How Smartphones are Changing Restaurant Payment Processes

What if I told you that you carry the most revolutionary piece of restaurant technology in your pocket or purse?

That’s right. Your smartphone is already changing the way restaurants operate. Everything from WiFi connectivity to online ordering has been shaped by the way smartphones collect and distribute data.

Now, we can add payment options to that list as well. This development bodes well for the restaurant industry as a whole. It has the potential to reduce wait times and increase turnover rates, both of which can benefit the bottom line.

Restaurant owners should watch how these payment technologies develop, and figure out ways to integrate them into their day-to-day operations.

No More Waiting for the Bill

Waiting for the bill is one part of the restaurant experience that is often left out of time-in-motion studies. It’s almost seen as a requisite activity in restaurants themselves. The consumer comes in, eats, and then has to wait to pay.

Well, those days are numbered thanks to QikServe, a U.K. based hospitality company. The company has been piloting an app that will allow consumers to pay for their meal from their phone either through the app itself or by generating a QR code at the table.

“For a lot of restaurant guests, they don’t go often enough to justify downloading an app for an experience that they are not going to do frequently. Being able to engage at different levels is the biggest thing for us. It’s putting the guest in control in a way that doesn’t have too many barriers around it,” QikServe’s founder, Daniel Rodgers, explained to Skift Table.

Typically, consumers rely on the punctuality of a restaurant’s service staff in order to pay for their meal. With QikServe’s technology, consumers can take control of the payment process without having to wait. This has the potential to greatly increase turnover rates, which can positively affect a restaurant’s bottom line.

Lunch in a Rush

Another app, Allset, is set to allow consumers to prepay and pre-tip (doesn’t that sort of defeat the purpose of a tip?!) for their meals before they arrive at a restaurant.  It is currently operational in seven BJ’s locations in Austin, Texas and Los Angeles.

Allset allows restaurants and consumers to cut down on wait times, but the company’s chief executive sees a problem brewing for the burgeoning mobile payment processing niche.

“If you offer just mobile payments, you’re competing with cash and cards,” Stas Matviyenko told Skift Table. “It’s much easier to pull out a card than go to the smartphone app. Mobile payments are cool but they need to be supported by other functions. It looks like a bigger value.”

But, those problems seem to be small fish in Matviyenko’s eyes. He offers the example of how quickly people went from raising their hands when hailing a taxi to using Uber and other ride-sharing apps.

“It’s much easier to convert people now than five years ago,” Matviyenko said.


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