How to Speed Up the Checkout Process In Your Restaurant


Use apps and tablet-based POS systems to help turn tables faster and improve service.

In the restaurant industry, good service can determine whether your business is a success. According to the National Restaurant Association, about 95 percent of consumers say good service is key for choosing a dining option. Part of determining whether the service is sufficient is the amount of time it takes to pay for your meals. An enjoyable dining experience can be blemished if the checkout process feels excessive.

Independently-owned restaurants and chains throughout the country have been looking for ways to speed up the checkout process. One-quarter of consumers say technology options are important features that factor into their decision to choose a restaurant, according to the NRA. Experts expect this number to grow. Implementing new technology options could help your business turn tables faster. Here are some tips on how to do so:

Utilize Point-of-Sale Options at Tables

International chain restaurants like Chili’s Grill and Bar have been on the forefront of using new technology, such as tabletop point-of-sale options, to speed up both the ordering and payment processes. One issue diners often have during checkout is the amount of time it takes for a server to take a customer’s card and return it after swiping the transaction. This new option cuts out the need for a server to process the credit card payment, thus allowing customers to pay whenever they are ready to leave.

Tabletop tablets also allow customers to browse through the menu on their own and even place appetizer orders for their table at their leisure. Once they are ready to pay, the check can be loaded to the device, and the customers can pay when they are finished with their meals. This allows the diner to do things at his or her own pace—and provides peace of mind by removing the need to give credit card information to someone else.

According to Bloomberg Business, tabletop tablets have played a part in increased appetizer and dessert sales for restaurants using them. And, despite ordering more food, diners are getting in and out of restaurants more quickly. Ziosk, the company that pioneered pay-at-the-table devices, estimates its system can shave up to five minutes off a dining experience, because customers do not have to wait for a server to return their credit cards.

Accept Payments Through Restaurant Payment Apps

Restaurant payment apps, such as TabbedOut and Cover, are the new trend in mobile pay at restaurants. These apps are an easy way for diners to pay for the meals with relatively little effort in a short amount of time. The concept for the apps is relatively new, and there are nearly a dozen similar applications on the market.

TabbedOut, which is the only national restaurant payment app, currently is accepted at more than 5,000 locations throughout the country. The free app lets diners open, view, and pay restaurant and bar tabs. This means when diners are through with their meals, they can easily pay without having to wait on servers or bartenders. They can also split the check without a hassle.

Cover, which started in New York City and San Francisco, fits within the same concept, although the app is slightly different. When using this payment app, diners check in at a restaurant and confirm with their server that they plan to pay this way. Still, diners can pay at their own pace without waiting for a server to bring a check, take the payment, and return their credit cards.


There are dozens of ways to increase checkout speed at your restaurant. The key to finding checkout options for your restaurant is understanding your customer base. It is important to know what matters to them, and use that to better their experiences. For some customers, a point-of-sale option at a table may be a simple way to make paying for purchases easier. For others, a smartphone app could be the way to go. Experimenting with new technology and procedures can help you better the process.  

The opinions of contributors are their own. Publication of their writing does not imply endorsement by FSR magazine or Journalistic Inc.

Cristine Sommers

Cristine Sommers is the Chief Marketing Officer for Soar Payments, a payment processing company that provides credit card processing solutions for small and mid-sized restaurants. Follow Cristine on Twitter @soarpay.

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