I wonder how quickly TimeOut settled this bill. The traditional media brand now calling itself a “global multimedia discovery platform” (whatever the heck that is) has led a $10.7 million Series A round in the U.K.’s Flypay.
The startup first launched in early 2014 with a pay-at-table mobile app that lets you settle your restaurant bill “waiter-free”, but has has since added a number of other solutions targeting the hospitality industry. These include order and collect, order at table, pay at bar and customer loyalty features.
The overall idea is to significantly speed up the rate at which restaurants and bars can service customers. And in a neat bit of technology spin, “enabling wait staff to do what they do best, and focus on service and experience.” You know, in case you mistakingly thought Flypay and its ilk will put waiters out of a job.
Specifically, here’s how I previously described FlyPay’s original pay-at-table solution:
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.
Flypay says its technology is currently available in over 100 restaurants and bars across the U.K., including Wahaca, Cabana, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Jamie’s Italian, Burrito Mama and Drake & Morgan, and will be available shortly in Dirty Burger, Chilango and selected Fullers pubs.
Tom Weaver, CEO of Flypay, says in a statement: “It’s been a phenomenal two years for the business, as operators within the hospitality industry look to become early adopters of our technology to greatly enhance the dining out experience for their customers. This investment, coupled with a strategic partnership with TimeOut, will allow us to rapidly deploy our solution for both operators and users around the world.”
Meanwhile, FlyPay is being talked up as a good strategic fit for new investor TimeOut. That’s in reference to the publisher’s new focus on mobile and an ambition to cover the full gamut of hyper-local event and hospitality discovery and booking for its monthly combined audience of over 36 million, spanning 107 cities across 38 countries. That strategy also includes becoming a mobile commerce platform in its own right so that it plays a role at the point at which you pay, something that today’s investment in FlyPay furthers.