One thing the restaurant industry is famous for is the tough competition. It’s a sector that’s so competitive that60 percent of restaurants fail in their first year of trading.

With such strong competition, restaurant owners know they must do everything they can to keep up with their rivals; they must also give an exemplary service to their customers, while keeping up with the unique demands of the restaurant trade. All of this can seem like a fine balance to achieve so how do restaurateurs rise to these challenges?

One of the answers is technology, and more specifically, by choosing the right payment platform. When implemented properly, the right payment platform can help take a restaurant to the next level.

Technology in the Restaurant Sector

Despite the multiple advantages – and diners’ desire to see it – technology is an area where the restaurant industry has sometimes fallen behind. The Restaurant Technology 2016 survey from the National Restaurant Association states that while business owners realize the advantages, a third of owners admit to being behind when it comes to technology.

Restaurants owners have been implementing some technology, such as POS systems and Wi-Fi, but they’ve been slow to pick up on table top ordering, mobile payments and apps, the research indicates.

If you’re one of those restaurant owners looking for new technology to improve the service you deliver, there are several payment optionsavailable such as:

Tabletop Ordering

The problem? Your customers don’t want to queue and you don’t want to gain a reputation for poor service and keeping diners waiting. The answer? A pay at the table solution.

Paying at the table isn’t new, but it’s certainly catching on. Italian-themed  restaurant chain the Olive Garden introduced tablets in 2015 to allow customers to order and pay at the table. In the same year, burger chain Red Robin also announced the introduction of tabletop ordering. Since then, many other quick serve restaurants have followed suit as they’ve begun to realize the advantages.

And if you have never considered offering table top ordering, then perhaps it’s something you should at least think about. Why? Because research from the National Restaurant Association shows that both older and younger diners want to see technology at the table.

The research also illustrates how over half of the ‘baby boomer’ generation (those aged from 45-64) have already used technology in restaurants, and a significant amount of them say that they would use technology to order atthe table if the option was offered to them.

Commenting on the research, Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the NRA’s Research & Knowledge Group, said:

“It’s well known that younger consumers are more likely to accept and even request technology options being part of their dining experience, but we’re finding that older consumers are also willing to incorporate technology for a variety of restaurant-related activities.”

Mobile Payment Platforms

Another technology making an impact in the way restaurants work is mobile. Some time ago it was predicted that mobile could “heat up the restaurant industry”. And for years, diners have been using their smartphones to order a meal, order takeout/delivery or to make a restaurant reservation.

Now, many more businesses in the restaurant sector are catching on to mobile. So, what are the advantages?

Mobile payments improve the speed and the service you can offer to customers. Mobile payments have another significant advantage: they can be more cost effective.

However, there are further benefits to be gained from going mobile, with restaurants that have introduced mobile payment options noting an increase in tips.

But there can be a downside to mobile, at least in the eyes of the consumer. Most notably, consumers’ concerns over mobile payment security. However, there is plenty the restaurant owner can do to improve these perceptions, like using only PCI DSS certified mobile payment platforms and authentication verification.

Enhanced security is vital as the restaurant sector has repeatedly been the target of fraud throughout 2016, especially malware. And earlier in 2017, the hospitality trade was reportedly targeted by based cybercrime group, with one confirmed breach and several attempted breaches.

Digital Wallets

With their ability to increase security through tokenization, introduce greater personalization and make payments easier for diners, digital wallets have a lot to offer the restaurant sector. They are also a good way of gathering data, which can be analyzed and used in marketing efforts, and for refining the way the business works.

As consumers typically carry less cash these days, a greater move towards digital wallet use is inevitable as time moves on, and more companies are introducing apps and wallets that help facilitate the digital payment trend.

Statistics indicate that digital wallet use is set to increase considerably by 2019 and one of the biggest beneficiaries of this is likely to be quick serve restaurants. If you aren’t already prepared for digital wallets, this might be a good time to start planning for them.

POS Systems

With their ability to carrying out multiple functions, the point of sales system has proved a worthwhile investment for many types ofbusiness, however, brands like Clover have point of sales systems that are aimed at the quick serve restaurant owner.

As you might expect, these systems have features designed to make the life of the restaurant owner easier through improved efficiency and productivity.

A point-of-sale system can also be used to improve customer engagement. By learning your customers preferences, you can tailor offers to them, reward them for their loyalty and make thewhole experience more personalized.

Typically, features of a restaurant POS include:

  • Inventory, table and employee management
  • Timeclock
  • Split checks
  • Open tabs
  • Customer menus

However, there is also the ability to create promotions and discount to encourage repeat custom and build loyalty.

Conclusion

As customers’ demands change, it is now more important than ever restaurants are equipped to serve them. And while keeping up with technology might seem like an additional expense, it is an area where the restaurant sector cannot afford to get left behind.

Today’s payment platforms can take your restaurant to do next level by offering answers to your most common problems and enabling you to give your diners an enhanced customer experience when they dine with you.

Preferred Payments has been a leader in the credit card processing industry for 10 years, providing our customers with competitive rates, unparalleled customer service, and the highest quality technology.