Omar Villafranca, NBCDFW.com
A handful of North Texas restaurants are letting patrons pay their bill with their smart phone.
With TabbedOut, customers don't have to wait for slow servers to run their tab. The app even helps calculate a tip.
Here's how it works: A user downloads the free app to their iPhone or Droid and assigns a credit or debit card. If a restaurant supports TabbedOut, the server puts the order into their system under a special button on their point-of-service system. The customers can see what they've ordered, and they just have to push a button when they're ready to pay. The receipts are digital.
A Blackberry version of the app, which was developed in Austin, is coming soon.
Servers said they like the app because it includes a minimum tip for them based on the purchase price. It also gives the customer the option of raising the tip based on service.
The app is free to download, but charges users 99 cents per transaction. To offset the cost, some restaurants are offering food and drink deals to TabbedOut users.
"We're going to start TabbedOut Tuesdays -- some gift specials to people that pretty much, after their first drink, they've already been paid back the 99 cents that it costs," said Dallas Hale, co-owner of The Back 9.
The Back 9 is one of the five North Texas establishments using the app.
Rick Orr, the application's co-designer, said more North Texas restaurants are sure to sign up. He said merchants are not charged a fee to use the app, and users' first three transaction fees are free.
Orr said he got the idea for the TabbedOut after he waited 53 minutes in 2002 for a restaurant server to swipe his credit card after he had handed it to her.