Smartphone Apps Hope To Clear Up Restaurant Check

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Google has decided that, in an effort to make all our lives a little easier, to handle one of the biggest problems facing America. They’ve already created self-driving cars, glasses that can show your email, and the default search engine for most of America. What else could they create?

Google employees have applied for a patent for a process that effectively splits checks, Eater reports. Users indicate how much each party member ordered in the meal (or, if over a series of meals, such as on vacation, include which party members are involved on every meal), and the application decides how much everyone owes.

It’s unclear what Google may do with the concept, but would likely include functionality in Google’s search algorithm, or even a standalone app (it’s not absurd to imagine this being baked into Google’s own operating system, Android, or in their Google Glass), but could possibly solve the problems consumers have when the check arrives.

Maybe the check should never actually arrive at all. That’s what Cover hopes to do with their new app. At this point, it’s only available for 16 restaurants in New York City. When groups come into the restaurant, they log in as a party and order as usual. When it’s time to leave, the application automatically charges the members of the group their requisite amount to their credit cards they have logged in.

Venture Beat reports that the application has received $1.5 million in a round of seed funding. Restaurants partner with Cover and integrate their services into the order and billing system. Cover initially paired with Michelin-star rated restaurants, avoiding similar programs trappings by starting with bars and takeout restaurants, and additions such as coupons or advertisements.

Cover also splits the bill evenly, while Google’s process splits the bill per person according to their items. Signing up and setting up restaurants has been the largest problem for Cover, as it takes time to revamp everyone’s payment system.

Both of these programs hope to clear the time between finishing the meal and leaving the restaurant, allowing customers to get about their business. Have you found that the checkout process has been difficult for your restaurant?

Or are both these projects and programs unnecessary? Any staff member with a calculator could possibly split a bill for the customers by seating, or just ring up each seat as a different bill. It’s not an impossible task, and this just may be akin to trying to figure out an anti-gravity pen to write with in space when a pencil would work just as fine.

In America, the concept of mobile paying is still in its infancy; while Apple has added thumbprint authorization to their iPhones with the iPhone 5S, they haven’t tied it to a mobile payment system, and other phones that haven’t have not accepted widespread usage yet. Japan has had it for a while, even allowing customers to pay for drinks at vending machines with their phone, but the concept hasn’t been fully embraced by America yet. Do you see you and your restaurant hopping on this trend?