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OpenTable for iPhone to begin testing mobile payments


OpenTable is already the most popular restaurant-reservation system in the world, and now the company is planning a new twist -- mobile payments for your meals from its namesake app (free).

Matthew Roberts, chief executive of OpenTable, told the New York Times' Brian X. Chen that the payment process will be straightforward and is currently in testing. Once a meal is completed, a diner would open the app, review the check, add a tip and then approve the payment.

For restaurants, the mobile payment service would be a boon, as it provides another reason for diners to use the app and come to the restaurant. OpenTable won't take a cut of the transaction, although they already charge restaurants for reservations made through the service in addition to an equipment service charge.

The company's pilot program is being tested in 20 restaurants, and there are some kinks to work out. For example, paying with an app means that a diner may just get up and leave, in which case the waiter might think the diner is skipping the check. OpenTable is looking at ways to notify the restaurant workers so they don't go chasing diners out of a building.

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