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Summary:

Starting today, diners at all 370 of the U.K.’s Pizza Express restaurants will be able to use the chain’s iPhone app to pay for their meals at the table via PayPal in “less than a minute.” No wait-staff intervention needed.

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We all crave a good meal with friends at the local pizzeria now and then. But after devouring a couple of meat lover specials, every minute spent waving a hand in the air miming “check please,”— let alone waiting for a server to take for your credit card, swipe it, and bring it back—can seem like an eternity.

Customers of a British restaurant chain with iPhones in their pockets and a registered PayPal account need never suffer the interminable wait again. Starting today, diners at all 370 Pizza Express restaurants will be able to use the chain’s iPhone app to pay for their meals at the table via PayPal in “less than a minute.” No wait-staff intervention needed.

Here’s how PayPal describes it:

Whip out your iPhone, tap in the code on the Pizza Express app, checkout with PayPal and walk out the door. Easy as that! You can even add a tip and redeem voucher codes. You don’t have to go to the counter or wait for the waiter to run your credit card.

As PayPal battles with competitors like Square for dominance in the mobile payment field, the company has been pushing its code  so developers can easily incorporate PayPal into their apps. While other food vendors are using the service, Pizza Express is the first restaurant chain to integrate PayPal Mobile into its platform and represents one of the largest PayPal integrations to date.

PayPal isn’t the only company going after the food service industry. Square is also aggressively courting restaurants with its new app-based payment system that lets customers pay from their mobile phones with credit cards, but not PayPal.

On the hardware side of the spectrum, startups like E La carte are teaming up with restaurants to offer tablets on tables that offer the ability to pay at the table as well as play games and order food.

With mobile payments still in its infancy, it will take a while before a winning platform can be crowned. But one thing is clear. Regardless of which platform wins the restaurant war, waiters of the future will likely have a lot more time on their hands. If they have jobs at all.

  1. Well firstly loved the humor in the blog!
    Yes, bill payments with a smartphones are picking up in the recent times. The pizza express in UK has developed the app to facilitate the bill payments at any chosen time of the customer. This app will be sharply appreciated by the people who have wheels tied to their feet and parents with restless kids to attend to! And with the waiters not having the jobs, I was wondering about the tips they expect!

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  2. PE customer Friday, June 17, 2011

    What a poorly reported story. If you’d bothered to research this, you’d know that you do in fact have to deal with the waiting staff in order to get the physical bill. You then use a code from the printed bill to pay via the app.

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  3. I’m wondering how it works in the real world ie how does the waiter know that you have paid your bill? Do you show him your iphone as proof, Is there a digital receipt, does it come up on their till, do you have to wait whilst they marry them up?

    Just getting up and leaving could have your waiter practice that ‘rear naked choke move he’s seen on UFC because he doesn’t believe you’ve paid!

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