Is there a more interminable purgatory than the minutes after you’ve finished your meal but before you’ve settled your bill? New apps aim to solve the waiting game by allowing diners to leave the restaurant whenever they’d like, then settle their bill through a saved payment source later.
Similar to Amazon’s cashierless supermarket, apps like Dine & Dash and Qkr automatically bill you for what you’ve purchased without any back-and-forth with an employee. The Guardian reports that a London location of a restaurant called Prezzo is currently testing Barclaycard’s Dine & Dash technology. It works like this: Diners download the app, which synchs with a “totem”—a sort of Alexa-looking receptor—on the restaurant table. The totem calculates what you’ve ordered and recognizes when you’ve left the location, automatically sending a bill to your phone. After the meal, diners can also choose to split the check with other people, provided they have the app too. It’s sort of like Lyft: You don’t have to worry about stopping to pay your driver on the way out of the car (but don’t forget to tip!).
This seems like a win for busy diners who do a lot of rushed eating at business lunches, pre-theater meals, etc., when the 10-minute wait for a check can really mess up their schedules. It could also potentially solve the dreaded group-dining situation where everyone brought credit cards. (Of course, Venmo is already useful in that scenario.) Unless I’m in a huge hurry, though, I don’t mind the few minutes’ wait for my check. I’d rather see apps address my larger dining pet peeve: being seated next to tables of screaming children.