbedout during our interview, I thought, “How neat,” and pushed it right out of my head. I was there to write about their nuptials, so wedding colors and flower arrangements seemed more important at the time. Since then, that conversation about his company has followed me to Dallas, where it’s hard not to notice people like Scott Reitz singing the praises of this iPhone and Android app.

This is how it works on smart phones: You download the sucker for free, enroll your basic billing info, and then you can open, view, and pay your tab at participating restaurants from the convenience of your phone.

When I met Rick Orr in June 2011, only a few places in Dallas had adopted Tabbedout. Now it’s good to use at 50 different locations in the DFW area, and I’m sure it will catch on like wildfire as soon as other bartenders realize how many more drinks they can make when they’re not busy closing tabs.

“It’s really important for the staff to understand that the average tip is above 20%,” says Orr. If customers want to pay below the minimum tip amount, then they’ll have to manually pay for the tab themselves.

It’s a win-win situation for customers and merchants. Customers have control of the close-out, and they don’t have to wait 30 minutes for the tab anymore. Merchants, on the other hand, can focus on service instead of sliding credit cards through machines.

For Orr, it’s a huge accomplishment to break into the DFW market. “I grew up close to Dallas and lived there right out of college, so it’s personally important that we do well there.”