The implementation of mobile payment technology can be a challenge for restaurant owners and staff. But the rapid increase in the popularity of contactless payments, particularly among the commercially crucial millennials and Gen-Zers, make it a trend your restaurant can’t afford to ignore.
Fortunately, though, the restaurant technology brings significant advantages for businesses as well as customers, and it’s becoming ever easier to integrate with existing restaurant POS systems.
For both customers and restaurants, mobile payments offer a fast, convenient way of closing the check.
Mobile wallets give customers a great deal of control over the source of funds they use. And the technology used for mobile payments, known as Near Field Communication (NFC) means that all a server has to do is bring the check to the table to receive instant payment.
NFC works by allowing the customer’s mobile device and the restaurant’s POS terminal to communicate securely when in close proximity to each other, and mobile payments made through NFC are processed immediately the customer’s device is recognized by the POS reader.
In practical terms, according to payment industry sources, this means that NFC payments may be up to 50 percent faster than traditional cards, a significant time saving when compounded across many customers during a busy session.
It means no more tiresome waits for the card machine to connect with the relevant terminal. This rapid settlement is welcomed by customers, few of whom want to linger at the end of their meal, and also benefits the restaurant by increasing table turns and maximizing staff productivity.
While some customers and business owners may have lingering concerns over the security of mobile payments, these are rapidly diminishing as familiarity with the technology increases.
In fact, though perhaps counter-intuitively, mobile offers considerable security advantages over traditional payment cards.
In terms of protection against fraud and chargebacks, NFC transactions offer a similar level of security to the new breed of EMV (chip and pin) payment cards. NFC transactions are automatically tokenized and transmitted instantly, not over the internet, making it much harder for them to be compromised.
Customers’ mobile devices may also be additionally protected by biometric authorization requirements such as facial or fingerprint recognition.
Loyalty programs are deservedly popular with both restaurant owners and their customers.
For businesses, they represent a highly cost-effective marketing opportunity, while regular customers have the chance to earn significant discounts and rewards at their favorite eateries.
Fortunately, many of today’s mobile and contactless payment methods can now be seamlessly integrated with loyalty programs using restaurant POS systems; making it extremely simple for customers to accrue and spend their reward points.
With all these advantages, it’s not surprising that the number of restaurants accepting mobile payments is increasing rapidly. According to the authoritative industry site, PYMNTS.com, for example, the proportion of restaurants accepting mobile had risen to around 50% by the end of 2018, a startling increase from the mere 3% which was recorded as recently as 2014.
And if that’s not convincing enough, industry sources also project that total consumer spending with mobile devices will hit $360 billion by 2022, an increase of 74 percent over today’s $207 billion.
So the bottom line is this:
If your customers are not yet asking to make mobile or contactless payments, they likely soon will be. And in the highly competitive world of the restaurant business, you can’t afford to lag behind their demands.
The good news is that the necessary restaurant technology is developing rapidly, and many leading POS providers now offer systems or integrations that enable mobile payments. So if you’re not currently geared up to accept them, it should be a simple matter to get started – and now is the time!