A New York-founded app called Dash, launching in D.C. on March 16, lets you leave your wallet at home when you head to a bar or restaurant. Instead you can use your phone to pay and split a tab then leave without having to flag down a server or a bartender for the check. The app will launch in D.C. with a dozen participating businesses, including the Fainting Goat, Southern Hospitality, Capitol Capitol City Brewing Company, and Agua 301.
“Jumping into an Uber and riding home and being able to close your table after you leave is just the best feeling in the world,” says Dash co-founder Jeff McGregor.
Dash is by no means the first mobile payment app to launch in D.C. TabbedOut, one of Dash’s main competitors, launched in D.C. in 2012. More recently, OpenTable announced a new feature on its app that allows diners to pay for meals at certain restaurants where they’ve made reservations. Several fast-casual restaurants, including Sweetgreen and Cava Grill, also have their own private label apps as well.
McGregor says “casual, trendy-type venues” and high-volume bars are Dash’s sweet spot. One feature unique to Dash plugs into restaurants’ point-of-sales systems to determine how many tabs are open or how many tables are occupied. Using (but not sharing) this information, Dash tells users how busy the place is in real-time. So before you head out for the night, you can check to see if the vibe is “quiet,” “relaxed,” “active,” or “lively.”
“The larger business goal is that if people are choosing where they’re going to go eat or drink through Dash, then they’re more likely to make a payment with Dash,” McGregor says.
McGregor and co-founder Gennady Spirin first launched Dash in New York in November of 2013 and expanded to Chicago in 2013. New York has about 50 restaurants signed on so far, while Chicago has 30. McGregor hopes to bring on 50 in D.C. by the end of July. “We’re going to be focusing a lot in 2015 on growing density in the three markets that we’re in versus trying to launch a lot of new markets,” McGregor says. For now, below is a list of the places participating so far. A few more, including the Queen Vic and RedRocks on H Street NE, will be added in the coming weeks.
Irish Channel Restaurant & Pub
The Fainting Goat
Jake’s Boiler Room
Nick’s Riverside Grill
Johnny’s Half Shell
Kelly’s Irish Times Pub
Jake’s American Grille
Nellie’s Sports Bar
Capitol City Brewing Co.
Photo courtesy Dash