Settle the Tab from Your Phone: OpenTable Wants to Do Away with ‘Check, Please’

Pilot program lets you pay for dinner by phone, then get up and leave.

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OpenTable
OpenTable

I don’t care if you’re surrounded by the most wonderful people in the world; waiting for the check to arrive in the midst of a food coma is the worst part of dining out.

So I’m glad that OpenTable is trying to get rid of the paper check ritual for good. A pilot program in San Francisco is letting diners pay through their phones, so they can just get up and leave whenever they feel like it.

Users who participate in the program add a credit card through the OpenTable app beforehand. Items then show up on the bill in real-time, and diners can pay at the end with just a swipe. Tax and tip are added automatically, and receipts are sent via e-mail. There’s no paper bill invovled.

OpenTable spokeswoman Tiffany Fox told me by e-mail that the goal really is to let you leave the restaurant without having to flag down the wait staff first. Ideally, servers would know which customers can pay by phone and get notified of payment via the restaurant’s point of sale system. Getting to that point will probably take some time, as OpenTable is still testing, learning and training restaurant staff, Fox wrote.

OpenTable isn’t charging restaurants or diners for the mobile payment service. The company makes money by leasing payment terminals and collecting reservation fees, so payments would be thrown in as an added benefit. (Restaurants, after all, might see quicker turnaround from letting customers pay and leave immediately.)

For now, only a handful of restaurants are involved, and the program is still invite-only. But I’m hoping OpenTable can make it work and expand it to more cities. It’s not hard to imagine a time when paying through your phone is the standard way to settle up the bill.

10 comments
PaulDirks
PaulDirks

With chronic unemployment being the biggest problem we face, I can't tell you how happy I am that someone is seeing fit to eliminate what few jobs are still available.


koolkiss
koolkiss

I react to this article because, we, people from this part of the world thrive by reaching unprecedented limits but unfortunately we stay under the radar.

I'm co-founder of Re-invent, a Moroccan startup. The company launched recently "koolkiss" : a ordering/managing system for restaurants, cafes and hotels. It could be extended for every retail business.

We are releasing soon our next version which will include indoor location, e-payment integration and home delivery including some cutting edge selling tools to increase revenus..... learn more on www.koolkiss.com.

koolkiss
koolkiss

Hi, why you don't post my comments???? it's unfair.


rgds




vlbrown
vlbrown

I would love to try this. GIven that I eat in San FRancisco, I look forward top  wider trial!

Gothamist3
Gothamist3

This already exists in New York - it's called Cover and it's getting pretty big at this point. OpenTable hasn't changed its website in forever, I'm skeptical that they can make anything look good enough to win this battle.

LisaPSnell
LisaPSnell

my stepmom recently got an almost new yellow Suzuki SX4 Hatchback by working part time from a macbook air. straight from the source ......( ' . ' ) ( ' . ' ) ( ' . ' ) ( ' . ' ) ( ' . ' ) 


==========================>www.work71.com

Raggedhand
Raggedhand

@PaulDirks  It's not getting rid of servers, but making the serving process more efficient. As a former waitress I would have welcomed any device that would have helped me turn my tables faster and therefore get more tips from more customers. 


Another point- any server will tell you that they lose their tips in the last 15 minutes of the dining experience. You can be the best waiter in the world but if something comes up and the customer THINKS you're late with the bill, then the customer get's PO'd and downgrades or eliminates your tip. This might help alleviate that risk.

koolkiss
koolkiss

I do undestrand your concerns. However sir, industry, technology, internet have made this world a better place. True, Innovation elliminates jobs but it's creates more jobs and oppurtunities at the same time. The world population tripled during the past century, however the world unemployment rate fall sharply. This was possible only and thanks to innovation. The world actually is in lack of inspiration : we travel the same way at the same speed we did 50 years ago (almost)... however we did not stop from regulating this and that and by doing so strengthening our comfort zone.

Believe me, we need to look forward to inspire people and innovation is the key and beleive me too it's not a young moroccan who will try to convince you :)

Be free, free to choose!

newmanjb
newmanjb moderator

@Gothamist3  Cool, didn't know about Cover. One clear advantage for OpenTable is that their POS systems are already widespread. Should be interesting to see if Cover can scale up faster than OpenTable can build out its own program (and improve its design).

vlbrown
vlbrown

@Gothamist3  Do you have some reason to support your skepticism? How many updates a company does (or doesn't) appear to make to  its website generally has no direct correlation to its ability to create an application or run its business successfully.

newmanjb
newmanjb moderator

@Raggedhand @PaulDirks  This. Paying your bill without flagging down the server is not the same as doing away with servers entirely.