OpenTable wants to make paying the check completely painless


Detailed by the New York Times, the restaurant reservations company OpenTable is branching out into the mobile payments market. While an OpenTable user typically only uses the reservations service prior to visiting the restaurant, a new feature within the OpenTable application will accept payments via credit card for the meal. Rather than having to flag down a busy waiter or waitress to get the check and wait for the return of a credit card statement at the end of the meal, an OpenTable user would simply launch the application on their smartphone or tablet, review a digital copy of their bill, decide on an appropriate tip and pay the check. 

opentable-searchInterestingly, OpenTable doesn’t want a cut of the revenue when processing the transaction. The company only requests that the restaurant pays the credit card processing fee, basically the same amount of money that the restaurant would pay to a credit card processing service.

However, OpenTable does charge restaurants when reservations are made using the service. There’s also a monthly service charge involved for using hardware provided by OpenTable. 

The benefit to restaurant patrons is clearly time flexibility. A couple that’s attempting to catch a movie at a specific time may prefer to pick a restaurant that offers OpenTable mobile payments just to have the flexibility to race out of the restaurant at the end of the meal. However, OpenTable is currently trying to solve the issue of the waiter or waitress becoming aware of the mobile payment, otherwise they could end up accusing the customer of trying to skip out on the check. One solution would be sending a notification to the entire wait staff or perhaps just the waiter or waitress that’s handling the table. This would require linking an employee identification code to the OpenTable system.

opentable-reservationAt the moment, the beta test of OpenTable’s mobile payments system is rolled out at twenty restaurant locations. Assuming the test is successful, OpenTable plans to launch on a citywide basis in San Francisco by the end of the year and will likely expand out in major cities within the United States.

Potentially, OpenTable could roll this payment feature out to all 28,000 restaurants in the company’s database. This technology is being powered by a company called JustChalo which OpenTable acquired for $11 million during mid-June 2013.

This new feature cuts directly into the business of Tabbedout, a mobile application that allows customers to pay for their restaurant or bar tab immediately without speaking to the wait staff. However, Tabbedout also offers a feature that allows a user to join a tab and split the check with their friends. There’s also an additional element of marketing promotion that allows the restaurant to send coupons and discounts to the Tabbedout user for the current visit or future visits.

Beyond the monetary features, users can leave feedback about the dining experience through the Tabbedout interface and check out their dining history with a particular restaurant or bar. While Tabbedout offers significantly more features than the planned OpenTable interface, it will likely be difficult to compete with OpenTable’s established relationships with restaurants around the country. 


G’day, Google: U.S. users can now give Assistant a British or Australian accent

U.S. Google Assistant users can give their Assistant a different voice. Google has updated Assistant with the ability for users to give it either a British or Australian accent, which could make it a little more personal for some.
Home Theater

Netflix vs. Hulu vs. Amazon Prime: Battle of the streaming giants

Trying to figure out which subscription streaming service to use while sticking to a frugal entertainment budget? Check out our updated comparison of the big three: Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu.

Spotify is the best streaming service, but its competitors aren’t far behind

It can be hard to decide which music streaming service is for you, so we've picked out the individual strengths of the most popular services, aiming to make your decision a little easier.
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.

Looking for flexible and inexpensive phone service? Check out our favorite MVNOs

Looking to switch from a major carrier to something a little more affordable? Luckily, there are a ton of great MVNO options to choose from. Check out our guide to the best MVNOs, from Boost Mobile to Google Fi.

Tune in to the best internet radio stations for your listening pleasure

Even in the streaming era, radio stations get some of the best exclusives and curate some of the finest handpicked playlists around. Here are the best internet radio stations, for your listening pleasure.

Leave the laptop at home, the iPad Pro is the travel buddy to take on vacay

The iPad Pro is a powerful tablet that's perfect for creatives and professionals. How does it fare when traveling with it as a laptop replacement? We took it on a two week trek in Japan to find out.

Microsoft’s latest patent paves the way for Andromeda dual-screen mobile device

The latest patent discovery from Microsoft showcases a new hinge design for quickly opening a dual-screen mobile device with a single hand. Could this be additional proof surrounding the rumors of the company's Project Andromeda device?

Need to record calls on an iPhone? Check out our handy guide

Are you wondering how to record calls on your iPhone? It isn't as easy as you might think, but we'll walk you through the process of doing so with Google Voice, and identify several other apps and external voice recorders that can help.
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best true wireless earbuds around.

Apple is spending $1 billion to hire up to 15,000 new employees in Austin

Apple has announced a series of expansions across the U.S. -- including a massive expansion to the company's Austin campus that will see it spending $1 billion to accommodate for up to 15,000 new employees.

Google Maps makes it easier than ever to find a Lime bike or scooter

Google Maps has added a new feature that helps you find a Lime bike or scooter in just a few taps. The feature currently works in 11 U.S. cities served by Lime, with more coming next year.

Quirky smartphone accessories you never knew you needed

Looking for a few accoutrements to make your smartphone even better? If you, or someone you know, is a sucker for accessories, you'll want to check out our collection of quirky smartphone accessories you never knew you needed.

Ditch your smartphone for a year and win $100k from Vitaminwater

Vitaminwater is willing to part with $100,000 if you're willing to part with your smartphone partner for a year. Could you last for a year armed with only a 1996-era phone? Here's your chance to find out.