“transforming the check paying process by allowing diners to pay bar and restaurant tabs directly from their smartphones”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Eric Spiegel

From a press release:

“Dash Software, LLC, a leading mobile payment platform for restaurants, bars, and clubs, announced today their expansion to Washington, D.C., the company’s third city of operation following its October 2014 launch in Chicago and November 2013 launch in New York City.

Dash has quickly risen in popularity with app-savvy Millennials for transforming the check paying process by allowing diners to pay bar and restaurant tabs directly from their smartphones. Now, the app comes to 17 venues around Washington, D.C. including The Exchange, The Fainting Goat, Jake’s American Grille, Nick’s Riverside, Smith Commons, and more.

“We’re incredibly excited to announce the launch of Dash in Washington, D.C. As a top-tier culinary city with a diverse food and bar scene catering to local young professionals and college students, the city is a perfect fit for Dash. We can’t wait to get started,” said CEO and co-founder Jeff McGregor, who, along with former college roommate Gennady Spirin, formulated the idea of Dash on New Year’s Day when the two were out to brunch and unable to grab their waiter’s attention at the busy venue.

With Dash, diners and bar-goers no longer need to worry about waiting for the check at a busy restaurant, splitting a bill with big groups, or leaving a credit card behind the bar after opening a tab. Fully integrated with the leading POS systems for bars and restaurants, Dash also gives added benefits and customer insights to restaurant and bar owners, allowing them to not only better serve their customers but to also offer up additional perks to increase customer loyalty. This year, Dash launched Venue Vibes, a feature that uses a venue’s POS system to reveal crowd levels and atmosphere in real time – with the indicators “lively,” “active,” “relaxed,” and “quiet” – so patrons can gauge the “vibe” of a bar or restaurant before even stepping foot inside.

How Dash Works:

When you arrive at a venue that accepts Dash, you simply tell your waiter or bartender that you’d like to “pay with Dash,” at which point your tab is connected to the venue’s POS system, allowing the items you’ve ordered to appear in real-time on your phone.

Friends can invite each other to participate in one Dash bill to facilitate seamless bill splitting. Dash allows guests to easily set a tip using a pre-set percentage or by inputting a specific amount. With one touch, the user is able to pay their bill using a credit card stored within the application.

“Dash is not a mobile ordering app,” said McGregor. “We didn’t want to remove the personal interactions between servers and patrons that make the hospitality industry so special. Instead, the platform simply provides a real time view of your spending when you’re dining out, allowing you to split the bill with friends, easily set a tip without the need to do math, and close your check out at your own discretion.”

Dash launches with 15 venues on board in Washington, D.C. and has plans to continue expanding rapidly throughout the year. For more information and a full list of participating venues, download the app at PayWithDash.com.”

62 Comment

  • How long before it gets hacked?

    • The app? Unlikely. Even if they do “hack” the app what do they get? An authentication token? Your payment info isn’t stored on your phone, but rather the servers. So even if you were sending data over an open wifi connection with no encryption, the best MITM attack is only going to get your session info. What can someone do with that? Well, not a lot. Again, the payment info isn’t stored on your phone.

      Let’s say that your phone is connecting over an open wifi and the app sends session data unencrypted (a very unlikely worst-case scenario). An attacker can, at best, capture your session and maybe see where the data is headed. Okay, so I have some server IPs. Now maybe an attacker can hack the servers with your credit card data. Yeah, let’s say they are hosting this data on an unpatched database on an unpatched server. So worst case, the attacker is able to steal a database of credit card information. Well lucky for you, this is insured by FDIC. Banks in the US are pretty good about catching this stuff and it will likely be resolved before any significant damage. Example: do you know anyone personally at a loss as a result of the Target or Neiman Marcus or Home Depot hacks?

      tl;dr You’re fine. But if you’re that paranoid, you shouldn’t be using a smart phone -especially with apps that process payments.

