Online restaurant reservation service OpenTable has quietly launched its mobile payment platform in the D.C. area.
At least five local restaurants are participating: both Ping Pong Dim Sum locations in Chinatown and Dupont Circle, Lincoln in McPherson Square, Teddy and the Bully Bar in West End and Bryan Voltaggio’s Range in Chevy Chase.
OpenTable (NASDAQ: OPEN) piloted the mobile payments in San Francisco in February. Once you make a reservation at one of the participating restaurants, the app prompts you to enable the payments, according to OpenTable’s website. (Disclosure: I have not actually tried this as I don’t have any active reservations at any of these restaurants.)
I reached out to OpenTable for more details on the program in D.C. and a spokeswoman from a PR firm that works with OpenTable said there will be more local restaurants added to the program in the future, but couldn’t offer any more details. I’ve asked to speak to OpenTable and will update this post once I learn more.
The service has been used a couple of times since Lincoln and Teddy started taking the payments last week, said owner Alan Popovsky. It has been seamless: He said the OpenTable reservation system communicates with the restaurant’s point-of-service system, Micros (NASDAQ: MCRS), to alert servers that they do not need to bring a check to the table.
“The reason we did it was for the added convenience for the customer,” Popovsky said. “A lot of times, customers like to pay for something before the check hits the table.”
The service avoids an awkward fight over the check, he added. OpenTable charges about 75 cents per transaction, Popovsky said.
At Range, chef/owner Bryan Voltaggio added to system to streamline the payment process for his customers.
“Our clientele, especially during lunch, seem to have less and less time to enjoy the experience in the restaurant,” Voltaggio said in an email. “So we thought to be conscious of this change and offer a more expedited way to close a check.”
He also considered the added convenience for those tracking expenses for business meals, he added.