Splitting the check and cashing out at a restaurant is miserable. Many restaurants don’t allow it or are frustrated when people ask to split. If they allow it, it is often done incorrectly and is difficult for the wait staff. This frustrates consumers and wait staff, slows down the payment process, and leaves both parties annoyed. Sometimes people will consciously avoid a restaurant that doesn’t split checks.

Why is this still a problem?

There is a broken link between restaurant and consumer. Legacy restaurant systems are not advanced enough to handle a full consumer experience interface. For the longest time, no payments companies had a robust restaurant-focused technology stack. There has never been a fast enough, user-focused, and secure enough platform in place to connect the two. Square and Uber Eats are both in position to change that. I’ve designed this prototype with Square’s leading UI in mind.


Bolt. Bolt is a consumer facing mobile app that connects to Square’s current offerings, leveraging its established position inside restaurants across the world. When guests are seated, the host uses their square POS tablet to open up a table. They tell guests which table they are seated at, and it becomes an “open channel” at the restaurant. Square already has this today.

At any time during the dining experience, consumers open the Bolt app and join their table. They will see their friends also at the table in a beautiful interface, designed with Square’s typical end-user focused mindset. As the waiter takes orders, they are immediately allocated to the table, while simultaneously sent to the kitchen for preparation. At any point during the meal, consumers drag and drop the items that they want to pay for. They can even split items with other people at the table.

Key design change?

Move the check splitting feature from post-settlement to pre-settlement. Square is already integrating its POS systems into restaurants, and they have already announced their plans to integrate front of house and back of house for more powerful analytics to drive better decision making. Now they can leverage their restaurants platform to bridge the gap from the restaurant to consumers, allowing for the splitting of a check to happen upstream, before the bill is already printed and delivered to the table or settled in the transaction system. This beats solutions like Tab or Splitwise or Venmo that don't have an upstream access point to the consumer.

Eat your food, pay your check, and Bolt.


2x Bolt Story.jpg