Reserve, a startup that helps with restaurant reservations and payments, is adding what it says has been the most-requested feature from both diners and restaurants.
The app emerged from startup studio Expa. If you’re trying to get a reservation, you specify the time window and party size, and the app provides you with a list of curated restaurant partners. If it can’t get a reservation at the time you want, it will suggest alternatives with available tables.
Then, once you’re actually finished with the meal, the app also handles the payment, adding your preset tip percentage and a $5 fee for Reserve.
Today the company’s adding another layer to that payment, allowing users to split the bill evenly. As soon as your reservation is confirmed, you can invite other users to join the meal. You can invite people from your phone contact list, and they’ll be invited to download the app if they haven’t already. As more users join, the check gets divided accordingly.
Hopefully, this means that all the awkwardness and tedium of figuring out how to split the bill gets figured out ahead of time, rather than at the end of a nice dinner. And yes, everyone pays the same amount, so if you’re going to argue about things like whether someone should pay extra when they buy an expensive steak or drink more booze than anyone else, Reserve might not be the app for you.
Of course, you can still choose to cover the whole meal yourself, say if you’re taking a client out to dinner or going on a date. And if someone accepts the payment invite but ultimately can’t make it, they can still back out anytime before the check is closed. (If it’s too late for that, well, I guess there’s always Venmo.)
Expa, by the way, was founded by StumbleUpon and Uber co-founder Garrett Camp. Perhaps inevitably, the team compared their approach to Uber when the app launched, so this is another way that Reserve is making its experience more Uber-like.
You can read more about the new feature on the Reserve blog. You can also read about Reserve’s observations on the psychology of splitting the check (“like ordering a $500 bottle of wine when everyone else in your party is drinking water”) on Medium.