By Nancy Dahlberg
Running a restaurant is difficult in the best of times. But add in a global pandemic and the resulting recession, and it is all about the margins. The restaurant needs to be running at peak efficiency – its survival depends on it. And that is what Tabit, a fast-growing Israeli hospitality-tech company expanding to South Florida, is all about.
“A lot of restaurant guys open their businesses because they like to make food or host people but not necessarily because they know how to run a business,” said Nadav Solomon, president of Tabit who will be running U.S. operations and based here. “We are helping operators to run their business based on numbers and not on gut feelings.”
Tabit is making North Miami Beach its headquarters for its U.S. operations. The company began setting up in South Florida just before the pandemic hit, with the assistance of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council and Enterprise Florida, but it began its U.S. expansion in 2018 and has assembled a nationwide partner network. To fund its continued U.S. expansion, Tabit recently raised $35 million in venture capital, for a total of $65 million. The company, which bases its Center of Excellence in Dallas, employs 120 people globally, and its main Israeli business unit is profitable, Solomon said.
Tabit was co-founded by Barry Shaked and Solomon in Tel Aviv in 2014. Shaked founded the Israeli company Retalix, the biggest point-of-sale company for the grocery and retail industries that sold in 2012 to NCR for about $800 million. Solomon was a lieutenant commander in the Israeli Navy in charge of command and control systems before studying biotechnology and food engineering and working at Ernst & Young as a senior strategic consultant for the food industry.
“We started in 2014 with one big vision, which is to help restaurants become more profitable,” said Solomon. “We felt this sector was neglected by tech companies… There was not one technology shield, as we call it, to protect and help the restaurants to maintain their own brand and keep track of their own operations. So you have reservations systems, order systems and payment companies trying to take a big chunk of their business. We decided to create a 360 solution.”
Tabit combines technologies that help servers, managers, owners, the kitchen and customers -- and all these technologies talk to each other. The all-in-one mobile solution can also integrate with other platforms if the restaurant wishes. But one dashboard provides all the numbers in a very clear way so the owner can act on those numbers, Solomon said.
Tabit is open for business in South Florida and providing its software for free to six months to support the community. It is already used by several restaurant brands here and has also signed with three POS partners.
Globally, Tabit works with about a thousand restaurants. “We have been able to increase per person the average check between 8% and 15%, lower table turn time by 12 to 15 minutes, and lower overall labor costs about 25% … We have been able to reduce server errors by 80%,” said Solomon. All of these outcomes are even more essential during this COVID recession, he said.
Christine Johnson, vice president of Innovation, Economic Development for the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, agrees. “As in most communities, Miami-Dade County’s businesses are exploring innovative platforms that allow them to reopen safely. Tabit is a real business asset for our hospitality industry, especially in this new touchless economy. As a local company that recently expanded, they are not only in a unique position to understand the market and its needs, but they are a local resource at a time when supporting other local companies is increasingly important,” she said.
Why South Florida? For Tabit, the choice was obvious. It is an epicenter for tourism and hospitality with the global cruise industry based between Miami and Fort Lauderdale and the region has an exciting foodie culture, said Solomon, who is now living in South Florida.
“The ecosystem, the people, everything is so vibrant and open to innovation in customer experience. I think for a tech company to reside here and build its operations here is the best thing you can imagine for a hospitality tech startup. We couldn’t ask for more.”
Photo at top of post: Barry Shaked and Nadav Solomon, co-founders of Tabit. Photo credit: Ilan Basor
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