With Dash, New York City restaurants are about to get a much-needed kick in the app.

The app, which lets users pay for bar tabs and restaurant bills with their smartphones, represents a future of mobile payments that, while long promised, has yet to arrive for most people.


Above: Dash lets you view your bill in real-time, preventing end-of-the-night surprises.

Dash CEO Jeff McGregor says that part of the problem is inertia. Most bar and restaurant owners, even those in progressive cities like New York, are pretty sluggish, tech-wise. More, mobile payment apps also face hurdles when it comes to existing point-of-sale systems, which aren’t always easy to integrate into.

“In general, it takes some time for venue owners to catch up to consumer demand,” McGregor told VentureBeat.

Dash’s fifty early partner venues, in contrast, see things differently, and are the types of places that are constantly looking for ways to improve efficiency where every they can. And few things are as inefficient as waiting to close out a bar tab at 4AM in New York City.

But Dash, which has been in private beta for a few months now, is more than just payments. With the app uses can also split the full cost of meals among multiple people.

Dash, in other words, solves real pain points for people on both side of the bar. And it’s that reality that McGregor hopes will drive adoption for both consumers and venue owners down the line. (It’s already attracted investor attention: Dash is fueled by $700,000 in venture funding.)

Right, now, though, the company is taking things slowly. Dash is only available in a handful of NYC venues, though that number should climb steadily upwards over time. City-wise, the app is solely a New York City affair, with cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, Austin, and Miami planned for the near-future.

Another big limitation? Dash is iOS-only right now, though McGregor says an Android app is a few months away.