The idea of seamlessly paying for your meal from your smartphone as soon as you’ve finished dessert is nothing new. Apps like Dash, Cover, and TabbedOut have competed in the mobile payment space for years, but now OpenTable is looking to dive in deep with its own hyper-integrated payment option called Tab.
As if you’ve got a running house account
Though Pay by OpenTable, an early mobile payment iteration, has also existed since at least 2014, the new Tab is looking to be an even more relaxed experience. With the previous Pay, guests would have to open their OpenTable app to manually select their check and process the bill at the end of the meal. With Tab, it’s as if you’ve got a running house account at any participating restaurant, and the money is deducted from your account invisibly, much like the way you are automatically billed at the end of your Uber ride, without ever having to go back into the app and pay.
The Tab pilot program has officially launched in Los Angeles, with participating restaurants like Alexander’s Steakhouse in Pasadena and Faith & Flower ready to go. You’ll also find casual options like the constantly packed Home in Los Feliz on the list, which should help guests get in and out during those particularly crushed brunch services. You can find the full list of restaurants here.
Ultimately, OpenTable will look to expand Tab beyond the 75 or so participating restaurants and throughout Los Angeles, adding other cities like New York, Chicago, and San Francisco along the way. It’s a smart integration for OpenTable, considering how many people and eateries already use the service as part of their day to day restaurant reservation life, and should allow guests the opportunity to even more smoothly spend their money dining out.