Technology can help you make the dine-in experience safe, memorable, and more than satisfactory.

Pay-at-the-table, touch-free technology is vital for restaurants wanting to lure diners back so they can dine like they used to—only more safely. A 2020 Mastercard study found that 79 percent of consumers worldwide are using contactless payments, while another 82 percent of respondents say contactless is the cleaner way to transact.

Consumers are chomping at the bit to get back out and dine like they did pre-pandemic, but their safety concerns remain. In fact, many guests will pay twice as much to eat at a clean restaurant. Pay-at-the-table technology helps alleviate some of those fears as consumers can pay without the back-and-forth handling of cards or cash. All using a device that never leaves their hands.

How Pay-at-the-Table Benefits Restaurant Owners

The most important advantage of contactless pay-at-the-table tech like QR codes or mobile devices is that your guests can dine in happily and safely, but other benefits include:

Turning more tables. Saving time for your guests allows you to open the doors for letting others dine-in, which could lead to a much-needed revenue boost.

Freeing up staff. Servers used to spend significant time with tasks eliminated by pay-at-the-table tech, including delivering the bill, running payments and bringing receipts for signatures and ensuring those receipts are properly stored. Now, they can focus on creating quality customer experiences. 

Increasing revenue. Delivering a great dining experience increases the likelihood customers will come back more often.

Boosting tips. Customer engagement is directly tied to guest satisfaction at your restaurant. The friendlier and more personable your employees, the better. Remember, too, that most pay-at-the-table technologies calculate percentages and suggest gratuities, making it a no-brainer for leaving appropriate tips.

Building customer loyalty. By increasing customer retention rates by 5 percent, profits can increase by up to 95 percent. Loyal guests help you thrive by dining with you repeatedly and telling their friends about your restaurant (free advertising).

How Pay-at-the-Table Benefits Customers

Restaurants aren’t the only ones reaping the rewards of tableside payments. It also helps deliver exceptional customer experience by:

Increasing payment security. Since a customer’s credit card never leaves their possession, the chance of fraud or a payment process mix-up is much lower than when a server runs payments to and from a POS terminal.  

Bettering customer service. Having a tableside payment device or QR code satisfies the growing desire to provide easy, convenient, do-it-yourself contactless pay demands, which is particularly important for diners younger than 35.

Delivering food and bills quicker. With contactless pay at the table, diners spend less time waiting for the bill.

Expanding loyalty programs. Many pay-at-the-table technologies enable diners to access loyalty programs and offer on-the-spot rewards. They are also an easy avenue for signing up new customers.  

Splitting checks easily. Guest can pay their share of the bill without having to hand over multiple payment cards or touch the folio.

Providing a better dining experience. Your customers come to your restaurant for many reasons including enjoying your food, beverages and service. It also provides social experiences people are craving, particularly in today’s environment. Contactless pay-at-the-table tech gives them the option of dining inside your four walls more safely. And when you add all the benefits of reducing fraud and giving them more ease and convenience, their overall dining experience will be even better. 

Questions to Ask Before Implementing Pay-at-the-Table Technologies

Transforming your payment process doesn’t have to be daunting. While there are many factors to consider before diving right into a new pay-at-the-table technology, being proactive and asking the right questions will help streamline everything from implementation to training employees on your new process. 

Here are some important questions to ask when adding pay-at-the-table technologies to your restaurant.

  • How long will the migration take? 
  • Is there a risk to speed-of-service or general restaurant operations?
  • Has this migration strategy been used successfully by other restaurants? 
  • Is there a ‘backout’ option if something goes wrong?
  • Is the migration plan flexible enough to reflect the restaurant’s unique needs? 

Whatever your strategy or needs, it’s important to do your research and ask plenty of questions. To provide the best possible customer experience and to gain maximum value out of your investment in a new payment process, it’s key to explore the many options available to you as a restaurant operator.

Restaurant technology can help you make the dine-in experience safe, memorable, and more than satisfactory—and keep guests coming back for more.

Dirk Izzo serves as President and GM of NCR Hospitality. He is a seasoned leader with experience in building and marketing innovative cloud-based solutions to help clients optimize their business performance. In his current role, Dirk is responsible for developing simple and innovative solutions that run the restaurant from end to end. NCR is the technology provider of choice for restaurants around the world and Dirk is focused on delivering the next-generation software, hardware and services that delivers on what customers want, when they want it.

Expert Takes, Feature, Technology