raildeviceIf you choose to dine at Ethan Stowell’s newest Seattle-based restaurants, Bar Cotto and Rione XIII, then you’ll likely encounter a unique way to pay for your grub.

The eateries are now using payment technology from Kirkland-based Viableware that allows guests to peruse a digital copy of the bill, calculate tips, split the bill, answer survey questions and then “self swipe” credit cards at the table. Customers use a stylus to sign the digital screen, and can choose to have a copy of the receipt printed off at the restaurant or emailed to their personal accounts.

It’s all made possible with the RAIL payment touchscreen interface, which mimics a traditional leather folder for restaurant bills. Viableware touts that this enables customers a more secure method of payment since the credit card never leaves the table. 

“By incorporating the RAIL devices into our service, our wait staff can spend more time attending to guests and less time at the POS,” owner Ethan Stowell said in a press release.  “Additionally, our guests can have the peace of mind that their card information will never be compromised.”

Viableware began testing its technology last year with restaurants like P.F. Chang’s, Anthony’s Restaurants, Dickie Brennan & Co. and Restaurants Unlimited.

CEO Joe Snell told us that he believes RAIL could transform the way people pay their restaurant bills.

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  • http://twitter.com/justingr Justin Graham

    I was just at Rione on Sunday night and got to use this for the first time. I love it for a couple of reasons

    1. I stay in possession of my credit card
    2. No paper. Receipt can be emailed
    3. Makes it easy to split checks in many different ways

    4. reduces payment time (no more drop off check–>take credit card–>come back with credit card and receipts)

  • Fjord Morrison

    Beware of dishonest waiters/hackers presenting diners with their own custom hardware/software “solution”.

  • Peter H

    As a geek I think this is great and can’t wait to use it and I wish it was everywhere.
    But where is the value to the restaurants? It seems like it saves one roundtrip for the server (get your card, come back with new receipt) — but at the expense of buying this hardware. Paper seems to work pretty well for them.
    How will this take off if the value prop to the restaurant is so weak?

  • abobot

    its about time!

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