Technology gives consumers options as to how they interact with their favorite restaurants. Between Apple Pay, Android Pay and pay-at-the-table systems, people have a lot of choices. Restaurants that provide such choices are more likely to succeed than those that do not, but accommodating different payment options isn't always so simple. Certifying hardware built to accommodate NFC payments, for example, could take several months.
To overcome certification challenges, many POS developers use payment integration systems that handle payments development and processor certifications for dozens of POS devices. As a result, the restaurants they work for can deliver the dining experiences consumers demand, four of which we'll discuss in this article.
1. Mobile Wallet
Slow, but steady adoption of mobile wallets - especially among millennial consumers - means restaurants will have to accept NFC payments.
The Fifth Annual Mastercard Digital Payments study analyzed more than 3.5 million conversations about payment technologies that occurred over the past year. Gathering data from Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Weibo, researchers discovered strong enthusiasm for digital wallets. They also learned that people are using this technology in-store, online and in-apps.
2. Pay-at-the-Table Options
Pay-at-the-table technology allows waitstaff to drop PIN pads at tables when guests are ready to pay. Instead of taking a guest's credit card to a POS system and coming back with a receipt once the transaction's finished, servers leave Bluetooth or Wi-Fi-compatible devices at guests' tables to complete payments.
Every time a server takes a credit card, the chances of another guest (or the server himself) stealing the card's information increases.
A survey from Auriemma Consulting Group suggests consumers feel more confident when they engage in secure transactions. For instance, 70 percent said they'd use two-factor authentication to access online accounts. This finding implies that many consumers favor secure transactions, and would therefore prefer holding onto their cards instead of handing them over.
3. Healthy, Transparent Options
Multiple studies indicate consumers desire more healthy choices when they're dining. According to a survey from Nielsen, 58 percent of consumers said they want all-natural options when dining out or shopping for food. In addition, 67 percent of North Americans said they want to know all of the ingredients that go into their meals.
Restaurants need to figure out a way to provide information about their meals without taking up too much time, as most consumers prefer fast service. For this reason, some restaurateurs are utilizing POS tablets to enable tableside payments and provide nutritional information to guests.
4. Post-Dining Loyalty and Social Behavior
According to OpenTable, 18 percent of consumers said they used a restaurant's loyalty program after paying a bill. Another 15 percent said they share their experiences on social media.
What do these behaviors have to do with payment integration? After finishing their meals, many customers grab for their phones. Restaurants could take advantage of this activity by allowing customers to pay for meals through mobile-based, e-commerce transactions. This modern Pay@Table approach allows merchants to turn more tables without additional hardware expense.
Overall, consumers demand memorable dining experiences, but they also want efficiency. It will be interesting to see how restaurants leverage tech to deliver such services in the coming years.