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Work Lunch Panic Relief: Reserve App Adds Check-Splitting

Another noble effort to end the cold sweat-inducing fear of “check math.”

Reserve is an app that launched in Fall 2014 as a “Seamless for inside restaurants” that let users reserve tables and pay for their meals via a smartphone app. Today, they’re announcing a new feature added by popular request–the ability to easily split a check.

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It works like this: Pick people from your phone’s contact list who have Reserve and the app will text to ask if they want in on splitting the bill. If one person accepts, the bill is split 50/50; two people accept, 33/33/33; and so on. Users split the whole bill, including tax, tip, and the $5 concierge fee Reserve takes for sparing you from math.


While splitting the bill evenly might annoy those who order the inexpensive salad while their friends order steak, the even split is the most elegant solution, Reserve says in a Medium post. In its quest to find the best check-splitting method, Reserve found that the even split also caused the least stress–which makes sense, since quibbling over who owes what is a terrible way to end a meal. It’s worse if someone ends up underpaying.

Reserve is currently live in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, and Chicago. Restaurants have to sign up for Reserve for patrons to be able to use the app, and waiters must use an iPad loaded up with Reserve’s proprietary server app. Despite these potential hindrances, Reserve cofounder Greg Hong told Fast Company that customers using the app speed up table flow as bills are automatically charged and last-minute cancellations are cut down because users who reserve a table but don’t show up are charged a $25 fee.

Reserve entered a restaurant app marketplace already crowded with reservation king OpenTable, food ordering titans Seamless, GrubHub and Eat24, and similar pay-by-app rival Cover. But as we pointed out back in January, Reserve’s secret weapon is its pedigree as the first launch from Expa, an incubator headed by Uber cofounder Garrett Camp and Foursquare cofounder Naveen Selvadurai. Reserve closed a $15 million series A investment round back in February.

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