Mobile Dining Apps: Eat out, leave your wallet at home

If you’ve ever had to wait for the bill at a restaurant to come, when you’ve overeaten and you’re uncomfortable and just want to leave, or if you’ve finished your meal but can’t seem to find anyone to ask for the check, you’ll know the frustration that can sometimes accompany your dining experience.

What about those times you’ve got to get to a show or you simply have plans to meet friends afterwards? Who has 20 minutes anymore to just sit around and just wait?

Mobile payments apps are here to help. They alleviate the stress of waiting for the bill by getting rid of the wait all together. They also do other things like help you split the bill with ease, and keep track of your visits, allowing servers to more likely remember your name, and more.

Adam Epstein, Co-Founder at Tab Payments, the only full service mobile payment app for dining from Toronto, wants to “create personalized dining service.”

You pay with Tab in three steps:
1. Check in by creating or joining a Tab
2. Tell your server you’re paying with Tab
3.  Pay via your phone (you can have a paper receipt or have it emailed to you)

Tab is easy to use. The tab payment experience is seamless - in two clicks you're set up, so you can enjoy your company and your meal. 

Adam makes a good point about the city's high server turnover - this allows any server to know your name, how many times you’ve been to the restaurant, what you’ve had, etc., so you are likely to get a better dining experience than from someone else.

Tab has also carefully curated the restaurants they’ve partnered with, so that you can use Tab as a “discovery and creation tool,” for dining experiences that match your taste. Some of the restaurants currently accepting Tab – The ChaseBlowfishOsteria dei Ganzi. Bars and pubs are included too - ReposadoThompson Rooftop LoungeIrish Embassy.

PayPal, who recently partnered recently with  Toronto’s Touch Bistro, offers a similar experience in that you check in upon arrival. You can see your bill and everything you’ve ordered in real time at any time by tapping the “See Bill” button. To pay, you tap “Checkout.” Bills can be split, tip added, etc., and the restaurant is alerted that the bill has been paid, saving both the diners and servers time and energy. Paypal is in the works of adding afeature to let you order ahead of time. Currently using the app are Jimmy's CoffeeCome & Get It, and SpiritHouse, to name just a few.

Chef Paul Boehmer of Boehmer Restaurant, was one of the first users in the city, and in a video for TouchBistro says that “It makes sense. It makes business sense.”

Not only do pay-at-table apps increase service and loyalty, there is such a huge convenience factor, you can actually leave your wallet at home.

Just don’t call it dine and dash.