|New app to redefine paying restaurant tab|
|Written by Douglas Bridges-O’Connor, Daily Vidette Staff Writer|
|Wednesday, 07 September 2011 20:36|
How often does the dinner bill come long after the remainders of the meal are cleared from the table? How many debit cards are reported lost or stolen because they are dropped or left as an open tab behind the bar at a downtown hot spot?
These things happen all the time – all the more so during college years.
Tabbedout, a new app for the iPhone and Android marketplaces, seeks to change that.
“The idea was born out of a 55-minute close-out experience at a restaurant here in Austin where we’re headquartered. The server had done a fantastic job, but forgot about our table before she went on break. It was literally an hour before I was able to leave the restaurant," Tabbeout co-founder and CEO Rick Orr, said. “That same point brought about our concept – there has to be a better way to let the consumer control payment from the table."
From then on, Orr, along with fellow Tabbedout co-founder and chief technology officer Dan Lemley, looked for ways technology could solve the problem. It took eight years, but once the smart phone proliferation hit in early 2009, he and Lemley decided to create Tabbedout, Orr said.
“For the consumer, it’s about maximizing their time out with friends or on a date. You’re not going to be looking for when you’re going to leave at the end instead of paying attention to your date. You’ll have the full capability to view everything that’s added to the check at any point, then pay from a card number that’s securely stored on your phone,” Orr said.
“I’ve definitely lost my debit card, even left it at a bar actually,” senior accounting major Stephanie Mackey, said.
“And waiting for a dinner bill is always horrible, especially if I’m going somewhere after. Sometimes it will affect the tip I give. If Tabbedout made it quick and painless, I’d take advantage of it for sure,” Mackey added.
Restaurants and bars may worry the new app will make it easier for patrons to skip out on paying the bill, but that is not possible through Tabbedout, according to Orr.
“The way that we’ve set up the system, when you open a tab with Tabbedout, we are actually creating a check with validating card information on it. At any point Tabbedout is engaged, the server and establishment are protected from the ‘dine and dash’ because we make sure to give them valid payment information up front,” Orr said.
“We also allow each venue to set its tip policy. From the application, you can’t tip below that policy, whatever it may be. Typically, restaurants and bars are pretty fair to make sure [their tip policy agrees with] whatever the culture is of their particular market,” Orr added.
While Tabbedout is not currently offered by any Bloomington-Normal bars, Orr hopes to soon have merchants in the ISU area.
“It’s a possibility. We’ve certainly gone with the opportunities that have arisen first and foremost, but we’d love to get there,” Orr said.