  • I’m all about app-savvy Millenials.

  • justinbc

    I wonder if their “seamless bill splitting” allows for actual allocation of menu items to specific guests, or if it just does a total divided by number of participants formula. Restaurants / waitstaff always act like this is the equivalent of solving Hilbert’s problems, so reducing that overly dramatic interaction would be nice.

    • palisades

      It’s always funny seeing the waiter’s look of complete dismay when you ask to split the bill according to menu items. I’m sorry that it takes you an extra 2 minutes to do, but you also get more of a tip that way.

      • My post below explains why it’s not that simple, but if you tell the server upfront and stay in the same seat throughout ordering, they’ll have it done long before you’re ready for the check.

      • justinbc

        I just don’t understand why they don’t assume that’s how you want to do it to begin with, or at the very least ask. It seems like it would be so common that you would want to save yourself the frustration from doing it after. I’ve had many good waiters who do this, but the majority do not.

        • Having worked hundreds of parties in all parts of DC, splitting by menu item hasn’t been the majority. Second once you split it apart it is usually impossible to get back together, so if 1 person is paying, you will have to run the card 10 or whatever and it may get declined. It also makes it hard to manage the server screen when you have 10 or 20 potentially unnecessary open checks on the screen. You can’t see what it is on each check until you open it….That would greatly delay the ordering process and items wouldn’t come out together if they’re not on the same ticket.
          You all have never worked in a restaurant obviously.

          • justinbc

            You are correct, I’ve never worked in a restaurant, but I’ve eaten at enough of them to experience enough waiters proactively asking whether we want the checks split or not. We go out with other couples all the time, sometimes I mention in advance, but most of the time I’m busy talking with the people I’m there to see, not the waiter, so it might slip my mind. It’s up to the waiter to be proactive, not the diner. Remember, it’s a SERVICE industry. A good waiter anticipates the needs of the diner, rather than bitching about having to fix something later.

          • Your scenario is a little different. If I know I have 2+ couples I will try to keep them together like that just in case. My issue is more the big birthday dinner…mix of friends, etc.
            Some things can’t be fixed later like wanting to split something an odd number of ways or recombine checks once they’re split or trying to decipher what you had when you changed seats 3 times. The ppl doing these things are typically in a rush when they’ve made the situation worse.
            Whenever I’ve gotten the head’s up I’ll mention things like that to avoid confusion later.

          • justinbc

            I will totally agree that there are many diners out there who can be a massive pain in the ass. I’ve dined out with some of them before, so I’m sure they frustrate waitstaff even when they’re dining by themselves.

        • I think it’s tacky to nickel-and-dime when dining with friends. If it’s someone with whom I eat out frequently, we take turns paying the whole tab. If not, we split the bill evenly. They’re my friends. Why should I care if I pay $6 more than I actually consumed, because they had one more drink or whatever? Maybe if you’re 23 and on your own for the first time, it’s acceptable. But I see it as juvenile behavior, to be outgrown as quickly as possible.

          • Hallelujah! The amount of time I spent changing a bill because a coffee out of 100 items got on the wrong tab was far too much.

          • This assumes that you and your dining companions all have comfortable disposable incomes and that no one is trying to be frugal.
            Me, I got tired of subsidizing other people’s wine, appetizers, etc. when I was trying to economize. So now that I actually have the disposable income to afford it, when I encounter one of these situations I’ll order a drink, appetizer, etc. if other people are, because I figure I’ll be paying for it anyway.

          • We usually split the bill and then if someone ordered way more or had more drinks, they’ll cover the tip. If it’s really different from person to person and there aren’t too many of us, we might write down specific amounts per card, but don’t stress about it being a few bucks off. I would never begrudge someone who didn’t want to split the bill if all they had was a soup.

          • I don’t have a problem with split checks, but I only ask that you mention it right away. Make it easier for everyone.
            When I dine out with a group, I always get separate checks because when it comes time to tip, money always comes up short.

