Do restaurant trends impact technology? Absolutely. 2019 has shown that in a big way and 2020 is projected to see even more growth in this department! One trend we are starting to notice in more establishments is the option to pay right at the table. What has driven this development? One factor is that a minority of restaurant patrons are paying with cash, with some establishments even going the route of “cashless” and only accepting credit and debit cards. What are the benefits for the consumer and what are the benefits for the restaurant owner?
Traditionally when a customer is done and ready to leave a restaurant, they wait for the bill, wait for the server to return to grab their card, wait for the server to return so they can sign the bill, add the tip and then finally leave. With a pay-at-the-table system in place, that elaborate chain of events is much more streamlined. Does that mean the server interacts less with the patrons, making less of a connection and therefore less likelihood of the patron returning? The research says quite the opposite. With the laborious old method being replaced with this new and more efficient method, patrons are leaving the restaurant without that final feeling of impatience with the server that was oh so typical before, and the server is left with some extra time to establish a rapport with these patrons. Both parts of the equation are generally feeling positive about this development in mobile technology.
When patrons are able to close out their bills more quickly, tables will be turned more quickly. When tables are turned more quickly, restaurants stand to see an increase in profits, which brings us to another major benefit of the situation. Everyone in business likes to see an increase in profit, right? The difference in time may be small compared with total time that your guests will occupy a table, but those minutes will add up over the course of a lunch or dinner service, which in turn will add up big time to your weekly and monthly totals.
Another element that pay-at-the-table brings is security. We trust that people hired in our establishments and those that we patronize are trustworthy and our credit cards won’t be compromised, but the truth is the less time your card spends out of your hands the safer your information is. Some restaurants have stationary units on the tables, while others have units that travel around the restaurant with the servers. With both options, the customer’s card stays with them.
Alpha POS is launching a pay-at-the-table system which will operate in a fully could-based manner. This system will go live in January and open up many options and a great deal of flexibility for current and new customers. Currently Alpha POS does have customers that are utilizing a local network-based pay-at-the-table system. The cloud-based option is certain to compliment the current system and provide even more options.