Restaurants want to focus on making good food and pleasing customers. But given rapid changes in the payments industry, owners must also now pay attention to new technologies that are changing how patrons can pay for their meals.
On that front, TableSafe wants to help. The Seattle-area startup just raised another $4.5 million to help fuel development of its restaurant payments technology and RAIL bill-paying device. The Series C round pushes total funding close to $15 million for the five-year-old company. Investors were not disclosed.
Led by former Tamarac and Union-Street CEO Joe Snell, TableSafe — which changed its name from ViableWare last year — has built a hand-held device used in restaurants to streamline the bill paying process, making it a faster and more secure experience.
The device allows customers to self-swipe credit card information at the table, and do things such as easily calculate how bills should be split and email receipts directly to themselves. In addition to those features, the RAIL device allows restaurants to connect with restaurant patrons in new ways, offering discounts for repeat guests, digitally collecting comment card information or offering speciality products such as T-shirts or bottled sauces.
The biggest cost saving, however, is likely around time, since waiters typically need to run between tables and point-of-sale systems. With the RAIL, the transaction is completed right at the table by the customer. Since the waiter never touches the credit card, TableSafe says that fraud is dramatically reduced within restaurants.
Snell told GeekWire on Monday that the new funding will be used for its upgraded RAIL hardware, which now has a point-to-point encryption mag strip reader and an EMV (Europay, Mastercard, and Visa) certified chip reader, along with NFC and scanner technology.
Snell noted that interest in TableSafe, which now employs 26 at its Kirkland office, has grown “tremendously” in recent months with the EMV deadline coming up in October that mandates U.S. restaurants to meet certain credit card payment standards. Increased security awareness, risk of data breaches, and new technologies like Apple Pay have also meant more business for TableSafe’s products.
“TableSafe allows full-service restaurants to focus on their core competencies, and not worry about payment security or whether their guest wants to pay using Apple Pay, PayPal, cash, credit or whatever they may choose,” Snell said. “We think the recent changes to our technology and our timing in the marketplace have put us in a good position moving forward.”