A San Francisco pilot program of a mobile application that allows users to pay for their restaurant checks electronically is expanding nationally by moving to New York City.
The mobile app is called OpenTable, and it was launched in 2013 after the company acquired Just Chalo, a similar company bent on releasing a mobile payment app that would reach various U.S. cities. Started in San Francisco, the company has seen enough to success to merit working with businesses in other cities. Its most recent announcement includes the milestone that OpenTable will be available for use in New York City, and by the end of the year, the company says, diners in more than 20 other cities will be able to view and pay for their meals electronically.
The official product website describes the app as operating as such: First, a diner can make a reservation at a restaurant of his choice through OpenTable, and when he is ready to pay, he can just open the app. His phone will show the check as it would traditionally appear, and he can enter his tip before submitting his payment. When that is finished, he can feel free to leave because his waiter will be notified of the payment and he will receive a receipt that OpenTable will send to his email address.
Currently, the OpenTable app only works on iOS devices, but Android (News - Alert) users should receive an app soon that will meet their needs. The company stores users' credit card information on its servers in an encrypted form, so diners can make use of their credit cards through the app without having to worry about security concerns such as data being saved in plain text on their phones. Users can download and use the app free of charge because there is no additional fee for diners making electronic check payments from their phones in this way.
OpenTable markets its product as being fast and efficient for businesses. It allows customers to get their checks faster, and it frees up waiters from having to run checks back and forth between tables. The company suggests that users will be happier because they will receive expedited service that is more focused on their needs as diners and that they will appreciate being able to track receipts and split checks easily through their own phones. Early adopting restaurants will also be able to receive their names in marketing campaigns, OpenTable says on its website, so restaurants are encouraged to sign up early.
Edited by Alisen Downey
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