Mobile Commerce

Reserve Answers Diners' Cries for Check-Splitting Feature

Restaurant reservations and m-payments startup Reserve — which is available in Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, Boston and San Francisco — is adding functionality to its app that it says has been among the more actively requested features. The company announced the new feature via a Thursday (July 16) blog post from CEO and Co-Founder Greg Hong.

As always, consumers using the app (which is available for iPhone and Android) can specify the date, time and number of people in their party, and the app will offer up a list of its restaurant partners. Alternatively, the app will offer up alternatives, complete with tables available, in the event that the time window/party size requested is not available.

And, post meal, the app offers mobile payment, complete with a tip and also the $5 fee levied by Reserve for the service.

As of last week, Reserve is adding another option to the payment service, through which users can split the bill. That service can be configured to use contact information from a phone list, and those contacts in turn will be sent an invitation to download the Reserve app. As the user count increases, the check is divided up by the number of users who accept the initiating party's invite.

"The entire check —  including tax, tip and Reserve’s $5 concierge fee —  is divided evenly between everyone who accepts," Hong wrote in the announcement. "For example, if you invite three friends to share the bill with you, you’ll be responsible for 50 percent of the bill if just one accepts, 33 percent of the bill when two accept, and 25 percent of the bill when all three accept. You can see how much of the check you’ll pay by looking at the green segment of the wheel on the 'Split check' screen."

At this time, there is no option to take into account the fact that payments reflect, say, a member of the dining party who has ordered something relatively more or less expensive than peers, such as a cocktail or appetizer.

"We know that there are lots of opinions about the best way to split the check and sensitivities around paying as part of a group," Hong noted in the post. "Feedback and requests from our diners and restaurant partners help us achieve our goal of making dining better for everyone, at every meal, and we’re thrilled to deliver this long-requested feature."

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