Innovation That Matters

App splits restaurant bill to rectify pay gap

Work & Lifestyle

EquiTable uses government data to split bills using "affirmative fractions" — determining how much each diner should pay depending on their race and sex.

Despite growing awareness, there is still a problematic pay gap between men and women and along racial lines. This will — hopefully — eventually be rectified, but in the meantime we have seen some interesting initiatives that aim to balance things out at the point of payment. First, there was Less Than 100 — a traveling pop-up shop that illustrated the gender pay gap by charging women less than male customers — and now EquiTable is an app that enables diners to split their bill fairly, taking into account the historical and present day pay inequality.

The app, which was previously called EquiPay, was developed by comedian Luna Malbroux as part of Comedy Hack Day. It uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to calculate how much each diner should pay for their meal, depending on their race and sex, splitting the bill to balance out the wage gap. To begin, diners download the free app and enter their demographic details. Then, they connect with their friends and enter the total of their restaurant bill. Next, EquiTable uses a complex algorithm to split the bill equitably into what the creators call “affirmative fractions”.

If anyone has a problem with the bill split they are offered a chance to protest by claiming less privilege with classic excuses such as “I’m conventionally unattractive,” or “I was a middle child.” The app then comes back at them with some undeniable stats on the wage gap. Once persuaded, users can share their bill on social media to draw attention to the cause and show off their contribution.


How else could systemic injustices be rectified at the point of payment?



Download PDF