          • justinbc

            @anon 12:46, that might work in that one specific dining scenario with you and your best buddy, but many of us go out quite a lot in very different settings. For me, I usually order a lot more than other people, and eat a lot more, so I’m almost always the one paying the most and I’m happy to pay my share. If I’m out with a group of 5-10 friends (which happens quite a lot) then I would hate for the girl who didn’t drink anything, and had a small sandwich to pay the same as me who probably had an appetizer, an entree, and multiple beers. Try to consider that not everyone follows your singular style of dining before introducing your condescension.

          • palisades

            How is splitting a check nickel and diming? That is so presumptuous and condescending. I have multiple former waiter friends and they’ve told me multiple times that splitting checks is simply a a small time inconvenience for the waiter. And like I said, splitting the check up usually means a better overall tip.
            If I’m not mistaken, the job title is waiter, so I’ll assume you are going to wait on me.
            Also, the person saying the diner should have to notify the waiter we want the check split is ridiculous. Sounds like your job.

          • This, exactly! And when I’m trying to be frugal or just don’t feel like I can afford it, I politely decline or limit my meals out to those with close friends who will understand the situation.

          • I don’t mind splitting it evenly except I feel guilty when I order more than others. Why should someone else pay for my booze? And sometimes there is a BIG difference, especially when alcohol is involved.

            A dinner my friends and I had a couple weeks ago is a perfect example. Two friends bought $70+ worth of food, a couple of us totaled around $45, and another bought an entree that was $25 or so. That same person also didn’t drink any of the wine we ordered. Why should he subsidize the rest of us?

          • @justin, I would likely offer to cover for “the girl” (talk about condescension! unless of course she’s 12, and then why *would* she pay for her own dinner?) and her sandwich, if I had run the bill up to triple digits. What’s an extra $12 among friends? (IOf course an expense account situation might be different, but in business settings one should have no trouble bringing that up at the start of a meal.)
            If I can afford to dine out, I can afford to be generous wrt my companions. If I cannot afford to order what I want, and ensure my friends have a good time too, I’ll cook for them at home.
            Anyway, this app is enabling self-absorbed fledgling people to attempt a life they haven’t earned. An instagrammable social life carried out in all the best restaurants is expensive. This me-me-me “but *I* didn’t have any of the seared ahi!” stuff is juvenile. It’s for people who haven’t learned that others’ pleasure is as good as – or better than – one’s own.

          • justinbc

            Save the humble bragging, faux chivalrous bullshit for your friends in person please, I thought we were having a real discussion here. I can assure you the concern here has nothing to do with who can or cannot afford to dine out.

          • “Save the humble bragging” from justin. That’s rich.
            Anyway, there’s nothing humble about it. I’m an adult with a comfortable income; I like to eat at nice places, in the company of nice people. If that means picking up more than my “share” of the check, that’s not a bad thing.
            When I was a young person with a less comfortable income, I ate out less, I went to less expensive places, and I *gasp* sometimes declined invitations when I knew I couldn’t play with the grownups, check-wise.

          • justinbc

            Your condescension might be relevant if you weren’t directing it at someone who dines out many times a week, often with other people. I’m quite certain that if I routinely tried to pay for all of my friends meals they would find it just as obnoxious as your tone is here.

          • “someone who dines out many times a week”
            Sounds like the two of you should go out for dinner, then sword-fight for who picks up the check.

          • Palisades: If I don’t ask because in my restaurant we ask upfront (when reservation is made/if checks need to be split, and I bring a total bill you’re going to tell me you want it split. Why not just mention upfront? In some situations it’s simply hitting a button to separate by seat number but we can’t do that if you’ve moved seats or have an app that needs splitting. Pos are not all the same, so if we say we can only take a max of x cards, I’d believe them.
            I’ve had to get managers involved on several occasions because ppl overlook the clearly marked grat or even the subtotal and try to pay too little and God forbid a card gets declined. Running 10 cards on 10 checks takes forever (as opposed to 10 on 1 check). If you’re fine waiting, so be it, but you can’t get mad at the server for the process you created.

