The Pros and Cons of At-Table Payment Technologies

The days of waiting for a server to bring the check are on the decline. Multiple companies have developed at-table payment systems, technology that literally allows patrons to pay for meals at their table.  While this may be intriguing for customers, the technology poses a new risk-reward calculation for some restaurant owners. Here we will discuss some of the pros and cons of the technology in order to help you, the business owner, make an informed decision about whether or not to carry the technology in your restaurant.

Pro #1: Quicker table turnover

Turning tables is the one way restaurants become profitable. Sure, stragglers will sit and converse from time to time. But, making sure your customers are fed and out the door in time for the next customer to request a table is where the real money is made. To this end, at-table payment technologies actually improve turnover rates. According to one study, at-table and mobile payment technologies improve turnover rates by eliminating the time spent waiting for a check.

Pro #2: Gives some customers the service they want.

But, turnover rates aren’t the only way at-table payment technologies help restaurants stay afloat. They also give some customers the experience they want by taking human interaction out of the equation. This may come as a surprise to some, but millennials are less likely to want human interaction when going out to eat, according to a report by Business Insider.  The generation with the largest spending power prefers going through the drive thru simply to avoid “dealing with people.” This attitude is reshaping the ways that restaurants do business. From adding drive thru features, to incorporating self-serve kiosks and taking payments in Bitcoin, restaurants are already bending to the will of millennial customers.

Con #1: Less people-people interaction

Not all restaurants can survive without human interaction. For example, a mom-and-pop store in a rural area is more likely to glean the attention of its customers by providing exceptional customer service than a restaurant in a predominantly urban area. At-table payments could become the monkey wrench in the mom-and-pop’s operation. So, when deciding whether to incorporate at-table payments, be sure to do some market research first.

Con #2: Higher start-up costs for entrepreneurs

That research could ultimately lead you away from this technology. Especially if you’re an entrepreneur looking to save as much as possible in start-up costs. Currently, at-table payment systems can run in the hundreds of dollars for the technology, and in the thousands for its operational software. As restaurants become more technologically advanced, it is in your best interest to sort out the technologies that will work for your business from those that won’t. This way, you can save money in the appropriate areas without sacrificing the needs of your customers, or your commitment to serving them.


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