We live in a time when we want things done fast. With the world at our fingertips thanks to mobile devices, we no longer have to waste time doing things like waiting for a busy waitresses to bring back the check, or even wait for the next passenger-free taxi to pass by on busy city streets.
Today, there are countless restaurant and bar apps available that allow users to book a reservation at their favorite hot spot, view their tabs in real time, and make a payment—all from the convenience of their smartphones.
While some of these apps try to set themselves apart by adding social networking features, this mobile payment app called Velocity lets users pay for their bar tab and arrange for Uber to take them home.
Velocity was founded by childhood friends Zia Yusuf and Alex Macdonald in 2014, with the goal to embark on the "Uberization" of millennials, who expect easy access to services on their mobile phones.
"Velocity is a service that is in the process of transforming the restaurant and nightlife experience for the global taste-maker in the world's great hospitality cities," co-founder and co-CEO Zia Yusuf told Tech Times. "We empower diners to discover, to reserve, to view and settle their bill instantly, as well as earn rewards—all in one app."
The mobile payment app allows users to discover the best restaurants, bars and clubs, which are personally curated for each users based on their social network. That means you will stay in-the-know about the latest restaurants worth trying and the best bars and clubs your friends recommend.
Download the Velocity app for free, and sign up using your email, name, and number. Start by choosing a venue you wish to check into, and tell your waiter you're using Velocity to be able to view your tab in real-time, and make a payment directly from your mobile device. Pay for the entire tab, or tap on friends to split the bill evenly, using the slider to pay a specific amount.
Users can add and edit payment methods through the app including Visa, MasterCard and American Express cards, and the company has already started to integrate Apple Pay into the platform.
Customers can also earn rewards from Velocity's network of prestigious partners. The more the app is used, customers are able to build a track record of spending that serves as a passport for priority access to prime-time reservations at all the establishments. Velocity allows restaurants to put their own loyalty programs in the app, so customers can join multiple loyalty programs at once in one place.
"Velocity empowers restaurants to turn the point of payment into a point of engagement as part of their own loyalty programs," Macdonald, co-founder and co-CEO, said in a press release. "Velocity makes dining out more personal and efficient for both the customer and restaurant, freeing up waiting staff to focus on attending to diners during service, increasing repeat guests and providing feedback from every customer. The results for our restaurant partners are transformative, with spend per head increasing by a double-digit percentage."
For example, Burger & Lobster (located in London and in the Flatiron District in New York City) will be one of the first establishments to launch a global loyalty rewards program, which would mean that customers would be treated with a degree of recognition no matter what location they visit in the world.
The app is currently available in over 300 venues in London—at places like Sketch and The Cuckoo Club—with the service expected to be live in venues across major cities globally within the next six months, including Los Angeles, San Franscico, Hong Kong and Dubai. The expansion will make Velocity an international app that will allow customers to use it whether they are at their favorite night spot in New York one week, then at their favorite eatery in Paris the next. Velocity is set to launch in New York within the next two months, featuring some well-known establishments such as Bowery Meat Company, Cosme, Sessanta Ristorante, Lure Fishbar, and The Serafina Group.
"We have been aggressively implementing the latest hospitality technologies to drive better yield," said John McDonald, owner of the Mercer Street Hospitality restaurant group said in a press release. "Our diners are spending more time at the table texting and photographing the dishes, and we need to make up for those slower turns. The Velocity users are the trendsetting, global jetsetters, which is an attractive audience for our restaurants, and most importantly, through mobile payments, we know that it's an audience that spends more than our average cover."
The average Velocity users spends 14 percent more on the average check, a good incentive for establishments looking to feature the app.
What makes this app stand out among the others is that it combines all the elements of organizing a night out, from booking a table, paying the tab, and setting up Uber to take you home. "We are an end-to-end experience for the customer, even to the point of allowing people to book their Uber between their restaurant and nightclub and back home again," Yusuf said.
Velocity deep-links into Uber so the user will be able to access the ride-sharing service from the app, but will be redirected to Uber's app. Once a meal is finished, users are asked to rate their experience with one tap, and they will also see the Uber option again, and see how far away your car is directly within the app. "There are some really exciting things we're able to do ultimately because of the fact that we know when you're moving onto desserts, we know how long the average meal takes at a particular restaurant," he said, "but what we're working [on is] to automatically have a car waiting outside for you at the end of your experience." This option only enhances that VIP experience for users.
Yusuf revealed that he once misplaced his wallet at his residence and did not have to replace his credit and debit cards for two weeks because he just ate at places that have partnered with Velocity, and took Uber cars without needing to have to his wallet on hand.
Customers can also Instagram photos of their meal or drinks from within the app, with Velocity providing the users the establishment's handles and hashtags.
While Yusuf couldn't reveal exact numbers, he says there are already tens of thousands of people using Velocity. The app is available on both iOS and Android. Velocity will launch in New York this fall.
Photo: Velocity | Facebook