Carey MBA Student Presents New Restaurant Technology at TechBreakfast
Sometimes, splitting a restaurant tab among friends can be nothing short of a pain in the neck.
That’s where Paige Cantlin’s new app comes in.
Cantlin is a 28-year-old Johns Hopkins University student pursuing an MBA from the Carey Business School. She graduated in 2009 from the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a minor in entrepreneurship and management.
While an undergraduate, she waited tables at the Cheesecake Factory. That experience, combined with the business acumen developed at JHU, was the springboard for her to launch Full Society, a technology that allows restaurant diners to pay their own tabs directly from their smart phones.
Cantlin recently presented her technology at TechBreakfast, a show-and-tell event sponsored by the JHU Montgomery County Campus. TechBreakfast, created by JHU Carey graduate Ron Schmelzer, provides a forum for entrepreneurs and businesses to demo their new products. TechBreakfast events move rapidly, with presenters getting seven minutes to make their pitches.
Cantlin explained at TechBreakfast that the goal of Full Society is to save time for diners and restaurants. Using Full Society, restaurant-goers can instantly pay, split checks and tip from their mobile devices. Diners can also choose to leave a donation, which Full Society then directs to local nonprofits that work on hunger issues.
Restaurants, Cantlin said, like the technology because it increases table turnover at the eateries. Wait staff don’t have to bring over checks, swipe credit cards and bring back receipts. The whole process is handled electronically, and the technology integrates with restaurant point-of-sale systems. Measures are built into the system to avoid “dining and dashing,” restaurant-goers leaving without paying the bill.
Full Society charges restaurants a flat percentage fee to participate.
Several restaurants in Baltimore already are on board.
Now, the technology is in a beta phase, and people can download it for free from the Full Society website. Cantlin hopes to have the free app available in app stores this winter.
After Cantlin graduated from JHU in 2009, she worked in finance for six years before returning to campus to pursue her MBA. She developed the concept for Full Society in an Entrepreneurial Ventures class she took as part of the MBA curriculum. She and her teammates in the class were assigned a project to research trends in the hospitality/technology industry.
Cantlin is gaining experience pitching her product. She pitched the startup at an Innovation Factory showcase. Innovation Factory is a student-led organization with the mission to foster the entrepreneurial spirit throughout the Johns Hopkins community by facilitating access to learning, networking and investment opportunities. She also presented at TechBreakfast in Baltimore a few months before her Montgomery County Campus presentation.
The company has won some grants and is pursuing more.
Today, Full Society has four employees, plus Cantlin. She credits her JHU classes for giving her direct access to entrepreneurs and professors with industry connections.
“I would have never guessed a year and a half ago that this was going to happen,” Cantlin said.