London-based Flypay Ltd. plans to end what it refers to as the "10-minute restaurant bill chase" at the end of a meal by offering a mobile application that speeds up payment while providing more customer data to restaurant owners.
"We've transformed the way customers can pay their bill, but there's also great potential for restaurants to use the data that comes with this technology" to further engage their customers with personalized offers, says Flypay CEO Tom Weaver in an email.
Restaurants also benefit by giving wait staff more time to serve tables, Weaver says. Flypay estimates that, on average, it can take three trips by a waiter to a table to handle a chip-and-PIN card payment.
Flypay will go up against the likes of Tel Aviv-based MyCheck, Austin-based TabbedOut and Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Dash, all of which designed their products to make restaurant payments more frictionless. It also goes up against companies such as CardFree, Groupon and Square, which are all tailoring their mobile payment systems to better appeal to dining establishments.
Flypay says it offers a more efficient system by combining QR codes and Near Field Communication.
Patrons are able to view an itemized bill at restaurants using the Flypay system by scanning an on-table QR code with a smartphone's camera, and then make a payment using an NFC tag, Flypay says. Patrons also can split the bill on an item-by-item basis.
Flypay announced last week that it received £1 million in funding from venture capital firm Entrée Capital and began rolling out its mobile app for iOS and Android handsets.
Wahaca and Burrito Mama restaurants in London have adopted Flypay's technology, and the startup says it will use the venture capital money to add more restaurants.
Flypay offers two pricing models, Weaver says. The restaurant can provide a portion of each transaction to Flypay or sign up for an unlimited license.
Wahaca restaurants are using Flypay in a pay-at-the-table model, and Burrito Mama is using Flypay within its own order-ahead app so that diners can order before entering the restaurant, Flypay says.
Flypay also integrates its system with restaurant marketing and customer loyalty systems. It allows a restaurant to make offers to diners through a "Powered by Flypay" option with the restaurant's own brand.
Even though many restaurant payment initiatives are akin to "throwing darts at a dartboard to see what sticks," Flypay enters the field at a time when merchant and consumer appetites for such technology are growing, says Richard Oglesby, president of AZ Payments LLC consulting firm.
"Restaurants are one of those areas where mobile payments has one of the stronger value propositions because it puts bill paying on the consumer's terms," Oglesby says.
But habits change slowly, so Flypay and others have to give their target audiences time to warm up to their products, Oglesby says.
"It appears Flypay has addressed the issue of the consumer taking too many steps to use the service," Oglesby adds. "Setting it up with a bar code at the table, which is entered into the [point of sale] system, provides the consumer with a spontaneous experience."