Pay-at-the-Table: Everything You Need to Know
As a restaurant guest, a long wait for a table is frustrating, but so is waiting for the bill. It might seem like a small thing, but when you break it down, this process is laden with delays:
- Waiting for the bill
- Awaiting the payment pickup
- Waiting for the credit card receipt return for signature.
After sharing a meal out with friends, guests want to get home, and their patience can wear thin as they await the server’s return. Point of Sale (POS) terminal “traffic jams” occur when multiple servers try to close out too many tickets at once. To combat this scenario, many United States-based restaurants are giving mobile pay-at-the-table solutions a closer look.
The Trend of Mobile Payments
Travelers may have used a mobile point of sale (mPOS) in Europe, also known as pay-at-the-table (PatT). As a service, it has been commonplace for the past decade and is one that customers have come to expect.
Pay-at-the-table helps protect sensitive cardholder data and can eliminate the occasional longer-than-usual wait. These are two reasons that pay-at-the-table is gaining traction. Other reasons restaurateurs say mobile payment solutions are a top priority are:
|Better protection of customer’s sensitive cardholder data||Increased customer satisfaction in transactions and brand loyalty|
|Faster table turns||Increased revenue|
|Increased tips for waitstaff||Happier employees|
|Customer convenience||Boost for brand loyalty and guest satisfaction|
|Decreased labor costs||Increased bottom line|
|More face-time with guests||Greater customer and employee satisfaction|
Are Mobile Payments Right for You?
Only you, the restaurant operator, can answer if pay-at-the-table technology would be a good fit. Each restaurant segment works a bit differently! There’s also a cost of adopting the technology. It may be a “pay-more-upfront” or “pay-more-later” situation. When looking at the overall trend, forecasting these costs will help you make an informed decision.
Currently, there are 3 million smartphone users worldwide, and that number is expected to rise by several hundred million in the next few years. Guess what type of convenience smartphone users want with those electronic devices? To buy and pay for things with them!
Saddle those numbers alongside another statistic. According to research firm Global Market Insights, three market sectors affect mPOS today: entertainment, health care, and hospitality. Research predicts that the demand from these sectors will push the mPOS market to $55 billion by 2024.
New Ways to Pay
Look at the way third-party payment apps have increased in popularity to see the trend. Now you can pay with Google Wallet, Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, and more. That’s a trend most restaurants and businesses can’t ignore.
Solutions like tabletop kiosks and mobile wallets are meeting customer demands in the same way, as these payment options offer them several ways to pay-and-go without handing their card off to the wait staff. Restaurants who are adopting Mobile POS (mPOS) are also achieving another goal — drawing in younger generations, who are the heart and soul of business profit. Millennials and Gen-Zers are quicker to adopt new technologies and subsequently reward those businesses with their loyalty for offering them a convenient experience.
Solutions for mPos can also address restaurant problem areas. For example, by putting a survey request directly on the mPOS device, a tabletop kiosk, you can easily collect, alter, manage, and increase survey responses. Get enough feedback, provide the best answers to that customer input, then implement change, and you’re prone to see a business increase and profits blossom.
Steps to Get Your Mobile Payments Going
If a restaurant can bring “food to flame” by serving steak Diane, bananas foster, cherries jubilee, and baked Alaska table-side, why not payments? Moving to digital payments isn’t painful, and will likely remove many pain points along the way. To begin, restaurant operators should consider some essential steps, like:
- Decide between mobile payment solution (mPOS) types:
- Standalone: Determine if the mPOS will be compatible with your current POS system.
- Partially-integrated: some mPOS vendors design their systems to complement your existing POS system.
- Fully-integrated: other inclusive mPOS systems can completely replace your existing POS system.
- Determine whether to offer a WiFi or Bluetooth-enabled payment solution.
- Decide whether the business should support EMV chip card payment solutions. This Canadian and European standard for mobile payments is the most secure.
- Ensure that you have security as the highest priority over cost. Hackers can target systems. To safeguard against such breaches, comply with the best practices for PCI DSS, and ensure that employees receive proper training in phishing and social engineering scams.
- Decide between mobile payment solution (mPOS) types:
Pay-at-the-table technology creates efficiencies, promotes goodwill, displays a commitment to the security of personal information. Even if a restaurant operator isn’t ready for digital payments today, researching them can help you prepare for tomorrow. Those who ignore the tide may quickly discover that they’ve missed the wave entirely.
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About the Author
Amber Mullaney provides and guides all things marketing for QSR. A proud Texan native, she graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in Public Relations and spent her career in the healthcare industry before making the switch to QSR, saying she loves a good challenge. Amber has a long list of things she loves, including tacos (especially tacos), sweet tea, Texas, the outdoors, and traveling with her husband and two daughters.