Contactless ordering and payment platform GoTab is offering HF RFID-based solutions that allow customers of restaurants and other businesses to pay with a card or wristband.

contactless ordering

Using this solution, users can link their payment information to their card or wristband, which can then be used at various POS machine swipe points. Examples include food courts, movie theaters, or multiple restaurants or bars in a resort.

The RFID-based solution, released this year by GoTab, said the technology is designed to benefit both customers and suppliers, as their convenience also enables more frequent transactions.

According to Tim McLaughlin, co-founder and CEO of GoTab, GoTab’s RFID solutions target a variety of restaurants as well as operators of food halls, movie theaters and other entertainment venues to provide a fast and easy commerce experience.

The company has been providing mobile order and payment technology to the restaurant and hospitality industry since its founding in 2016. In addition to an all-in-one restaurant POS system, its solution also includes a payment application. The goal is to enable customers to order and pay for meals or services through a server or a payment app on their mobile phone.

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Provide Ordering and Consumption Services for Guests

McLaughlin opened his first restaurant and winery in 2015. He has witnessed first-hand the growth of e-commerce related to food procurement, recognizing that restaurant-based solutions can improve operational efficiency and service quality. About a year after GoTab launched in Northern Virginia (the Washington, D.C. metro area), the company began building a QR code-based ordering system.

rfid system

McLaughlin said that the QR code payment solution is mainly for restaurant customers. Our products are the best in the category as we have been upgrading since 2017. Over the years, we have added one feature after another, so now we can provide a complete POS solution. GoTab software management can capture the data needed for customer orders and display that data in the kitchen simultaneously, as well as functions such as fulfillment and pick and pack data for e-commerce orders.


While QR codes enable contactless ordering and payment, RFID can make the process as simple as tapping the reader. McLaughlin said that many of our unique capabilities are focused on the local (service), which is where RFID technology really comes into play.

How the System Works

The system knows who a user is based on their account information, which businesses they interact with, and what they order. Before the event or upon entering the venue, guests will receive each uniquely branded card or wristband to which they can allocate funds via credit or debit card. This solution can provide tabs for individual users with a single account or families or groups with shared accounts and assign maximum balances to certain members (such as children).

rfid based

For example, a family of four can purchase one tag, each with a $20 limit on two kids’ activities. All will receive a wristband with a built-in 13.56 MHz NXP Semiconductors Mifare RFID tag, ISO 15693 compliant. A unique ID number encoded on each wristband will be associated with that individual account. The wristbands worn by both children can also be linked to a $20 balance, while the parent’s wristband can be used for unlimited payments.

Users can check their balance by clicking on the payment terminal, and the system will also display the existing tab. This might include a 12-ounce beer purchased at one location and a slice of pizza at another. Payments are made through allocated funds, or can be made at the end of the RFID wristband’s use, depending on usage. If an account has been prepaid, the technology allows guests to be automatically refunded when they spend less than their card or band.

In some cases, the system may debit the customer’s existing account on restaurant property, such as a hotel room at a resort. One of the first adopters of RFID-based solutions was the Market at Malcolm Yards in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The facility offers prepared food, including soups, sandwiches and cheese plates, provided by a variety of businesses, all under one roof. The system allows customers to make payments at any of these sites using their GoTab-based single tab.

The company also supplies its software to PourMyBeer, a provider of RFID self-payment solutions. The solution typically consists of a kiosk with a built-in RFID reader and PourMyBeer’s antennas that use GoTab software to link specific patrons to ID wristbands or cards. The software reads data via RFID and the amount of beer or other beverage they pour, charging them accordingly.

Consolidate Merchant Payments on a Single Tab

While contactless payments are commonplace, and some RFID-based payment systems are offered for parks and other venues, McLaughlin said GoTab is one of the few that offers a single payment tag for multiple businesses. “Even though they are all separate businesses, consumers don’t have to worry about that when it comes to paying – the pizza supplier is separate from the beer supplier, and the beer supplier is separate from the cake or pie supplier.

Some GoTab scenarios that can be created using RFID capabilities include corporate parties, where companies can provide employees with wristbands, each with a prepaid balance of, say, $50. Alternatively, the company could have a separate tab that can be accessed by all employees so that individual payments can be debited from the company account. The system can also accommodate purchase restrictions based on an individual’s age.

For example, if teens try to buy alcoholic beverages, they will be identified at the point of sale. Additionally, the system can notify individuals when an order is ready. When customers first use the GoTab system, they can provide a phone number to receive notifications. Then, if they order food, they will automatically receive a text message once their food is ready to be picked up.

GoTab is technology-agnostic. The software platform works with most RFID-based POS systems and runs on iOS, Android and Windows operating systems. The solution is being targeted at entertainment venues, which specifically require RFID functionality because it can provide quick transactions with the click of a wristband. Deployments so far have been primarily in North America, while UK sites will soon use the technology as well.

In the future, the solution is expected to enable payments directly from RFID enabled Apple iPhone.

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