Contactless payments startup Up n’ go surpasses 1,000,000 payments in restaurants nationwide

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Amid Coronavirus concerns, startup offers diners and restaurants easy-to-use contactless payment solution

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Now more than ever, as restaurants begin to reopen during the ongoing pandemic, contactless payment options are in demand to address customers’ and employees’ fears surrounding cash exchanges and indoor dining.

Up n’ go is leading the way into the future; a future of simple, secure, and germ-free payments in over a thousand restaurants across the country. Launched in 2018, Up n’ go is uniquely positioned during the Coronavirus pandemic as the first-in-class solution for restaurants and diners seeking an easy-to-implement and user-friendly contactless payment service. As a result, the San Diego start-up’s business began to soar in June of 2020 and is now used in over 1,000 restaurants in 49 states including well-known restaurant chains P.F. Chang’s, True Food Kitchen, Ocean Prime, and Din Tai Fung. This month, Up n’ go surpassed one million transactions.

In 2017, Touradj Barman, a tech-savvy MIT grad and San Diego native, along with Matt Hoyt, the owner of iconic San Diego restaurant, Starlite, and Toledo-based web developer Scott Webber, got together to solve a problem that has been frustrating restaurant patrons and the hospitality industry for years: the checkout process. Barman, Hoyt and Webber developed a mobile payment solution using Hoyt’s popular restaurant as a real-world environment to test and perfect their product. Starlite uses NCR Aloha as its restaurant point-of-sale (POS) system, which led Up n’ go to first becoming an official integration partner with Aloha, and more recently releasing a direct integration with Oracle’s Micros POS as well. The result is a highly efficient, user-friendly payment service that uses the technology found in almost everyone’s pocket.

Now, guests can scan a QR code on their check using their iPhone or Android camera, split their check among their party, and quickly pay on Up n’ go’s mobile site using Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, or any major credit card, and leave without waiting for their server to return. Restaurant guests don’t have to download an app, register for an account, or provide any personal information to use Up n’ go – they just point their smartphone camera at a QR code on their check and they can pay in under 15 seconds. “We wanted to remove all the friction that might get in the way of anyone quickly paying with our service,” said Co-Founder and President Touradj Barman.

Up n’ go is the first company to offer Text-the-check™, which lets servers text the check to a diner just by entering their mobile phone number into the restaurant’s point of sale system. Up n’ go’s Text-the-check™ is used primarily when guests call-in to place to-go orders, but also has applications in drive-thru environments and inside the restaurant. The service has been an immediate success with consumers – over 80 percent of guests who receive a text with a secure Up n’ go payment link proceed to pay with their phones. “Since we launched our texting service, other companies have announced they plan to release competing products, but none have come to market yet." Barman, an accomplished inventor with over 20 issued patents to his name, noted that the Company has filed a patent application for this technology.

A feature particularly appreciated by servers and guests is Up n’ go’s ability to let guests split their own checks right at the table. “Splitting the check was always such a socially awkward and time-consuming moment during a night out,” said restaurateur and Co-Founder Matt Hoyt. “Up n’ go takes the embarrassment out of the equation and lets guests easily tally what they ordered individually and tip what they want without the pressure of picking up the entire tab.”

Now more than ever, as restaurants begin to reopen during the ongoing pandemic, contactless payment options are in demand to address customers’ and employees’ fears surrounding cash exchanges and indoor dining. In addition, restaurant seating is more limited than ever leaving restaurants looking to turn their tables faster to accommodate more diners. Restaurants using Up n’ go see guests leave on average 20 minutes sooner than when they pay a server directly. With enough parties waiting, the saved time leads to incremental, high margin revenue for restaurants. Smartphone users have been completing transactions online for some time now, and the transition to contactless payment has been relatively seamless. Millennials and Gen Z-aged consumers seem to prefer using their smart devices to pay, claiming the process makes things much easier. Older patrons are embracing the technology to enjoy activities while maintaining social distancing.

“We set out to make a solution that we would want to use,” said Barman. “So, the first thing we focused on was user experience. The result is that Up n’ go is incredibly easy for both the diner and the restaurant staff to use.” The service provides a feedback interface that provides the founders and restaurants with reactions that helps them gauge success and possible improvements. “Touradj and I share a philosophy that software should fade to the background and help people do what they’re already doing more easily. As we continue to scale our service and add functionality, we will continue to keep this aim in mind,” says Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder Scott Webber.

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Up n’ go creates simplified exchanges that make paying and splitting the check easier, faster and more secure on both ends of the table. For more information go to http://www.upngopay.com.

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Jenie Dahlmann
Up n' go
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