          • justinbc

            @Anon Spock, I don’t think anyone here would begrudge the servers for the length of time it might take to split a bill, although I’m sure there are people dining out there who do. At least I haven’t seen anyone here express that complaint. The disappointing part, as a diner, is when someone who is paid to do a job by you acts as though you’ve seriously inconvenienced them when they could have prevented it themselves. That goes back to my original post, and my curiosity about whether this app can actually make things easier as they claim, or if it will just add another layer of difficulty in shifting this task over to the consumer.

        • Because then there’s no way of accounting for shared dishes which are pretty common with apps or small plates.

        • A very small percent of guests I have encountered prefer to do this. Usually they are in very large groups or at the bar. I believe that most folks feel bringing up the financials of dinner before it is even ordered is bad etiquette., it is. However, if you know that is how you are going to roll let your server know up front. Despite what Palisades says, if you have a full section it will definitely take you longer than 2 minutes to split it and taking joy in someone else’s misery while they are working for you simply makes you an asshole.

          • ChenChen

            @DSB, +1

          • palisades

            I am not saying I got joy out of it. I just think the situation is funny. It’s not that big of a deal. The waiters have the computers that can do the math for them, otherwise we sit there with our phone calculators trying to decide who pays what.

          • justinbc

            I know at my job when there is something appreciably more frustrating to deal with, and I can anticipate it being a possibility every single time I encounter a scenario, then I do whatever I can to mitigate that up front. I would assume a waiter would do this for themselves by asking “would you like separate checks”, rather than just assuming one of us is paying for everyone else and then having to deal with it later.

          • Justin, we get it – you have trouble with empathy.

          • By your logic Justin, I should inquire if you don’t want the sauce for the fish every time it’s ordered because it’s possible every time you order you won’t want it. That’s silly.
            One check can take multiple forms of payment so bringing 1 check doesn’t assume 1 person is covering it. The option that happened most often was even split or close to even perhaps with the guest of honor being covered by someone. Business meals being the exception then it went on the company card.

          • justinbc

            @Anon Spock, not really, because that’s something printed on the menu. If a diner doesn’t want it then it’s up to them to tell you that. If you print your payment policy “no split checks”, or “cash only”, then a diner really has no room to complain when that’s how it’s settled. If you really don’t want to deal with splitting checks then get your manager to implement such a policy.

          • Justin as I stated above, I have no issue splitting checks but sometimes it’s impossible (to do more than 10 checks, etc) or going to take a while. At places I’ve worked, it was printed and mentioned when reservations were made which covered the bulk of large parties, but ppl whine so managers would do more splits and such.
            I’m very happy to be out of the biz for now.

          • justinbc

            Yeah I didn’t mean you specifically, it’s obviously going to vary restaurant by restaurant and system by system.

    • Some places can’t do the assign method or don’t have the option to split a check more than x ways. Second patrons complicate the process by sharing items without designating the proper split (it’s not always 50/50) & ordering then changing seats. In the latter scenario, we assign by seat number, but your seat number changes so we can’t keep track. Lastly complicated splitting..I’ll pay for 1/5, he’ll pay for his meal+1 app, etc

    • Doesn’t everyone just PayPal each other nowadays? Much easier for everyone.

      • Wouldn’t that make life easier? But no. I guess everyone is a penny pincher without technology.

  • I agree with anon above. It’s definitely tacky and cheap to insist on itemizing the check.

    • palisades

      Can someone explain to me how this is tacky and/or cheap? Not everyone is in the same financial situation. Sometimes people were planning on paying cash while others planned on using a card.

      • Exactly. This was particularly tricky for me when I was in grad school and just out of grad school, and was dining with friends who were older and had very expensive tastes.

