Metro, Business

Harvard Startup ‘SplitNGo’ Makes It Easier To Split Bills At Restaurants

Andres Sarmiento and Steve Gorodetskiy were tired of ending their nights in frustration. Dinners and drinks turned into long waits and confusion when the check came. They created a tech startup to fix this problem, effectively footing the bill—by splitting it.

Sarmiento previously worked for American Airlines in Dallas. There, he focused on optimizing the airline’s supply chain operations to maximize revenue. Originally from Colombia, Sarmiento decided to leave his job at American Airlines and enrolled in Harvard Business School (HBS). Leveraging his programming knowledge, he was able to create SplitNGo with his co-founder.

SplitNGo solves the complications customers encounter when they attempt to split bills at restaurants. “The inspiration for SplitNGo came one night when I was out with my friends and we had difficulty splitting our bill,” Sarmiento said. “I knew there had to be an easier way.”

Rather than utilizing an app-based platform, a trend that many local startups have recently looked toward, SplitNGo is completely web-based. Customers access the website on their smartphone, and are prompted for a table code, which is provided by the restaurant.

Sarmiento explained that customers will be able to see their bill in real-time as the server enters their orders into the system. He believes this will provide transparency for customers who want to control how much they are spending when out.

After the customers finish their meal, they have the ability to pay their bill through the platform. SplitNGo allows customers to pay via PayPal, or a credit or debit card through its service. Sarmiento hopes to add Apple Pay and Bitcoin functionality in the future. Upon payment, customers will see a confirmation on their phone and will receive an email of their receipt. After the transaction is complete, the server is notified that the customers have paid.

One of the benefits of using SplitNGo for a restaurant is the ability to turnover tables more quickly, ultimately increasing revenue, and getting customers in and out the door in a timely manner. Sarmiento highlighted the ability of customers to pay without being forced to wait for a server.

“When you go out and wait for the check, which can often take far too long, upsetting the customers—this allows customers to pay and be on their way,” he said. The platform also records which items are ordered as a well as a suite of analytics associated with what customers order. “The analytical ability of our platform will allow clients to see trends in what their customers’ order, which can be valuable in its decision making processes.”

During Sarmiento’s tenure at HBS he developed SplitNGo and received backing from the Harvard’s Innovation Lab, an organization that provides space, mentors, lawyers, and other resources to foster entrepreneurship and innovation at Harvard.

Though college students appear to be early adopters to SplitNGo, Sarmiento has seen increased growth of use among the older demographic.

“Many parents with kids benefit from our platform because they have small kids and want to leave without disturbing anyone,” he said. Currently, 37 percent of U.S. consumers are using mobile payments to complete their transactions, of which 47 percent are using to expedite the checkout process, according to Application Developers Alliance. This growing trend, which is increasingly popular among Millennials, is something that Sarmiento is trying to take advantage of.

Currently, restaurants using SplitNGo’s platform include Grendel’s Den, Boston Burger Company, and The Sinclair in Cambridge, Mass. Looking to the future, Sarmiento is adamant that more restaurants will sign on to his app. “We have other restaurants in the pipeline, but we still need to finalize our relationship with them,” he said.

Featured Image by Breck Wills / Heights Graphic

October 7, 2015