You’re out with friends at a hot new restaurant, the food is good, the people watching even better, and everyone is having a great time; until it’s time for the check. What was a good night out can be made a drag by lengthy wait times for the bill and then hearing the dreaded “sorry, we can’t split the bill” news from the waiter when it finally arrives.
A similar situation set Split co-founders Matthew Suber and Daniel Dorfman on their mission to improve the dining experience. Along with friends Randy Etheridge and Jimmy Patel, they built Split, a mobile application designed to eliminate the need to wait on a server for the check and that allows diners to split the check.
What it is
Split is a mobile application that integrates with existing restaurant POS systems (find out more about restaurant accounting right here) to allow customers more control over their dining experience. Using the free app which is available for iOS and Android phones, diners can:
- Pre-order takeout and view restaurant menus in their area
- Pay the tab in full at the diner’s own convenience
- Tag friends so they can see the tab
- Split the check by person or item
There is no need to wait on a server to bring the bill. Diners can decide when and how they want to pay, and it’s done all from their smart phone.
How it Works
After downloading the free app, users log in with Facebook to get started and create an account with Split. Split accesses the phone’s location to provide location lists of restaurants nearby and their menus. Users can place takeout orders at participating restaurants. Split accesses a user’s contacts to allow friends to be tagged on a bill [Image A]. When friends are tagged, they can view and pay their portion of the bill. Payers have the option to split the tab evenly, pay a specific dollar amount, or pay by item [Image B]. A payment completion screen will appear to confirm payment has been accepted and the transaction is complete.
But the idea of splitting and paying a restaurant tab via your mobile device isn’t novel. The market is crowded with competitors such as Austin, Texas-based TabbedOut which raised a $21.6 million Series C round in June 2015, Cover, Dash, Splitwise, Divvy and My Check. Many are already operating in multiple cities including Atlanta where Split hopes to focus its growth.
Split charges a small monthly fee to restaurants and also takes additional transaction fees for mobile marketing and take out orders.
According to the startup’s data from beta users, the app allows restaurants to turn tables faster; up to 10 times the normal table turnover rate. Servers are also increasing profits with an average gratuity rate of 23 percent, well above the industry average.
Split’s co-founders are taking a community-based approach to what they are calling the “Fight the Waiting” movement by “enlisting the help of our community to end excessive waiting when dining out,” explains Suber. They have a standing call out to Atlantans to send them restaurant suggestions.
Split is the first app from The Ampersand’s Group, a mobile development company that specializes in productivity tools for the restaurant and hospitality industry. The company is currently located at the Opportunity Hub in Downtown Atlanta.