Restaurants have begun to take a new approach within their business strategy and incorporate new forms of payment technology. In the past, traditional point-of-sale (POS) solutions were slow, bulky and took significant time to learn how to use. Now, consumers prefer payment features that are quick, easy, and convenient for them so they can get in and get out quickly. Fortunately, restaurants have the perfect opportunity now to eliminate friction within payments, make customers happy and allow their staff to serve customers easily. 


New Technology & Alternative Payments Within Restaurants 
Restaurants need to focus on finding solutions that help streamline their business and help take the burden off of everyday tasks. Using alternative payments can increase productiveness and simplify a restaurants daily operation. 


Some of the main forms of technology that restaurants have made a priority of using are cloud-based tablet POS system instead of a traditional cash register, and utilizing a website more effectively by giving customers the option to order online. Less prominent solutions include mobile apps, mobile payments and tabletop/kiosk tablets. 


Independent restaurants struggle to incorporate the latest forms of payment technology, as they do not always have the funds to add them to their business strategy. Typically, chain restaurants and franchises have more resources and money to install these modern forms of technology. 


“Franchisees and chain-operated restaurants have a higher rate of technology adoption, likely because of the resource network they can tap into through their brand. Independent restaurants have to basically start from scratch on things like smartphone apps and POS systems,” Annika Stensson, NRA’s director of research communications, said. 


For quick service restaurants, alternative payments are a great feature as they are quicker to process transactions. Stensson mentioned that speed is the number one priority for quick service restaurants, as most of their customers prefer to use mobile payments, online ordering, and smartphone apps for purchases. 


For other restaurants that have not implemented alternative payments, cost was the number one reason for lack of adoption.


“Cost is still perceived as the biggest barrier to implementing more customer-facing technologies, along with lack of existing infrastructure and customer acceptance. Finding cost-efficient solutions and convincing arguments as to their importance are paramount for restaurant operators,” Stensson said. 


Increased Focus on Mobile Payments
Mobile solutions are becoming increasingly important restaurants to remain competitive. When it comes to mobile payments, the NRA discovered that 20 percent of consumers with smartphones use a mobile app frequently for their restaurant purchases and 39 percent of consumers stated they would use mobile payments within a physical restaurant if it were accessible. 


Within the quick-service restaurants, 43 percent of restaurant owners said they provide mobile payment options and 26 percent said they would incorporate mobile payments within a year. Across the fast-casual restaurants, 31 percent said they offer mobile payments, while only 25 percent would incorporate mobile payments within a year. 


In fact, security was noted as the number one reason why restaurants want to adopt mobile payments. 


“Many mobile payment apps encrypt or scramble credit card information before it ever reaches a restaurant’s mobile payment acceptance terminal,” Laura Knapp Chadwick, NRA’s director of commerce and entrepreneurship, said in the report. “This means hackers and criminals pose much less of a security threat. Because the customers’ information is encrypted, it’s one less thing restaurateurs need to worry about protecting on the back end.” 


In order for restaurants to stay relevant, it is important for them to integrate the latest forms of payment technology; not only to cater towards the digital-driven consumer but also for enhanced security. By implementing new technology and alternative payments, incorporating mobile payments, and upgrading their products and solutions, restaurants will be able to boost their revenue and gain loyal customers in return.