Pay-at-the-table solutions improve service and sales.

There is a silver lining for businesses, especially restaurants that have yet to upgrade to pay-at-the-table devices that accept both EMV and contactless payments. A variety of new products now on the market provide tableside payment capabilities that could increase turnover and tips, while reducing fraud and skimming. There are clear benefits for both servers and restaurant owners alike: increased security, streamlined processes, faster checkout times, improved customer experience, and the elimination of human error. For restaurants that want to succeed moving forward, grabbing hold of the latest payment technology is putting a foot in the right direction, especially getting a firm grip on pay-at-the-table solutions.

Benefits of Tableside POS for Servers

Industry experts point out that the restaurant industry, historically, is slow to embrace new technology, according to Mobile Payments Today. Restaurant owners in particular should consider adopting any of the new tableside payment options now available in order to better the environment for their servers. Deployment of tableside POS can help streamline the dining experience and even increase tip percentages for servers. Casual-dining chain Olive Garden has already adopted tableside payment systems and is pleased with the results. According to the Los Angeles Times, a spokesman for Olive Garden said wait staff using the payment tablets see a 15 percent increase in tips and turn over their tables seven to 10 minutes faster. A spokesperson told the newspaper, “Guests can set the pace of their meals by ordering drinks, appetizers, and desserts as they want them and pay their checks with ease whenever they are ready.”

Another positive associated with tablet POS solutions is the potential to assign roving employees who can take orders and payments from anywhere in the restaurant or establishment, including drive-thru lanes. This shortens the length of lines, as well as increases positive associations from customers. This helps lessen the stress on servers who would otherwise potentially be dealing with busting multiple tables with slow check out times. This reduces the classic runaround scenario that most servers are plagued with and increases the speed within the establishment. Servers will have more time to take care of their customers, which normally results in higher tips due to increased satisfaction.

There is also the elimination of human error with tablet POS systems. There is no need for a server to run back and forth between tables and the kitchen, fixing orders or reentering tickets. Servers can see the orders crystal clear on the screen and any discrepancy can quickly be resolved by looking at the order that the customer input themselves.

Restaurant Owners Will See Benefits as Well

A big reason for updating POS technology to include EMV payments and tableside POS is that restaurant owners who update their payment technology to accept EMV cards reduce their risk of chargebacks resulting from fraud. In 2015, restaurants were one of the industries most affected, but as more merchants more to EMV, fraud will move to areas that have been slower to adopt the technology. Even experiencing relatively few chargebacks can devastate a small independent restaurant owner. The last thing an owner of a business needs to worry about is the potential of paying thousands of dollars in fines all due to a small security issue.

Convenience and efficiency should be the bread and butter behind any food operation. Restaurant owners have to worry about so many aspects—budgeting, staffing, scheduling, ordering, and everything else in between. The operational advantages with tablet POS systems are numerous. Typically tablet POS systems have a lower initial investment with hardware and software than traditional systems. This helps greatly reduce the overhead cost and improves ROI, helping restaurant owners to properly keep in line with their budgets.

Another firm advantage for business owners is getting a tablet POS system that stores the data in the cloud. With cloud data storage, troubleshooting and problem solving are made easier because issues can be resolved remotely, as opposed to waiting for someone to come out and make a fix that may be small. Not only is troubleshooting and problem solving made easier, but owners and managers can keep track of their business data and reports from virtually any location as long as they have internet connectivity.

The excitement around pay-at-the-table solutions is not merely hype. Tablet POS systems are flexible and fast, helping to run nearly every aspect of a business from ordering, payment, and reporting. Whether an owner has a new restaurant or a long-established joint, table POS solutions offer many benefits. They pick up the speed of service, increase sales and security, streamline processes for servers, increase customer satisfaction, and can give owners a peace of mind. With low initial costs as opposed to traditional POS systems, they are the perfect cutting-edge management and operational tool for food establishments. 

Expert Takes, Feature