Person looking at phone with sunday payment system displayed

Here’s How Restaurant Operators Are Increasing Average Spend—and Saving on Labor Costs

Automated payment solutions can create great experiences for customers and staff while supporting the bottom line.

Restaurant operators are getting squeezed from all sides. Margins have always been slim, and costs for everything are on the rise. Some of these expenses can be passed on to diners, but how much is too much? Restaurant operators also need to account for new dining options customers are demanding—like contactless ordering and the creation and maintenance of outdoor dining space. 

“The sheer cost to operate a restaurant is one of the biggest challenges facing operators today,” says Mandy Quinn, head of U.S. sales at sunday. “From food costs to labor costs, everything is going up. We see restaurants offering record high wages and incentives to get employees to come work for them—even just to come to interviews. For operators, it’s just more expensive than ever before.”

As more customers return to the dining room, they have different expectations for their experience after emerging from months in the comfort of their own homes. “The other major challenge for restaurants is customers, who are expecting more than ever before—and they want it all on-demand,” Quinn says. “I like to call it the Amazon Prime effect—because who likes to wait for anything these days?”

To help alleviate the labor crunch and deliver what customers demand, many restaurants are turning to technologies that allow customers to pay at the table or order and pay. One of these platforms, sunday, allows customers to pay in 15 seconds by scanning a QR code. No one needs to download an app to use sunday, and customers can also split the bill and leave tips from the secure website linked to the QR code. This can free up servers to attend to upselling and other interactions that benefit more substantially from a human touch.

“One restaurateur told me, ‘Waitstaff aren’t here to wait on you anymore—in this new restaurant environment, they’re customer service agents,’” Quinn says. “The goal of the waitstaff is to enhance the customer experience. When it comes to the check process, though, there’s no real value-add from having a human component. Customers need to wait an average of 10 to 15 minutes to pay for a check traditionally, and in today’s on-demand culture, you don’t want them to be thinking about a frustrating wait as they leave the restaurant. It’s important for the check process to be really quick. Waitstaff can upsell the customer on a great drink or dessert that complements the meal, and focus on making sure they’re excited about coming back.”

Having an automated payment solution also helps servers save time. The 10-to-15-minute traditional check process can be a negative experience for them, too. They often choose to wait until the end of the night to enter all their tips—but what if they could save even more time while freeing themselves up to turn more tables?

sunday, a fully integrated automated payment solution co-founded by the owner of Big Mamma Restaurant Group, is designed to improve the payment experience for everyone involved—from customers to servers to operators looking at their top and bottom lines.

“From a waitstaff perspective, automating the payment process via sunday makes their jobs easier and actually increases their tips, which can be an incentive to stay with the restaurant,” Quinn says. “From an operator perspective, the labor savings are huge. For a restaurant with $1 million annual revenue, using sunday can save them anywhere from 2,800 to 5,600 labor hours per year on average, depending on the number of tables and the number of waitstaff in place. And if you're one of the few restaurants that hasn't been pinched by the labor crisis, the good news for you is that 10 to 15 minutes saved during the check process means faster table turns for you.”

Customers are also spending more per check, and credit card processing fees are lowered. “We see a 12 percent average increase in check size when restaurants use sunday,” Quinn says. “We’re also able to save restaurants up to 30 percent on credit card processing fees in most cases. It’s really a win-win—it gives your diners the perfect end of their meal every single time, and your staff will love it too because they're saving steps.”

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