No more forgetting your credit card at the bar. Not if you have the mobile app Pay with Dash.
The app—free to download for both Apple iOS and Android—enables customers to pay for restaurant bills or bar tabs through the app without ever handing over their credit cards. Dash Software LLC launched in New York in February 2014, in Chicago in Q4 2014, and in Washington, D.C., in February. Dash CEO and founder Jeff McGregor declines to disclose exact figures, but at the end of January, the app had “in the mid-five figures” of active users. In that time, consumers were evenly split between Chicago and New York, showing a higher growth rate in the newer Chicago market.
To use the service, consumers download the app and create a profile, which includes saving their credit card information, setting a default tipping percent and uploading their pictures.
The app displays restaurants and bars that accept Dash payments, and shows consumers the distance to each location using a mobile device’s GPS. Once a consumer arrives at a Dash venue, he touches Check In on the app. Dash then shares his information with the restaurant’s point of sale system via a Dash POS integration, such as an iPad next to the current system. The iPad and the POS system talk to each other, so if a server enters an order for a Dash customer on the iPad, the POS system is updated with the order and vice versa. This way, servers can attribute orders they entered into the POS system to a Dash customer anytime throughout the visit without having to reenter anything.
“We only use the iPad to link the ticket. Once the ticket is linked, we enter in orders normally,” says Melissa Shary, general manager at Monk’s Pub in Chicago, which implemented Dash in July 2014.
At a bar, a Dash user first taps Check In on the app when he arrives. He can order drinks and tell the bartender he’s paying with Dash and his name, and the bartender can see his picture and name on the bar’s POS system. The bartender taps on the name and attributes the order to that consumer.
The customer can see how much the tab is throughout the night on the app and close out at any time. If customers forget to close out the app will automatically do to it once the phone is a certain distance away from the restaurant and charge the customer the default tip amount, 20%.
At a restaurant, diners view their bill and pay in the Dash app at the end of the meal. If it is a large group, Dash can split the bill among consumers, or some diners can pay with Dash and others can pay with cash or card. Dash also can itemized the receipt so diners can pay for specific items.
Shary says integrating Dash has been helpful for customers who need to close tabs quickly during lunch to head back to the office or after work to catch a train, and for its staff who don’t have to swipe credit cards and close out customers.
Customers who use Dash don’t have to flag down a server to close out, eliminating that step and increasing the speed of its staff to tend to other customers, Shary says. “It’s one less step for our servers and bartenders,” Shary says.
On average per month, Monk’s has had 58 customers pay with Dash, Shary says, with the number gradually increasing since the restaurant implemented the program in July 2014.
Fulton Market Kitchen, a restaurant in Chicago, began using Dash in October 2014. Managing partner at the restaurant Daniel Alonso estimates 4% of transactions come from Dash, and that percent is on the rise.
“You definitely cannot put a price on a guest having an upgraded and enhanced experience, and that’s definitely what Dash has done for us,” Alonso says. “I have spoken with a number of guests that heard about our restaurant through Dash, so bringing in new guests is also worth a lot to us.”
Dash charges restaurants a transaction percentage similar to what a credit card company charges, typically 2-3%, McGregor says. Aside from time and training, Shary says there was little cost to Monk’s to implement Dash, since Dash provided the iPad, she says.
Monk’s has experienced only a few hiccups with the platform, such as the restaurant’s POS system not syncing right away, but 95% of the time it works, Shary says. Fulton Market reported no problems.
95% of consumers who download the app make a transaction, and 50% who use Dash once use it again, McGregor says. 80% of Dash users use iOS and 20% Android, he says. To entice more consumers to sign up, Dash offers credit for friend referrals
70% of Dash’s clients are bars and the remaining 30% restaurants, McGregor says.
The app also gathers analytics so it can tell merchants their largest spenders on any day and send an e-mail or app push notification to offer those customers special deals.
Dash has partnered with the Uber app, which offers a taxi-like service, so while in the Dash app, consumers can schedule an Uber pickup from their location to bring them to the restaurant or bar they select. Also, since the Dash app connects with a business’ POS system, based on the number of transactions occurring at the business and comparing that number with the number of transactions at the same time the week prior, it can rate a restaurant as “quiet,” “relaxed,” “lively,” or “active” before a consumer makes a selection.
“We’re striving to be more than just a payments app,” McGregor says. “There is a lot of value that we can provide for restaurants and bars, from discovery to convenience.”
Follow mobile business journalist April Dahlquist, associate editor, mobile, at Mobile Strategies 360, @Mobile360April
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