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HBS Alumni's App Allows Customers to Pay Restaurant Bills Through Their Smartphones

The Harvard Innovation Lab helped HBS alumni create a new app that will help customers split the restaurant bill.
The Harvard Innovation Lab helped HBS alumni create a new app that will help customers split the restaurant bill.
By Jiwon Joung and Gabrielle M. Williams, Contributing Writers

Harvard Business School alumni have created a mobile website that seeks to streamline the often difficult task of splitting a restaurant bill.

The startup, called SplitNGo, was developed at the Harvard Innovation Lab as part of its Venture Incubation Program. Restaurants using the service provide a link to the website, on which customers can pay with credit cards directly on their smartphones.

SplitNGo eases dividing up a bill among a group without the need for complicated calculations, according to co-founder Andres Sarmiento. Once the payment is made on the website, the waiter is notified.

“With SplitNGo, you can split your bill among your friends,” Sarmiento said. “You can do it all at the same time. It just takes a few clicks.”

The Harvard Innovation Lab helped HBS alumni create a new app that will help customers split the restaurant bill.
The Harvard Innovation Lab helped HBS alumni create a new app that will help customers split the restaurant bill. By Y. Kit Wu

According to co-founder Steve Gorodetskiy, SplitNGo creates a more secure bill-paying system.

“It’s actually more risky to pay the waiter than to pay using SplitNGo,” Gorodetskiy said. “The waiter takes your credit card and disappears. You don’t know what they are doing.”

SplitNGo adopts a more European style of transaction, Gorodetskiy explained.

“In Europe, they bring the payment piece to the table,” he said. “The card never leaves your hand.”

The service will especially benefit restaurants during peak hours of the day by speeding up the flow of customers, Sarmiento said.

“When the restaurant is full and more people are coming, they’re just turning them away. So, by using SplitNGo, restaurants can turn their tables faster without damaging the experience for the customer.”

Christopher C. Muller, a professor at Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration and advisor to the co-founders of SplitNGo, called the product a “win-win-win” for customers, restaurants, and waiters.

“Technology like this can be very impactful to the restaurant industry,” Muller said. Customers benefit from having a seamless restaurant experience, restaurants enjoy increased efficiency, and the waitstaff has more time to serve customers instead of working through the payment process, he said.

One Harvard Square restaurant, Grendel’s Den, has begun offering customers the option of using SplitNGo when paying. Placards on tables at the restaurant direct customers to use the mobile website.

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Harvard Business SchoolAlumniTechnologySquare Business