A restaurant’s customer experience goes far beyond the food – it even goes beyond the ambiance, location, menu, and service. Payments, too, can make a big difference with how guests feel about their dining experience, particularly since it’s their final experience before leaving.
In an era where only 20% of restaurants survive their first five years, any advantage is crucial if you want to live to cook another day.
Here are three essential areas restaurants can focus on to achieve a competitive edge in payments.
1. Mobile Apps
According to a study done by 451 Research, 44% of mobile customers routinely use a mobile app to make a restaurant purchase. Restaurants will need to keep up with this growing expectation, especially if they want to attract a new generation of diners.
As Generation Z, who were practically born with smartphones and iPads in their hands, begin to enter the workforce and have more money to spend, we’ll see the popularity of mobile devices in restaurants continue to grow. We’ve already seen this in Europe, where pay-at-the-table, EMV, and NFC payments are a lot more common. Younger customers are beginning to expect that retailers and restaurants will be able to accept payments from their phones.
2. Integrated Mobile Payments
Mobile payments should also link to other dining apps. So what exactly does that look like?
Diners want mobile apps that will allow them to pay with their smartphones, but they also want to order ahead to avoid lines, receive offers via notifications, and take advantage of loyalty programs linked to their accounts. For all of this to work together, the payment process needs to be integrated with several apps to allow for the maximum convenience.
Apple, Google, and Samsung have worked to seamlessly integrate mobile payment functionality with their versions of the mobile wallet. This technology makes it easier for restaurants to use their own apps to let customers know they have, say, $10 in loyalty rewards to use for their next visit.
If omnichannel and unified commerce are some of the biggest trends in the restaurant industry, then loyalty is the opportunity that’s just waiting to be maximized. Loyalty programs keep customers coming back, and they’ve been popular for years. But technology is taking loyalty to a whole new level. With mobile wallet integration, loyalty is becoming an automated part of the checkout experience.
Gone are the days when customers need to remember their rewards card; instead their smartphones will rack up the rewards automatically. Smartphones can also alert customers to new discounts and rewards as they’re going about their daily business, prompting them to remain customers. Restaurants will be able to cultivate a deeper relationship with their customers, and capture data that will tell them more about what they want.
The payment process doesn’t need to be painful for your customer. Technology is creating a faster payment experience for diners, and your business can benefit from customer loyalty, better customer data, and mobile experiences that allow you to be flexible as a business.
About the Author
As Vice President of Channel Marketing, Brad has more than 25 years of strategic marketing and sales experience. Brad oversees and leads the Cayan channel marketing and events team. Throughout his career, he has helped businesses improve their performance with technology investments, from inventory control to payment technologies.More Content by Brad Giles