What Are You Waiting For? TabbedOut Lets You Pay the Check on Your Schedule

April 12, 2011

1:00 pm

Waiting for anything while at a restaurant is sure to put a damper on a good time. If you’re in a hurry to get to a movie or meet up with friends, your plans are at the mercy of the server – or that bus person you just embarrassingly flagged down.

TabbedOut, a mobile payment application, aims to solve that frustration of excessive, or really any, waiting to pay the check.   It’s an iPhone and Android application that allows patrons to pay their bar or restaurant tab with a smart phone.

It’s almost crazy if you think about the current state of affairs. We’re ultra-security conscious with our credit and worry about identity theft, yet we hand over our credit or debit card to a restaurant server and let them disappear from sight.

This app is a real-time saver that let’s you avoid the following scenarios:

  • Sitting at a cleared off table, looking at the time, waiting for the check or the transaction to be processed;
  • Returning to a restaurant or bar to get the credit card you left behind;
  • Asking that one friend who is ‘good with money’ to play accountant in order to make change and figure out everyone’s share of the bill.

Here’s how the app, which sends payment directly to the restaurant’s point-of-sale system, works for patrons.  After downloading from the iPhone app store or the Android Market:

  • Enroll – it takes a minute if not seconds to complete.
  • Store your credit card information in the app, with encryption. The number is not on the TabbedOut servers – ever. You can set a pass phrase for even more security.
  • Find a TabbedOut location using the GPS on the phone.
  • Open a tab on the phone. A random secret code is displayed on the screen each time a tab is opened – give that code to the bartender or server.
  • Order (face to face).
  • Close the tab when you’re ready – the tip can be paid this way too.
  • The app even has the functionality to split the check.

Integrated with Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter and other social networks, TabbedOut lets you check-in and check-out of places, alerting the world to your plans, right from the application. An electronic receipt can be emailed to you if you so choose – this record not only helps with managing your personal finances, but provides a history of meals or wines you may like to try again.

You can even use the app to call a cab. This can be handy if you’re in a new city, or if you take advantage of a TabbedOut drink special many of the TabbedOut merchants offer. (Which you can find promoted on TabbedOut’s Twitter and Facebook pages).

The advantages to the consumer are clear: it simplifies a process and aggregates functionality. For the merchant, there are plenty as well (and it’s not putting servers out of a job):

  • Staff can spend more time offering service and less time closing tabs and printing checks.
  • Wait staff and bartenders are guaranteed a minimum tip amount
  • Servers can personalize service since the patrons name is on the POS system while they are at the table

Additionally, the creators of TabbedOut note increased visibility to TabbedOut users via the application, and they also have found that patrons “spend more when they know they can leave at their leisure.”

This Austin-based company was conceived when founder and CEO Rick Orr found himself waiting nearly an hour to close out his bill at a restaurant. Orr realized there had to be a better way to improve the payment process—both for patrons and merchants– at bars and restaurants. Orr and TabbedOut co-founder and CTO Dave Lemley are security software industry veterans and experts in the areas of consumer and enterprise software development, specifically in online identity security, payments/PCI-DSS, and point-of-sale software.

With over 175 restaurants, bars and lounges using the app, the team is expanding its reach and expect to service over 500 in the coming months.

If you’re in NYC, stop by and meet the team from TabbedOut this Thursday, April 14th. They are  one of the company’s featured at Tech Cocktail NYC.

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Marla Shaivitz is a writer, developer and digital marketer. She's interested in innovations & innovators in technology and those working toward social good. Follow Marla on Twitter at @marlashaivitz.

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