The world is moving towards a time when you’ll be able to leave the house with nothing but your phone. A paperless lifestyle seems so easy, doesn’t it? While there is a creepy side to how the online world is growing (and privacy has all but disappeared into the ether), there is a nice side to the idea of being able to pay for anything just by a quick click on your phone. In the last year we’ve seen some big brands like Starbucks and McDonald’s launch apps to allow their clientele to pay using their phones. However, more recently we’re seeing mobile payment companies target the restaurants more aggressively. Why? Apparently it’s meant to enhance all of our dining and shopping experiences.
A few months ago, we discovered that Paypal had launched a “pay as you go” app specific to dining out at restaurants, take-out joints, coffee shops and the like. Simple and easy to use, a customer can be in and out of an establishment in minutes. When dining at a restaurant, the app offers patrons a way to tip, pay, and walk out on their own time, without needing to wait for a server. Generally, the idea is strong and the concept of paying on the go when you’re grabbing coffee or a quick lunch is pretty genius. You can literally pay ahead of the line – who doesn’t love that? However, in terms of full service restaurant dining, Paypal does have its flaws and has a competitor who is really analyzing what diners want when they go out for dinner.
Tab Payments is a new restaurant payment app that is generally the same as Paypal but it specifically caters to the human dining experience. Funny, right? An app to help people enjoy the humanity of dining out! The idea is to check-in and put the phone away as the app is so smart, everything else is taken care of for you. Unlike Paypal, the Tab app allows restaurant patrons to split bills, add people to their bill, know the name of their server (and the server is given the patron’s name as soon as they claim the table), call their server at their convenience, and, like Paypal, enables the customer to leave at their convenience as the bill is emailed. According to the co-founder of Tab, Adam Epstein, the new app was designed as a way to enhance dining out at restaurants so guests can truly enjoy their experience.
Paypal can also split the bills but it’s up to the server to do it through the Touch Bistro POS system, with whom they’ve made an exclusive partnership. The problem with that is not every restaurant has Touch Bistro, and servers generally hate splitting bills. Tab allows the client to split the bills therefore removing the headache from the establishment. Very smart. But its not perfect either. The one problem with Tab is that the bill has no breakdown, as it is not linked to the restaurant’s POS system. So you know on those nights out when you may have drank too much wine? You basically get an email that includes the total cost of your meal, the tax and the tip and no breakdown. This could potentially cause some problems. You can wait for the server to bring you the bill, but then what’s the point of using the app?
So both of these have their pros and cons but both are quite brilliant. The Paypal app seems very convenient when shopping at retailers like coffee shops and take-out places, while Tab seems like a very smooth solution for dining seamlessly and enjoying the experience.
Have you tried either of these payment apps? Let us know about your experience below or tweet us @ViewtheVibe.