Imagine never having to wait for the bill again. Just eat and leave. Kinda like "dine and dash" without breaking the law. Trust me, it does feel weird at first - just getting up and leaving without physically taking your out wallet and paying.
What I'm talking about is Tab (Twitter: @tabpayments, Facebook: Tab), a mobile payments app for dining. Whenever you're ready to leave after your meal, you essentially do just that: Leave. You will never have to hunt down your server, wait for him / her to bring you the bill, then wait again for the wireless terminal. The Tab app also lets you split bills with friends, which means you will never have to wait for each person to pay (this is extremely tedious when you're dining out with 4+ people and everybody is paying separately) Again, the key point is no more waiting. Time is precious, folks.
To get started with Tab, all you have to do is download the app on iTunes or Google Play, create a profile, and register your credit card information (Tab uses AES-256 encryption). You can even set your default tip % amount in the app. Once you arrive at the restaurant, check-in and input whether you're splitting the bill with other diners or plan on covering the entire bill.
When your server comes over remember to tell him / her that you'll be paying with Tab - and once that's done you are all set. Tab will email you a receipt after your meal.
I was invited by the Tab payments team to try their app at Cafe Bar Pasta (Twitter: @CAFEBARPASTA, Facebook: Cafe Bar Pasta). I was offered a $30 Tab credit for this dinner.
Once I sat down, I opened Tab on my phone to check-in and create a new tab.
After I placed my order I informed my server that I'll be paying with Tab.
OCTOPUS & BONE MARROW ($15)
Chilled & marinated with balsamic, mint, basil, garlic, chili, served with chicken liver marrow stuffed bone
The velvety texture of blended chicken liver and bone marrow was superb. I also love how this creamy offal concoction was piped back into the bone. I wasn't a fan of the chilled octopus; it lacked flavour and was somewhat rubbery.
CBP’S CARBONARA ($18)
Warm pasta, golden with a rich eggy sauce and peppered with glistening bits of cured pork, this was my favourite dish of the evening. I'm a sucker for carbonara and always will be.
Five spiced-duck egg pasta, duck confit, sauteed duck heart, seared foie gras, crispy duck skin
I'm also a sucker for thick pastas. If I see bucatini on the menu I'll most likely order it. I enjoyed all the elements on the plate, the pasta and the duck four-ways were prepared and cooked perfectly. However, I was longing for sauce 'cause the dish became a bit dry after awhile.
We didn't feel like dessert so when we were ready to leave, we got up from the table and left (I seriously had doubts whether or not this was okay 'cause like how I mentioned before, it felt really strange to just leave.) A receipt was emailed to me during my walk back to the car:
Tab is pretty neat. I love the fact that I don't have to wait for the bill. The app also makes splitting the bill so easy. And if you ever forget your wallet at home you can still get yourself fed (assuming you have your phone with you!)
One downfall with Tab is that your receipt is not itemized: it only shows "meal", "tax", "tip" and "total". Unless you make a mental note of what you ordered and how much each item was, you have no way to check whether you were charged correctly (mistakes often happen such as getting charged for the wrong dish, getting charged for an item twice, or getting charged for something you didn't order, etc.) If you want to see your bill in detail, you would have to ask your server for a copy before you leave...which means you have to wait. I spoke to the Tab team about this issue and not surprisingly, this is the one feature that most people ask for. The reason why users can't see what they ordered within Tab is because the POS technology in most restaurants in Canada doesn't support that feature. But rest assure that Tab is hoping to eventually get that fixed and sorted out.