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OpenTable leverages mobile payments to serve up quicker dining

Online and mobile reservation service OpenTable has announced the availability of mobile payments, currently accessible in the New York, San Francisco and Washington metropolitan areas.

Pay with OpenTable will allow guests to receive quick payment experiences, and will eliminate the need to carry extra credit cards or cash. Diners can simply add a credit card to the OpenTable iPhone application and pay the check with a few taps.

“We believe we have a unique and exciting opportunity to fundamentally transform the dining experience at every touch point, much as we transformed the process of booking a reservation,” said Tiffany Fox, senior director of corporate communications at OpenTable, San Francisco, CA. “We think of this as the expansion of OpenTable from a transaction company to an experiences company.

“The convenience and benefits that our diners and restaurant customers enjoy today are just the beginning of the value we can deliver as a company focused more broadly on the experience of dining out. Payments are a great example of this.”

Streamlined experience
OpenTable first announced its integration with Apple Pay back in September, but has not provided the service to its customers until now. Users do not have to download a separate app, enter any codes or scan any barcodes.

Pay with OpenTable allows diners to view and pay the check within the OpenTable app. The brand hopes it will minimize wait times at busy restaurants and ease some of the burden for restaurant servers.

Consumers will also be able to focus more on the experience of dining out, rather than worry about logistics. Customers will not be subjected to any fees from OpenTable or the restaurant for using the payment platform.

Pay with OpenTable is now available in 20 Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland eateries. The complete list of participating restaurants can be found at

The service is also available in New York and San Francisco. Currently, the app only functions on iOS, with plans for an Android version expected to come soon.

Mobile payments spread
Mobile payments are increasingly on the rise, due to the utmost convenience they provide to consumers. In a video clip advertisement for Pay with OpenTable titled “Life’s too short to wait for the check,” a variety of dining scenarios that benefit from quick checkout are shown.

In one scene, a couple feeling awkward on a first date makes up excuses to leave while one of them quickly pays via the app, allowing them to make a quick exit. In another, a mother dealing with an impatient child wanting to leave quickly swipes through the app and pays the check, eliminating extra time spent at the restaurant.

“Seemingly overnight, payments has become the ‘it’ thing to do in Silicon Valley,” said Nathalie Reinelt, industry analyst at Aite Group, Phoenix, AZ. “I do expect nearly every commerce app to have some element of mobile payment offering embedded once any of the existing platforms can actually report respectable adoption rates.”

The growing omnipresence of mobile payments may also result in lower use of physical credit cards.

“By design, if consumers use mobile payments, physical usage of payment cards will decline,” Ms. Reinelt said. “However, since the payment cards are the funding source for nearly all of the mobile payment platforms, it’s not as traumatic to the payments industry as some would like everyone to believe.

“About the only impact it will have on transaction fees, since the only card-present mobile transactions are NFC based mobile payments,” she said. “So, either mobile payment apps will have to use reloadable gift cards to avoid paying higher aggregated transaction fees (e.g. Starbucks) or they will have to factor the increased fees into their revenue model.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York