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This Australian app lets you split bills even if the restaurant doesn't allow it

Groupee bill-splitting app. (Image: supplied)

Most people have gone through the pain of getting the calculator out and fumbling around with mountains of cash to split a bill after a group meal. The scenario is especially prevalent in Australia, where a “no split bill” policy is more common compared to some other parts of the world.

Now a Sydney entrepreneur has launched an app to get around this problem. Groupee allows a group to split a bill, with the restaurant not having to spend extra time to facilitate and the diners not having to do any maths or use cash.

Founder Jarred Baker came up with the idea while waiting tables at the waterside Catalina restaurant in the eastern suburbs of Sydney.

“I knew from first hand experience that making [split bills] easier would benefit so many people, hence Groupee was born,” he said.

Baker told Business Insider that restaurants often have a “no split bill” policy because of the extra labour involved in facilitating the process.

“For the restaurant, it takes a lot longer to get individual payments from a big table — and the staff member can’t do other things while it’s being sorted out,” he said. “This way, payments are completed instantly and securely with a simple staff verification on the customer’s device.”

With Groupee, bills are split evenly among diners and each customer is charged their portion on their credit card registered with the app. The amount received by the restaurant stays the same, while the app charges each user 2.5% for its service.

There are currently 28 restaurants registered on the app, with recognisable Sydney eateries like Nomad, Orto Trading Co, Bar Machiavelli and El Topo on the roster.

Business Insider trialled the app with other journalists at a media briefing. The process requires one diner to create a group with the other members joining in a matter of seconds. The restaurant then enters a code into one of the phones to immediately push the payment through for everyone.

Baker told Business Insider that additional features such as doubling the split amount for couples and uneven splits would be added in the coming weeks, plus expansion into the Melbourne dining scene.

Approximately $500,000 has been seeded into the startup so far, with Baker hoping to leverage from this month’s launch to conduct series A funding early in the new year.

The biggest hurdle is getting restaurants to join the app, even though there is no downside for them.

“I spend a lot of time visiting restaurants now to get them to sign up. When they refuse, it’s because they don’t understand the app,” he told Business Insider.

Baker’s old employer was one of the first restaurants to get onboard the app, with Catalina Rose Bay owner Judy McMahon saying the software “solves a genuine problem” for the industry.

“We are excited to be using a new technology which will speed up and simplify the process of finalising group bills, save us money and enable us to get back to offering exceptional service to our customers,” she said.

The Groupee app is available on both iOS and Android.

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