The following was published by Restaurant Manager
According to the National Restaurant Association (NRA) research, technology can enhance the dining experience for consumers that are short on time but crave personalization. Among these different types of technologies, Pay-at-the-table devices are on the rise in the restaurant community because it benefits both the customer and the business owner.
Over the past decade, restaurants have been making significant changes to keep up with the disruption technology is having on the hospitality industry. More and more restaurant owners are adopting new technologies to improve their day-to-day operations and customer experiences.
Let’s take a deeper dive into pay-at-the-table (or PATT for short) technology and see if it’s the right move for your restaurant.
What is Pay-at-the-Table Technology?
Before we get into the benefits and capabilities, we first have to gain a better understanding of what pay-at-the-table technology is. Pay-at-the-table technology is precisely what it seems. A solution that enables customers to settle their bill at the table rather than having the server walk back and forth between the table and the stationary Point of Sale (POS) system.
Benefits of Pay-at-the-Table Technology
Pay-at-the-table technology can be highly beneficial for restaurants and customers alike. Here are just a few benefits this type of feature can offer.
Increase operational efficiency
Pay-at-the-table technology allows you to integrate with your POS software seamlessly. By enabling this technology to take care of customers faster, you can increase the amount of table turns each day. This is a great way to reduce customer wait time as well as increasing revenue coming into your business. Here are some of the great features that pay-at-the-table can offer you.
→ Full mobility with wifi and 4G connectivity
→ Reorder items directly from the table
→ Quickly split checks and add tips
→ Send e-receipts or paper receipts with built-in printer
Improved customer experience
Pay-at-the-table solutions allow for an overall improvement in a customer’s experience with your business.
→ Higher customer engagement: Most customer’s love to interact with technology, so incorporating it into their dining experience helps keep them engaged. In fact, according to Windstream Enterprises, “For customers of all ages, digital technology across the entire dining journey influences 40 percent of all restaurant visits. Digital is now a core element of that expected dining experience.” This improvement in customer experience will create a lasting impression, thus improving the likelihood of them returning
→ Convenience: Pay-at-the-table technology makes dining convenient and easy for customers. With the ease to pay and go, customers no longer have to wait for their servers to come back with their receipt.
Increase Customer Satisfaction
Pay-at-the-table solutions like Restaurant Manager’s SkyTab, offer more than just payment technology. They also allow you to keep a close watch on customer satisfaction. By prompting customers to rate their experience before leaving your establishment, you are avoiding poor Yelp reviews or other detrimental online damage. Technology like SkyTab can be great for management because it allows you to receive real-time alerts when a customer is dissatisfied with the service they are being provided.
Build your marketing database
Pay-at-the-table technology allows you to get valuable customer information through different screen prompts throughout the checkout process. This beneficial information can be used to broadcast any sales or promotions going on in your business to your customers. It also enables you to market more effectively to your customers in the future by the valuable information your pay-at-the-table solution can provide you. Here are just some of the ways PATT helps you build your marketing database.
→ Collect customer email addresses to build a database
→ Develop customer profiles, including their menu preferences
→ Create intelligent & effective marketing campaigns/promos
Increased payment security
Switching to an EMV-capable terminal can not only benefit your overall security, but it can also reduce chargebacks. They are increasingly becoming a HUGE problem for restaurants since the Liability Shift nearly four years ago. In fact, according to Chargebacks911, “ at the current rate, chargeback fraud will cost merchants upwards of $25 billion a year by 2020.” In comparison to the costs of increased chargebacks, the price of a pay-at-the-table solution may be a drop in the bucket. Solutions such as SkyTab can accept EMV, NFC and swiped card payments, with the added benefit of Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE) and Tokenization for maximum security.
What to look for in a Pay-at-the-Table solution
Although there are many things to look for when choosing your pay-at-the-table solution, there are some things that should be higher on your list. So what should you look for in your pay-at-the-table solution?
Choosing the connection type for your pay-at-the-table technology is vital when making this important decision. Does your business need wifi or Bluetooth capabilities? Are you going to be processing orders exclusively onsite or will you have off-site deliveries as well? These are the things you need to take into consideration. Although both options are great, each comes with benefits and drawbacks. Choosing which connection type that’s right for you is all based upon several factors.
→ Bluetooth: This connection type is great for smaller-scale businesses such as coffee shops and cafes. The great thing about Bluetooth is that it’s also immediately ready to use upon implementation. Bluetooth terminals allow you to communicate wirelessly with a wired internet-connected base station at a range of 300 feet.
→ Wifi: This connection type can be used exclusively or in tandem with Bluetooth or a SIM card. With this option, your pay-at-the-table solution is operating solely off of your business’s wifi. Usually larger businesses use this connection type due to wifi terminals tending to be better at supporting larger surface areas. This is all thanks to these terminals being able to roam across multiple access points as well as using wireless local area networks that are already in place.
→ SIM Card: This connection type is great for large and small businesses. Mainly because SIM cards allow you to have full mobility with wifi and 4G connectivity. This allows you to make payments anywhere, even if you are using the technology outside of your business. For example, if your business serves customers in store and through a delivery service, a SIM card would be the best option for you to process your payments.
EMV and NFC transactions
Making sure your device can process EMV and NFC transactions are vital in today’s growing landscape. A recent survey conducted by NerdWallet found that 78 percent of respondents are pleased with EMV cards. Of the 2,000 U.S. adults surveyed, 47 percent believe the cards boost the security of transactions and nearly half said it’s their preferred payment method. With the increasing problem of personal data breaches, pay-at-the-table technology is needed more than ever. Ultimately customers like to know that their personal information is being protected. This is why a pay-at-the-table solution is a no brainer for any small business owner. Putting the customer in control of their payment security gives them the confidence to shop at ease.
Simple reorder function
Pay-at-the-table technology allows your customers to dine with ease. Thanks to this new technology, servers can easily and quickly reorder drinks, which in turn provides customers quicker service. Giving servers the ease of reordering their items with a pay-at-the-table solution will not only keep your customers happy, but it can also bring in more revenue.
Split check functionality
Whenever multiple parties gather at a restaurant, more often than not, they’ll want to split the check. Whether it’s by total or by items, you’ll want this functionality from your pay-at-the-table solution.
Splitting checks at the table makes it easier for the servers and ensures accuracy for customers because both parties can communicate in real-time on how to separate the bill.
A lot of pay-at-the-table solutions now give customers the option to tip directly through the system. Some even give customers the exact amounts to tip based upon different percentage rates. These suggestive tipping rates have shown an increase in the amount of customers tipping their server. Taking out the hassle of customers having to figure out how much to tip their waiter makes a world of difference. Restaurants can expect to see higher tipping rates due to the speedy customer service and persuasive tip prompt screen within this technology. This type of feature is not only monumental for business, but it’s also great for your employees. Satisfied employees equal higher productivity rate.
Making sure your pay-at-the-table device has a warranty should be a top priority. Things happen in these types of high volume environments, so preparing for the worst is always best. Preferably you want to make sure you have at least a three-year warranty. This ensures things like water damage, poor maintenance or software glitches are all covered if they occur.
Every point of sale system has its strengths and weaknesses, but, with pay-at-the-table technology, you get way more than what you bargained for. About 80 percent of restaurant owners in the U.S. say that technology would help to increase sales, make their restaurant more productive and give their business a competitive edge. Not only can you expect to see a rise in revenue, but your customers and employees will thank you for making the change. So, what are you waiting for? Discover what pay-at-the-table technology can do for your business.