Here’s more #tech for your nightlife.
HouseTab, which publicly launched last week, changes the way users pay for food and drinks at restaurants and bars. From buying drinks for nearby strangers to sending friends meals from halfway across the world, the app has so many functions, it’s hard to keep track of them all.
Firstly, the app stores your credit card information, allowing you to open your tab with the app itself and pay on your phone at your own convenience without having to chase down a server or bartender.
“Last week, I was meeting someone at a place on our network called Local West, and this guy was from Long Island and was suddenly like ‘I gotta get out of here.’ He left and paid it on the train,” Andrew Tauber, CEO of HouseTab, told Betabeat.
There are certainly other systems out there that allow people to pay on their phones, but what sets HouseTab apart is the social angle behind it.
“We’re trying to take advantage of the fact that mobile phone engagement is driven by social engagement,” Mr. Tauber said.
With HouseTab, you have a list of “buddies” with whom you can virtually exchange drinks and food items whether you’re both at the bar or restaurant or not.
It’s perfect for when you can’t make it out, or for when you’re just running late and want to send a beer to say you’re on your way. Just send your treat, and your friend can redeem it anytime within 30 days.
“Buddies can send a drink, a prime rib, or a salad at any point during the day,” Mr. Tauber said. He also noted that users don’t have to be remotely close to the bar to send their friends drinks. “You can be in LA and I could be in Alaska,” he said.
If you are at the bar and ready to mingle, you can see other users who are checked in at the same location on HouseTab, and send them drinks to start a conversation. The app even has a messaging feature, although we hope you’d get up and attempt your pickup line aloud rather than send a flirty emoji.
The HouseTab system is currently implemented at 18 bars and restaurants around NYC, 16 of which are in Manhattan. Among them are The Royal in Union Square, The Bubble Lounge in Tribeca, Rouge Cannon in SoHo, Automatic Slims on the west side and Pergola on 28th street among others.
HouseTab claims that merchants love how the app cuts down on checkout time and brings in new customers. They also like that the system enables them to market directly to customers. With the app, the business can track how long it’s been since a customer has checked in and send them a drink to bring them back.
Sure, HouseTab has a lot of features, but at least they seem more useful than what Tinder’s been coming up with lately.