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Dining out with friends is usually a pleasant experience — until the check comes. A startup called Foodivide just released a mobile app that makes it easier to settle restaurant tabs by providing bill-splitting tools.
Let’s say four people partook in a long leisurely meal together, with bottles of wine, shared appetizers, entrees, and a dessert or two for the table. One person only drank water, two people ordered steaks that out-cost the vegetarian options, and the diner on a diet abstained from chocolate cake.
Upon opening the app, every eater is given a plate icon to “drag and drop” the items they consumed. If three people shared a dish, a tap of the screen divides that amount three ways and then the smaller number can be dropped into the individual plates. Once everything is divvied up, each person has a final tally.
“My friends and I love going out to eat, but splitting a bill with a group of friends can be such a pain,” said founder Daniel Shein. “I wanted to create an app that would get this part over with as quickly as possible.”
According to a census study, over 45 million Americans eat out at least once a week and spend an average of $3,000 a year at restaurants.
Shein’s goal with Foodivide isn’t just to help friends divvy up bills. His ultimate vision is to use data collected through the app to provide greater insight into people’s eating habits. By keeping a log of food consumption and spending patterns, users will be able to see where their money goes.
“As soon as you start inputting, you create a history and a profile,” he said. “I want to present users with an interface for them to see ‘holy cow, I spent $1,000 on burgers and I don’t even like them that much’.
In the next iteration of the app, Shein is aiming for an integration with FourSquare, so rather than manually inputting item costs, diners can simply select the items from menus. This will also give restaurants insights about who their greatest customers are.
Dozens of food apps already exist, although most of them target other parts of the eating experience. GrubWithUs is a social networking centered around dining, Foodspotting focuses on sharing images of delicious dishes, and Zagat and UrbanSpoon offer recommendations and reviews. A few apps deal with paying the bill, like Tabbedout and Tipulator, but this is the first we’ve heard of that deals specifically with group dining scenarios.
Foodivide is the latest project of Shein, who has been developing mobile apps since 2005. He has founded a number of startups, created multiple popular apps like Lookator and SignMeOut, and was a finalist in last year’s Kind of Code contest.