OpenTable is taking its restaurant reservations service into a new vertical today, the company says: mobile payments. According to a post on the OpenTable blog, a pilot program is currently underway in San Francisco which allows diners to not just book a table, but also pay for their meal right in the OpenTable iPhone app.
“Select restaurants” are testing partners for the new service, and more diners will be invited to trial the program over the next few weeks, as OpenTable opens up a way for interested users to request access. Some invites will also be sent out (most likely to frequent OpenTable users) via email. Testers may be invited to an in-person Q&A at OpenTable headquarters in San Francisco, as well. (In related news, did you know TechCrunch has a tips hotline?)
If invited to the pilot, diners will just have to add a credit card to the OpenTable iPhone app before their meal. “There’s no scanning or bar codes involved,” explains the company via the blog post. You’ll also be able to view your check, line item by line item, within the app, a screenshot (see above) makes apparent.
The company did not reveal its time table for a wider launch, as the program is still in its initial phases.
That OpenTable is moving into the payments space is not surprising, but that also means it will face a number of competing restaurant-focused payment solutions already on the market today, like Tabbedout, E la Carte, Cover, Dash and others, including, to some extent, broader payment solutions like Square.