Payment Channel Blog Series: Collaborative Terminals

With TableTab, terminals are fundamentally collaborative. We pride ourselves in cultivating a real-life “one-stop-shop” checkout experience.

In our Payment Channel Blog Series, we introduce TableTab’s three core payment channels, all of which are part of our collaborative point-of-sale system. This post dives into terminal payments, and the world of opportunity our collaborative terminals bring to merchants who work together.


Whether it’s for retail, consumer services, or hospitality, terminal payments are great for super-charged, fast checkout experiences. Terminals enable merchants to take transactions at a set location, like a bar or a service counter. Typically, customers line up to make a purchase, so terminals have to be quick and easy to use to keep maintain a high sales output and make both the staff and customer experience more enjoyable.

With TableTab, our terminals are fundamentally collaborative. We pride ourselves in cultivating a real-life “one-stop-shop” checkout experience. This means customers can order from multiple merchants at one terminal.  Staff members simply ring up items from any participating merchant. Any method of payment works, too - cash, card, and digital wallets like Apple Pay.

Even better, our collaborative terminal is a software product. Merchants can turn any existing tablet into a collaborative point-of-sale terminal in minutes. There’s no need to purchase, lease, or finance expensive hardware. 

Let’s explore other aspects of the terminal, like the checkout experience and various collaborative features.

The Checkout Experience

The physical checkout experience via TableTab’s collaborative terminals is the same as any other point-of-sale terminal. Customers walk up, pay for their transaction, and that’s it. TableTab’s payment processing speed is best-in-class, so customers aren’t awkwardly standing around. If a customer wants to start a tab, TableTab will pre-authorize the customer’s card so the staff don’t have to hold onto it. The best part about the checkout experience is that a customer doesn’t have to do it all over again with a different merchant. TableTab terminals are a one-stop-shop!

Bottom line: the checkout experience is intuitive, fast, and extremely convenient for customers and staff alike.

Checkout Workflows

In addition to making the checkout experience extremely easy and straightforward, we also make it incredibly flexible. TableTab’s collaborative terminals facilitate perhaps the most flexible suite of checkout workflows of any point-of-sale system today. Here are some of our popular checkout workflows:

  • “One-and-done” transactions: a customer makes a single transaction and then leaves. Common for retail or takeout.
  • Starting open tabs with payment: a customer pre-authorizes their card to begin a tab, and can add to their tab through any collaborative payment channel thereafter without needing to pay again.
  • Starting open tabs without payment: a customer can begin a tab without a payment method, and then pay at the end of their experience.
  • Adding to existing tabs: a customer can approach the terminal to add items to an existing tab. No need to pay all over again.

There are plenty of other customizable workflows collaborative operations can implement with TableTab terminals.

Management Tools

Our terminals do more than just take payments across multiple merchants; if granted the correct permissions, staff can also manage shared product catalogs and active tabs.

  • Managing shared product catalogs: staff can use the terminal to hide items from the product catalog (ex: item sells out), can turn off shared product catalogs themselves (ex: a collaborating merchant closes early), can edit items in real-time, and so on. Such activity can also be tracked through TableTab’s real-time activity logs.
  • Managing active tabs: staff can use the terminal to manage active tabs, which can include adding items to an existing tab, initiate item-based or dollar-based refunds, accept discounts across every merchant, split and/or merge tabs, and so much more.

Reporting Tools

Aggregate and merchant-based reports are accessible through our terminals, with metrics like total sales, cash sales, total tips, cash tips, and more available for review in real-time. Receive hourly breakdowns on any given day, or see reports over a longer period of time.

Hardware Agnostic

As mentioned earlier, our collaborative terminal is software-based so merchants can plug it into any existing hardware. Furthermore, our software can integrate with other smart devices like smartphones. Terminals also integrate with merchants’ existing or new printers, so items purchased through a terminal can instantly generate a printed ticket for fulfillment and/or receipt for customers.

Operational Autonomy

When transactions are completed on a collaborative terminal, TableTab’s back-end software ensures each merchant is still responsible for their own items.

  • Separate Ticket Flows: every merchant has their own way of receiving tickets. This means each merchant will receive and fulfill only the items ordered that belong to their product catalog.
  • Automated Accounting: every merchant receives their money instantly. This means TableTab separates the sales, tax, and tip (if applicable) by each item and sends the sum to each merchant.
  • Product Catalog Management: every merchant controls their own product catalog. This means product catalogs and their customer-facing equivalent can be managed and updated in real-time by its associated merchant.


TableTab’s collaborative terminals are a game-changer for taking payments in collaborative operations. They ensure merchants who work together can process payments together, to the benefit of customers, staff, and merchants’ bottom lines. 

Our terminals continue to grow and expand in features every week, and we always invite our partners to reach out to us if there’s a feature request they have in mind.

For now, we invite you to try out our terminals! Reach out to us here to schedule a chat or demo.

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