Never mind poor service or the food itself, the experience of actually paying the bill at the end of a meal is often cited as the biggest pain-point for restaurant goers. Or so says Flypay, a new UK startup whose app wants to make settling the bill “waiter-free” and a lot speedier in the process.
Co-inciding with its official launch today, the company is announcing that it’s raised £1 million in new funding from mobile payment specialists Entreé Capital, adding to a £150,000 seed round from unnamed industry folk raised six months earlier. The new capital will be used to scale its technology, picking up new restaurant partners along the way, and to further develop its product line.
So, how does the Flypay iOS and Android app work? Aiming to get the time it takes to ask for and settle a restaurant bill down from an average of ten minutes to closer to a minute, you simply scan an on-table QR code/NFC tag to first recall the bill. Then, using the app, you can check the bill and pay using a credit or debit card, including the option to split the bill with others at your table — either by paying off specific items or splitting the bill equally.
For restaurant operators, the advantages are two-fold. First, of course, the process of settling a bill doesn’t tie up a waiter, who can continue serving other customers instead of faffing around with chip ‘n’ pin. In fact, Flypay reckons it currently takes an average three visits by a waiter to enable a customer to settle their bill.
And, by app-ifying this process, there’s an additional payoff. The startup is able to offer in-app customer loyalty schemes in which Flypay integrates with restaurant marketing and CRM systems to potentially provide rewards and discounts for a restaurant’s most valued customers or to entice repeat visitors.
To that end, Flyapp is disclosing two major brand customers: Wahaca are using the Flypay app as a pay-at-table solution, and Burrito Mama are using Flypay’s tech (effectively a white-label version “powered by Flyapp”) within their order-ahead app to enable customers to order a burrito as they approach the takeout so that it’s ready to collect and pay for when they arrive.
An obvious competitor to Flypay is MyCheck, which also offers a “waiter-free” payment solution. The company operates in Tel Aviv, London and New York, and has raised $6.1 million since it was founded in 2011. However, Flypay claims its solution is more efficient since it uses a QR/NFC code and doesn’t require a 4-digit pin to be handed to a waiter.