Remember our 10 worst people in NYC restaurants? Three of them were beasts unleashed when time comes to pay the check. So we’re eagerly watching Cover, a brand new app that’s built to fix the irritating process of taking care of your tab.
The origins of Cover, a mobile app that streamlines paying for your meal so that you never have to hand over your credit card–or wait for a check–when you’re dining out, are straightforward: “Restaurant payment is one of the worst customer experiences,” co-founder Mark Egerman says emphatically. “We saw the chance to improve this.”
And thanks to technology brands gone before it, fixing the problem was fairly simple: “What made it possible was that Uber had come up with this great thing” that allows people to call and take cars without physically exchanging money, says Egerman’s business partner Andrew Cove. “We saw this pain point that we have every day, and we thought, this is a great way to look at this.”
Egerman says he also worked as a federal regulator in mobile payment, which made him wonder why this type of technology hasn’t really taken off here in the U.S. “Using credit card is not better,” he says. ” We had a chance to improve this.”
The guys got to work developing their platform, which is designed to be touched as little as possible when you’re inside a restaurant. When you arrive, you take out the app, tap the restaurant your at, and start a new table or join a friend’s table. You tell your server you’re paying with Cover, Cove says, and that’s it–you don’t have to touch the app again. At the end of the meal, the restaurant sends the bill to Cover, which will charge the attached credit card, including the user’s default tip, unless the user changes what they’d like to leave for a tip sometime during the meal. If you dined with a group, it’ll also split the check–although the guys say they don’t yet have the technology to itemize a receipt.
The guys will roll out Cover here in NYC first, and they’ve been beta testing with two dozen restaurants including Charlie Bird, Estela, and Carbone. “We’re just New York for now because it’s the leading restaurant market in the country, and we’re focusing on building density,” says Egerman.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 1, 2013