Restaurant Innovation Summit

4 Ways Digital Payments Benefit Your Restaurant

Is your restaurant ready to go cashless?

National Restaurant Association

Two-thirds of consumers can envision a cashless world in the future, according to recent Visa research. Is your restaurant ready?

Operators are intrigued, but wary: What’s the impact on the guest experience of going cashless? What are the operational issues? A panel of experts talked through the future of payments at our recent Restaurant Innovation Summit, held Nov. 7-8 in Dallas, and suggested four benefits of expanding your digital payment options.

  • Data-driven experience: Todd Mazurek, Visa’s senior director of merchant segment strategy, global payment experience and solutions, counseled operators to look at the cashless opportunity as part of the total experience they want to offer. He noted that many consumers, especially younger ones, base their dining decisions on whether digital payment is offered. Capitalizing on the trend yields great data – data that can help a restaurant drive loyalty and provide a better experience, he said.

    Jed Rice, Paypal’s global head of in-store and retail, emphasized the value of getting granular. “Trend data is important, but known consumer data is even more important.” When you can identify the purchasing behaviors of individual consumers, you can enhance engagement, he said.
  • Less friction: Digital payments can add complexity, but ultimately reduce transaction friction for the guest. Embedded payment options are making it easier for guests to pay how they want, whether “through delivery, kiosks, wherever the consumer is initiating the order,” said Tim McKenna, head of enterprise accounts for Heartland Payment Systems.

    Visa’s Mazurek is optimistic about contactless credit and debit cards. Those faster transactions lead to increased throughput. Many POS systems upgraded for chip cards are already capable of taking contactless cards, he noted.

    McKenna is watching “connected car” experiences. In many ways, cars are becoming very large consumer electronics, fully equipped with their own internet connections. Consumers can order multiple services from a car’s dashboard, from car washes and dry-cleaning services to dinner for commuters to take home.
  • The price tag may not be as high as you think. Since most consumers are carrying their own payment devices, hardware may not be a big line item for restaurants that expand their digital payment options. However, asking consumers to download another app may be a tough sell. Using third-party options -- like Paypal, Venmo or Apple Pay -- lets consumers provide their payment information once for future purchases. Paypal’s Rice predicts that half of gas stations will soon accept phone payments at the pump, and expects mobile purchases to increase in restaurants too.
  • Reduced liability: Newer forms of digital payments can relieve operators of responsibility for data security, the panelists said. For example, the pay-at-pump transactions at gas stations happen in the cloud, rather than on the phone or at the pump, which cuts retailers’ liability. But as card use increases, many consumers remain concerned about handing cards over to servers at sit-down restaurants. TGI Fridays and others are testing pay-at-table devices to address that pain point, McKenna said.

Learn more about the Restaurant Innovation Summit.

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