The restaurant industry has transformed, and life is different now, both in how they interact with their customers and how they operate. The pandemic drove changes in consumer preferences, and you implemented new ways to accept orders and serve your customers. Along with establishing new processes — and maybe even a new business model — it’s smart also to enable new payment options to offer end customers the most convenience while giving restaurants the advantage of greater operational efficiency.
Consider these four restaurant payment trends, their benefits, and which ones you need to offer your merchants.
1. Contactless Payments
Many consumers tried contactless payments for the first time during the pandemic — and they understand the benefits. A 2020 survey conducted by The Harris Poll found that 42 percent of consumers believed contactless, tap-and-go payments as the safest in preventing the spread of disease. Waving a contactless card or a smartphone with a mobile wallet app near a card reader equipped with near-field communication (NFC) technology, customers can make a payment without touching a payment device, handing a card over to a server or using unsanitary cash.
Now that consumers have tried contactless payments and got into the habit of using them, they have also experienced how fast, easy and convenient they can be. Additionally, when consumers transact with mobile wallets, they can use the same payment method in person and online giving them one payment type to manage all purchases.
As a result, competitive merchants are responding to this payments trend to give their customers what they want. Coherent Market Insights predicts the contactless payments market will grow to $26.3 billion by the end of 2027.
2. Pay at the Table or Curbside
In an era of economic recovery, inflation, labor shortages, and supply chain uncertainty, efficiency is essential. However, some operations still require servers to walk back to a stationary terminal to print a receipt, then go back to run a payment card, return to the table with the check, and then go back to the terminal to add a tip and close the sale. A pay-at-the-table solution eliminates unnecessary steps and enables payment tableside in one streamlined process. Moreover, with contactless payment technology, restaurants can eliminate touch, protecting their staff and customers. Pay-at-the-table solutions can also be adapted for payment curbside, creating a safe, convenient payment option for patrons who prefer to dine off-premises.
When pay-at-the-table is a feature of an end-to-end mobile-first restaurant point of sale (POS) system, your clients will see the efficiency gains they’re looking for. Tabit research shows a decrease of 12 to 15 minutes in table turn time at peak and a 20 percent decrease in the number of servers required per shift. Moreover, those efficiency gains don’t come at the expense of customer satisfaction. Tabit users see an 8 to 15 percent increase in spending per customer, and servers typically receive higher tips.
3. Leverage Consumer Devices for Restaurant Payment
Some restaurants are choosing to create touchless payment experiences in other ways than offering NFC contactless payments. One cost-effective way is to take advantage of the fact that most diners have a smartphone. For example, restaurants can print QR codes for payment on receipts or generate a QR code on a mobile POS device. Then, consumers scan the code with the cameras on their smartphones, which takes them to a payments page where they pay, similar to making a payment for an e-commerce order. Another option is to text a link to pay via SMS so that customers can complete transactions on their own devices.
Restaurateurs can also choose to include payment features in their loyalty apps, which customers may prefer because it gives them more control over the payment experience. For example, they can pay when they’re ready and use loyalty rewards points without intervention from a server.
4. Giving Omnichannel Customers a Choice
Another restaurant payment trend is accommodating omnichannel consumers. Post-pandemic consumers are accustomed to interacting with businesses and making payments on various devices and platforms. However, even as customers return to the dining room, restaurants still need to enable online payments and accept multiple payment types like credit and debit, peer-to-peer payments, bank transfers and gift cards.
Experience is Everything
As you set the course for business success, give attention to details from the moment a member of a restaurant’s staff greets guests until another invites them to return, don’t overlook the role that payments play in a great customer experience.
Ensure your clients are equipped with the right technology to manage payments with minimal friction and maximum customer satisfaction.
Contact Tabit to learn more about managing payment transactions as a part of a mobile-first approach.