Though hopefully none of us have ever pulled the old dine and dash, we've probably all thought about getting up and walking out on a restaurant check before.
Today, restaurant bill-focused payments startup Cover launches out of beta in New York city to let you pay your bill and never wait for a check again.
The app dubs itself the Uber of restaurant bills because it simply lets a single guest pay the bill through the app, and walk away. Or, for those who travel in larger groups, Cover will automatically split the bill between guests evenly.
The main focus behind the app is simplicity. Simply check in to the restaurant as soon as you arrive, and the bill will hit your credit cards, including your preferred tip settings, as you leave. It's as simple as that. That said, a group of ten people automatically split the bill, even if one didn't drink and ordered a bowl of soup while the other had a steak dinner with dessert.
Cover spent the last year testing the different ways of splitting the check, with varying levels of control put in the hands of the user. “At the end of the year, we realized it was a much better experience to auto-split the check,” said Cove. “We realized if we give the user control, they'll spend the last part of the evening with their phones out, fine-tuning everything on the bill.”
According to Cove, Cover is taking the awkwardness and the debate out of the end of the night.
Unfortunately, to implement its system, Cover must manually partner with restaurants, a process which is controlled by Marc Egerman. The entire team is comprised of 6 people, including founders.
So far, that includes 16 restaurants signed on to receive payments by app at the end of a meal, including Charlie Bird, Estela, Rouge Tomate, Carbone, ZZ's Clam Bar, Empellon Cocina, Riverpark, El Toro Blanco, Burger & Barrel, Northern Spy, Parm, Burger & Barrel, Yunnan Kitchen, Swine, Exchange Alley, City Grit, and Tarallucci e Vino.
Eventually, the app will move to a self-service model with merchants, who can use the app for free and save money through Cover's uniquely structured transactions, yielding lower interchange costs. Even still, every transaction is profitable and Cove reveals that Cover only needs a surprisingly low number of users to turn a profit, as the company makes “a decent margin”.
Cover isn't alone in its quest to smooth out payments at restaurants through mobile, as TabbedOut and even Square are also playing in the space. Still, the mobile payments company backed with $1.5 million from OATV and others is ready to go with an ultra-simple payments method available today.
Check out the app right here.