Mobile POS has plenty of benefits. Retailers have a lot to gain in particular, as we pointed out in the past. But those aren't the only companies that can see operational improvement from mPOS. Restaurants can use mPOS systems to introduce pay-at-the-table into their operations, and by doing so, they will boost their revenue, mitigate fraud and improve customer service.
Greater customer-server engagement
Tableside payments (and ordering) reduce the amount of time it takes to submit orders and manage payment, allowing servers more time to focus on the overall customer experience.
Tom Marcellino, owner of an Italian restaurant in Wilton, Maine, noted in an interview with Point of Sale that his mPOS system saves his staff at least 15 minutes per table. That's 15 additional minutes staff can spend building rapport with guests.
To put that into context: Rewards Network, a restaurant marketing firm, analyzed responses from nearly 99,000 diners. The firm discovered that, if a person ranked a restaurant's food only one point higher than the business's experience, the likelihood of that customer returning decreases 20 percent. In addition, Rewards Network found 95 percent of customers who gave their dining experiences five out of five stars said they would recommend the restaurant who provided such environments to their friends.
Serving more tables, increasing profits
Revisiting time as a factor, the faster customers receive their meals, the less time they're likely to spend sitting in the venue. This means restaurants can turn more tables and serve a greater number of patrons per shift. As a result of using tableside payments, Marcellino told Point of Sale that he increased profits between 12 and 14 percent.
In addition, the technology itself may be enough to draw consumers from competing restaurants. According to research from the National Restaurant Association, 79 percent of consumers said they thought technology increases convenience. Almost half (45 percent) asserted technology made dining out more entertaining and enjoyable - which can lead to spending more time at a location or larger tips.
Tableside payment as a fraud prevention asset
Pay-at-Table solutions are genearlly built around EMV (Chip card) functionality. This, in conjunction with encryption and tokenization enables a secure transaction from start to finish, protecting both the restaurateur and their customer base from breaches and associated card fraud.
Unfortunately, data hackers aren't the only ones to worry about. Every time a server brings a credit card to a POS terminal to settle bills, the chances of the data on the card becoming compromised - either by a third party or the server directly - is increased. Tableside payment avoids this problem entirely by keeping patrons' cards at the table and in sight.
Addressing the pain points
The main drawback to pay-at-the-table transactions is that, depending on the technology in use, customers may have to enter tips in front of servers. Such situations can be quite uncomfortable, especially if patrons did not receive satisfactory experiences.
POS resellers aren't oblivious to this problem. Payment integration middleware company Datacap Systems and Ingenico Group, a terminal and payment services developer, created a solution to this tip management challenge.
Ingenico provides Bluetooth-enabled PIN pads that are compatible with any Windows tablets running mPOS software. The PIN pads feature:
- A simple display showing the amount owed.
- An option to enter tips.
- EMV, magnetic stripe and contactless readers.
Options for WiFi-enabled pay-at-table PIN Pads, tablets with integrated EMV readers and direct consumer payment via consumers' smart phones are coming shortly to Datacap's Point of Sale partners and restaurants across the US.