Whether you’re a proud owner of a fine dining restaurant or a weekly patron of a street-side café, this sight should be unsurprisingly familiar: After customers finish their meal, they wait to catch the waiter’s eye so they can flag him/her down for the check. The waiter brings the check in a billfold, and departs to tend to other tables. The customer puts their credit card or debit card in the billfold, and then there’s that inevitable wait for the waiter to return. The waiter arrives, takes the billfold, leaves to get the payment processed at the counter, and comes back to the table with the receipt and customer’s card. We’ve all witnessed it, it’s not the quickest of processes.
For most diners, the ideal procedure of bill receiving-and-paying should be a straightforward, uncomplicated event, a no brainer. Yet they’re often obliged to linger, firstly to receive the check, and then for the meal’s receipt and their credit card. The entire thing can take anywhere from three to fifteen minutes depending on a range of factors, often resulting in slowed table turnover, fewer tips for the servers, and lower margins for the eatery. Over 1 in 10 UK restaurant goers stated they left a restaurant, bar or café without paying the bill, either because they couldn’t find a member of the staff, or because they didn’t want to wait any longer.
Fortunately, “Pay at the Table” technology is changing all that. Waiting ages to pay the bill in a busy restaurant could soon disappear as a raft of electronic point-of-sale (EPOS) systems promise to print receipts and swipe credit cards, right at the table.
Why Pay at the Table Revolution Deserves Your Attention
With UK diners to splurge an estimated £54.7 billion this year, it only makes sense for eateries to seek out ways to provide top-notch customer service. With acknowledgement, restaurants are beginning to offer “eat, swipe and leave” experiences with their new, advanced point-of-sale machines. POS is helping them to cut down the waiting time by processing payments at the table.
For instance, TGI Friday’s – one of UK’s most iconic eateries – first used the conventional method for receiving payments, where the server brought the check. It then shifted to Pay at the Table Chip and PIN terminals in an effort to cultivate a compelling experience for its guests, but these weren’t fully integrated into a central payments system.
To address the shortcoming, TGI Friday’s partnered with Verifone for a complete payments system upgrade. More than 600 units of Verifone’s NFC-enabled VX 820 and VX 680 DUET terminals were deployed at the restaurant’s locations throughout the UK. The countertop machines enable the restaurant to provide a quick, secure and easy-to-use Pay at the Table service. The terminals also integrate with Verifone’s PaaS (Payment-As-A-Service) suite, which future-proofs TGI Friday’s payments system. The service also supports new payment options like Apple Pay.
Even smaller setups like Korrito – Korean BBQ have begun to adopt EPOS. Here’s what Korrito’s spokesperson said about intelligentpos by iZettle, a cloud-based EPOS solution for iPad devices.
It’s easy to see why Pay at the Table is adored by restaurants: faster payments mean increased covers; and customers are provided with the security of their credit card not leaving their hands, which dramatically reduces the risk of fraud. Multiple warnings regarding credit card fraud have already been issued to UK diners, so enabling them to keep hold of their cards during transactions will bring them more peace of mind.
The Pay at the Table concept is already regular in other developed nations, and that’s mostly because of EMV. In the US, additional drivers include tablet and mobile POS, which require a PIN or a fingerprint ID for verification. The good news is that the UK is catching up; the total number of POS terminal installations in the United Kingdom has been on the rise since 2009. This is likely to please the 32.3 million British credit card holders who accounted for 3 billion contactless transactions in 2016.
How Do You Embrace Pay at the Table?
At this point, you can understand why it’s important to ditch the billfold and adopt cutting-edge Pay at the table technology within your restaurant. But the decision isn’t straightforward; the idea of a machine that can manage your transactions is one thing, but a system that can integrate with every aspect of your business is quite another. Therefore, it’s smart to do research before you splash the cash.
Ideally, if you have less than £5000 a month in transactions, you can start by kicking some tires on a smaller credit card reader from Square or iZettle (see how they compare). Though there’s a higher percentage cut on each transaction, you won’t have to pay monthly fees, so your monthly bill will be more manageable. If you’ll be processing more than that, you can go with Verifone’s traditional credit card machines. There’s a lower fee on every transaction, and because there’s no hidden fee in their contracts, you’ll know the exact cost you’ll be bearing each month. Credit card readers should suffice if you have a small setup. You can compare prices of different card machines here.
If you’re running a full service restaurant that has several branches, you can look for a smarter POS system. For instance, Lightspeed Restaurant POS allows eateries to deliver a better customer experience by offering simplified Pay at the Table solutions, as well as the ability to combine or split bills. Most advanced EPOS solutions are cloud-based and allow restaurant owners to analyse the data at a granular level.
Restaurant owners have to buy both the hardware and software for the EPOS – pricing varies according to different factors like number of registers to be connected, quantity of receipts to be printed, and whether advanced reporting is needed. StoreKit can work with you to find the best EPOS system for your needs. We put in extra effort to review and rate dozens of EPOS machines and tailor recommendations based on your business. You can compare the best EPOS systems here.
To provide you with the best deal on credit card processing, our POS experts will match your selected EPOS machine with an integrated payment processor. That way, you’ll get access to our exclusive rates when you begin comparing, as well as the option to save with bundles.
Hundreds of restaurants are already reaping the benefits of implementing Pay at the table Technology. The question is…what’s stopping you?