        • Just get a separate check. You can do so discreetly by going to the server 1-1. Not sure what’s so hard here.

        • Anon Spock, if I ever encounter a time machine, I’ll make sure to go back and give that advice to 24-year-old me.

          • Passivity seems rampant here, I don’t get it. Not knocking you at all, but it seems a lot of issues ppl in DC encounter are simply solved by speaking up.

          • No, you _are_ knocking me, and implicitly knocking everyone else who — silly us! — didn’t think of this as a solution to their friends having expensive tastes (and who also hadn’t anticipated that when the bill came, their friends would propose to split it evenly).
            I realize that you think you have the answers for everything, all the time, and that you have no qualms about acting like a bull in a china shop when it comes to being blunt, forthright, etc., etc. You also have no hesitation in beating dead horses (as with the thread about not slowing down for pedestrians), as long as you get the last word. However, not everyone is like you.

          • I don’t think Anon Spock is knocking anyone, not sure why you’re taking it personally. If you don’t like what she’s saying you needn’t respond. I think it’s a little weird that someone so omnipresent on this site feels the need to shut someone else down. Isn’t there room for other people to say what they think?

  • maxwell smart

    I usually just find the method of writing the last name and the amount needed to charge pretty straight-forward and easiest for all involved.

  • Wow… a lot of ideas on check splitting… how many of you have ever worked in a restaurant before? None? One?

    Splitting checks is not easy, depending upon the software of the register. And esp. if they are itemized splits with some shared plates / drinks, and esp,. if this is a large party. It can cause drink confusion at the bar and order confusion in the kitchen.

    It is incumbent upon the customer to tell the server if a check needs splitting (and into how many – who is together) in the same way it is incumbent on the customer to inform the server if there are any dietary restrictions / allergies that need to be accommodated and who that person is. It is quite rude for the waiter to assume anything about what their tables would prefer and at what point should a server ask this? A party of 2? 4? 8?

    But jeepers, reading this thread… I am so thankful I am out of the service industry.

  • I’m a waitress, not a calculator. There’s a reason lots of restaurants put a maximum on the number of ways a check can be split, no separate checks, etc. It’s a gigantic time suck. If you have a problem with it, bring cash.

  • Yeah, but that’s less time spent taking orders, refilling drinks, bringing food, etc. to other customers. It’s kind of selfish to just expect the waiter/waitress to take the extra time to split the checks for you. I like to split checks sometimes too, but not a big deal if they can’t/won’t do it. Some of the comments on this post are entitled. Like “I’m here with all my disposable income and you’re a waiter, that’s your job so do whatever I expect of you.” Sheesh, I’d hate it if someone treated me like that in my job.

    • This was a reply to Justin’s comment, which I guess was deleted…

    • This is by far the worst part about waiting tables/tending bar: dealing with complete and utter glassbowls. Thankfully most folks aren’t like that though.

    • justinbc

      I think there’s a very distinguishable line between “whatever I expect of you” and something that’s clearly part of the job description like handling bill payment.

  • paid in tips. Time suck equals less tables served and less tips. Same reason cabs don’t like to take people North of Florida–time wasted on the way back equals less tips.

  • maxwell smart

    So – all this really sounds like it does is that it allows people to leave when they are finished eating, drinking without having to wait for a bill… essentially the Uber of dining (auto-billed at completion of transaction). As for the bill splitting, I am assuming then it would require everyone in the party to be using the app?

  • Something I found cool with the app is that it can tell you if bar is packed or dead.

  • I’ve seen some nice evenings take a turn for the worse when it comes time to pay the bill. I have a certain group of friends, who always insist on itemizing the bill and it never fails that come time to settle the bill, they conveniently – after a few drinks – forget how much they consumed. It gets petty and very unattractive. Needless to say that I limit the time spent with them, and it’s the only time I discreetly ask for a separate check while dining as a group. It’s amazing how people can behave when it comes to money.

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