OpenTable Wants to Fix the Single Most Annoying Thing About Eating Out

You just finished a delicious meal. You're itching to move on to the next spot to get more drinks. Or you're hoping to wrap up your meal so you can pay the sitter. Or maybe you just want to get the hell out of the restaurant just because. Whatever it is, you spend a snail's lifetime trying to flag down the waitress to get your bill. Another half life waiting for her to take your credit card. And a century and half for you to get it back so you can sign the damn thing. Taking care of the bill is the most annoying thing about eating out. OpenTable wants to change that.

Yes, OpenTable has started testing mobile payments in restaurants. And it's exactly as beautiful as you would imagine. The NY Times reports that:

The payment process, still in testing, will be straightforward, Matthew Roberts, chief executive of OpenTable, said in an interview. At the end of a meal, the diner would open the OpenTable app and pay the check with the tap of a button. The diner can review the check, adjust the tip and finish the payment.

Roberts told the NY Times that there would be "no scanning, there’s no bar codes, there’s no geeky stuff", which sounds amazing. Wrapping up a meal could not be easier: pull out your phone, pay and walk out. No need to bother busy waiters, no need to wait any longer than you want to. It'd be like how you pay drivers in Uber but for eating.

Even better, from the restaurant's perspective, OpenTable doesn't plan on taking a dime from this mobile payment feature. The restaurant would simply be charged the same fee they already are for credit card transactions (restaurants are still paying OpenTable for reservations made through OpenTable, of course). Everybody wins!

There's still a lot of kinks to work through like for example, how will waiters know if you paid through OpenTable or are skipping out on the check? But paying for your meal through your smartphone is such an obvious solution to an annoying (admittedly, first world) problem that OpenTable and restaurants will surely figure that out. The plan is to start mobile payments in San Francisco by this year and then expand as OpenTable sees fit. And with OpenTable's gigantic and expanding footprint with restaurants, adding this feature might make OpenTable even more lovable. I can't wait to not wait anymore. [NY Times]