Getting guests to use their smartphones for their restaurant transactions all hinges on one thing: the app. Is this the future of dining?

Restaurants are rolling out proprietary apps left and right, for online ordering, delivery, loyalty rewards, and some even for payment. If not, they’re relying on big-name delivery apps to do part of the work. We know them well; DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates, and Uber Eats dominate the market.

Market research recently revealed that delivery mistakes made on third-party apps are still blamed on the restaurant and the delivery service, regardless of who is at fault. Overall more than 61 percent of consumers blame both the restaurant and delivery app when they experience a problem, according to the research from Zion & Zion.

Meanwhile, even getting guests to use their smart phones for their restaurant transactions all hinges on one thing: the app, whether it’s proprietary or third party. Is this the future of dining?

Sif Rai, CMO at restaurant technology firm QikServe, which provides app-less dining experiences, thinks there’s life beyond the app, a future in which anyone with any device can connect to a restaurant’s ordering, payment, or loyalty system without the additional step of downloading an app.

“We believe that getting people to use their mobile for ordering and payment in restaurants is dependent upon making the experience as frictionless as possible,” Rai says. “While it works well for certain brands, the traditional mobile app model is relatively high friction—requiring you to download an app and often to register your details for an account, when most of the time you just want to do something quick and simple, like ordering and paying for a meal. If restaurants want to enhance the guest experience, they should ask themselves if an app will actually achieve that.”

In Rai’s restaurant future, paying from a smart phone is as easy as using Apple Pay or Google Pay. Guests can use their own devices to order and pay from the table. They check in by tapping their smart phone on a tag or scanning a QR code. These actions use the phone’s native capabilities, so no additional downloads are required. “The whole payment experience should be even quicker and easier than using a card reader,” Rai says. “Simplicity is key.”

Feature, Technology