Dash turns dining out into a Seamless experience

A night out a bar or restaurant in a city like New York usually ends in frustration—flagging down a server or bartender to get the check or close your tab can take an excruciatingly long time, plus you still have a long train or cab ride ahead of you. And the temperatures are dropping outside. It’s almost more than one person can take. Really.

Dash is a new iOS app that wants to give you the ease of Seamless delivery without taking the fun out of a night on the town. It works almost exactly the way Seamless does: Store your credit card information in the app, and when you eat or drink at a venue that uses Dash, you can settle your bill straight from the app—tip calculations and all.

After you check in to a venue on Dash, let the server/bartender do the work. All you have to do is pay at the end of the night.

Cofounder Jeff McGregor worked closely with restaurateurs to make sure the app wasn’t a job-killer. Dash doesn’t let you place orders or bypass personal interaction the way Seamless does: your server or bartender inputs your order, but then you close out at any time. You don’t have to wait for an inattentive waiter to bring you your check or a busy bartender to close out your tab—and hand back your credit card—when you want to go home.

“Whatever we can do to make sure that a restaurant doesn’t change how it typically works is very important,” McGregor said. “They were very turned off by mobile ordering, cutting out the primary job of the wait staff.”

Naturally.

All you have to do is check in to a venue on Dash, tell your server you'll be using the app to pay, then open the app again at the end of the night to OK the bill and add a tip.

The company has already signed on more than 25 venues in New York City for its Tuesday launch, including one of the city’s busiest brunch spots, Clinton Street Baking Co. (Blueberry pancakes. Just do it.)

“Clinton Street is a great example,” McGregor said. “Anything they can do to turn tables more quickly [is good].”

There are obviously plenty of places that don't use Dash, but users can send those requests to the company, which will then contact the venue to sign them up.

Unlike most apps around these days, Dash already has money-making potential. The startup sets bars and restaurants up to use the app for free, and the first 25 tabs each month are free. After that, venues fall into pricing tiers based on how many tabs they close on Dash every month. More tabs will cost more, but Dash is betting that the time they save busy New York establishments will be a big selling point.

McGregor is already focused on the next version of the app, which will be released by the end of the year. Dash will integrate bill-splitting and discounts to make the app more of a draw for customers. The app also has plans beyond New York: San Francisco, Las Vegas, Chicago, and Miami are next in line for Dash’s expansion.

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