Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Friday's new app a unique consumer service

Technology keeps changing the restaurant scene. Such things as making reservations, viewing menus, and commenting on your dining experience have become commonplace.

Now you can track your spending as you dine and pay your bill via a smartphone app.

The introduction of "My Friday's Tab" makes T.G.I. Friday's the first casual-dining chain to offer such a service. It is available via free download from the Apple App Store or the Android App Market. It already is in use in about one-third of the chains 900-plus restaurants, and so far has had 70,000 downloads.

The process is expected to help make paying the bar or table bills more quickly, as well as allowing customers to keep track of their spending as they go.

It's rather simple. Once you sign up for "My Friday's Tab," you get a five-digit number. That is given to the Friday's server any time you visit. You then can track what you've ordered, plus cost, taxes, etc., and then pay electronically. You get an e-mailed receipt.

One thing that came to mind is whether this makes a difference in tipping, since the servers are taken out of part of the equation.

Not to worry, says Trey Hall, Friday's chief marketing officer.

"The recommended amount is 18%, but we’re finding the average tip amount is like 21%. It’s great for the servers."

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