Restaurants have operated in a similar fashion for hundreds of years. A diner orders food, consumes it upon arrival and then pays for his or her meal. Traditionally speaking, patrons wait at their table while servers process the transaction at a different location in the restaurant. However, thanks in part to new advances in digital and portable technology, the payment processing paradigm is shifting in the foodservice industry.
A recent study conducted by industry magazine Hospitality Technology found 47 percent of respondents said adding mobile POS systems was a primary business driver in influencing restaurant point-of-sale upgrades.
More restaurants are beginning to upgrade POS systems because of its perceived business benefits, which include:
- Improved customer engagement
- Increased table-turnover rate
- Reduced waiting time between ordering and the time the meal arrives
In terms of tablet POS systems, restaurants are beginning to implement the new technology quickly as well. Tablet POS provides benefits to early-adopter restaurants, including a direct connection to the customer with better potential to upsell at the table before the check is paid.
Consumers driving mobile adoption
While customer experience and business reporting are two important aspects of merchant adoption of mobile POS systems, consumers desiring to pay this way are causing local businesses and restaurants to make changes to their transaction infrastructure. According to Javelin Strategy and Research, mobile proximity payments will increase exponentially between 2015 and 2018. In fact, in three years, mobile POS payments are forecasted to reach $5.4 billion.
The rapidly increasing adoption of smartphones in the U.S. may have something to do with the coinciding growth of mPOS in the restaurant industry. Seeing that customers want flexible and convenient payment alternatives, foodservice industry leaders are adopting mPOS systems in quick succession.
In fact, according to The Washington Post, national fast-casual restaurant chain Chili's has installed 45,000 tablets at more than 800 of its nationwide locations. Consumers seem to enjoy the pay-at-the-table convenience as well. Chili's reported 70 percent of its customers use the tablet POS systems to pay for their meals, especially when diners need to split the check two or three ways. The national chain also uses the mPOS systems to connect and engage with its customers. Before paying for the meal, Chili's diners are prompted to fill out a short survey describing their overall dining experience. Prior to the tablet POS systems, the response rates for a similar survey were less than 1 percent. Now, they are nearly 25 percent.
Restaurants can directly benefit from tablet POS systems. Between improved customer engagement, service, time of food delivery and higher turnover rates, mPOS offers a win-win situation for most early adopters. Until now, restaurants were waiting for consumer adoption to drive further mPOS growth, but it appears customers across the nation are embracing pay-at-the-table solutions and using them as a part of their entire dining experience.