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Instant Bill Pay and Phone Charging: The New Trend in Restaurants

Tech start-up Entercharge plans to roll out a new tabletop phone-charging and bill pay system to 30 Los Angeles-area restaurants this spring.

The system has been in a pilot testing stage for the last year at Los Angeles jucie bar Green Grotto, after winning the “Mastercard Challenge” award at 2014’s Money 20/20 conference. The technology works well and has been quite popular, According to Messiah Jacobs, the company’s co founder and COO in charge of product development.

“The need is there. We have received very positive Yelp reviews on our product. People go to Green Grotto for the great smoothies and also because they know they can charge their phones.”

Currently, Entercharge stations function solely as phone chargers. However, starting this spring a new version will utilize iBeacon and Bluetooth to enable customers to pay their bill as soon as they’re ready, and integrate coupons on their smart phones. In addition, the kiosk will recognize returning diners’ phones and create a “personalized dining experience.”

Sholi Goodman, an experienced restaurateur and one of Entercharge’s angel investors, said, “I can see the future of Entercharge and the future is enormous and bright: customers can finally put down their phones with confidence and recharge. Restaurants can ultimately focus on the best consumer experience for their guests, and the entire dining and hospitality experience can be elevated across the industry as a whole. There’s no schlepping the bill to the table, no impatient customers waiting to leave; every angle of the industry can be enhanced for all the parties involved. Entercharge will create a seamless dining experience. Customers love that!” Goodman is also joining the company’s board.

Entercharge is not the only player in this innovative new space; in summer 2015 Washington Reagan National Airport saw the opening of a new restaurant called “Page,” which features tablets at every seat. They allow busy travelers to order and pay for their meals seamlessly, as well as read news and travel updates as they eat. The countertop-style dining surface also features charger outlets, a valuable asset given the often limited quantity of power outlets at airports.

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