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New York bars, restaurants leverage iBeacon to scale mobile payments

New York bar The Royal is one of several restaurants that are testing a new mobile payment application that drives consumers into venues through location-based offers.

The Royal is using the mobile app Dash as a payment option for consumers to set up tabs and checkout on their own. With the number of mobile payment apps growing for consumers, Bluetooth Low Energy and a back-end CRM system are two of the ways that the app is aiming to distinguish itself from competitors.

“I’m leveraging it because I do believe that this is going to be something that continues to grow, and I think that for the restaurant and bar business, this type of payment is going to be really relevant in the next few years,” said Daniel Rieger, partner at The Royal, New York.

How it works
Consumers can download Dash for free from Apple’s App Store to see where they can use their mobile device to pay.

Once a consumer is at a participating bar or restaurant, they check-in and link a bank account to the app. They can then see their tab in real-time, add tips and checkout by themselves when they leave the restaurant.

The bill is then applied to a consumer’s bank statement.

The app also lets consumers split bills between friends and family members.

The Royal has been using the Dash app for five or six months, and usage has specifically jumped over the past few months.

In addition to streamlining the payment process, the mobile payment app also cuts down the number of patrons who leave their credit cards or IDs at the bar.

To promote the app, The Royal plans to place stickers in the front windows.

Additionally, The Royal has run cross promotions that reward consumers for checking in with the app through social media.

Other New York restaurants and bars accepting Dash include Via Tribunali, Village Lantern, City Crab and Le Cirque.

The Royal

Heating up mobile payments
The mobile payment space is heating up for restaurants, and Dash has a number of competitors including TabbedOut and MyCheck that are also vying for a piece of the consumer-facing payment space.

As more payment apps roll out, these companies are challenged to offer additional incentives and offers besides payments to lure in new users and retain existing consumers.

One of the ways that Dash is aiming to differentiate itself is with a new dashboard iOS app that merchants already accepting Dash can use to better understand consumers.

The new feature leverages Bluetooth Low Energy to trigger push notifications when a consumer is nearby to a restaurant that offers Dash as a payment method.

IBeacon has been beta tested by participating restaurants up until now and will be fully rolled out by the end of the month, according to Gennady Spirin, cofounder/chief operating officer at Dash, New York.

In theory, the push notifications can then be tailored by restaurants with specific messages to drive in-store traffic.

Additionally, the app links directly with the point-of-sale system and gives restaurant owners information on consumers including date of birth and how frequently they have been to the restaurant.

In The Royal, these mobile point-of-sale systems are positioned to face towards the crowd with a message that promotes Dash.

Restaurant owners can also see which items consumers are ordering the most.

Another point of differentiation with the Dash app is that consumers can start a tab at any point during their meal whereas other apps require that consumers set up the mobile app before ordering.

“One of the things that we were excited about from the start is that we wanted to make sure the experience was excellent on both sides of the bar for both consumers and the wait staff,” Mr. Spirin said.

“For this to work, we needed to integrate seamlessly with the wait staff at restaurants,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York