Pay-at-the-Table Enables Restaurants to Streamline Operations Amid Labor Shortages

Recent research has indicated that a top objective for hospitality and retail leaders is finding technologies that optimize the systems they’re currently using in order to streamline processes and gain operational efficiencies.

As dining guest expectations have increased prior to, during, and post-pandemic, technology is helping restaurants meet these needs. Traditional POS systems are robust, but most don’t have the additional functionality, such as mobile touchless and EMV secure payment options, needed for today’s restaurants.

Through integrations with advanced technologies, like pay-at-the-table solutions, restaurants are resolving these limitations in a few simple steps, making their current POS system go further and meeting the needs of dining guests. 

Going Contactless

One of the most significant disadvantages of traditional restaurant POS systems is that they require restaurant staff to have repeated physical contact with guests. Before the pandemic, this was an accepted norm, but now the option to go contactless is a standard alternative. 

The largest point of unnecessary contact is through the payment process. Previously, servers would have multiple touchpoints with the guests to deliver the check, pick it up to process the payment at a stationary POS, and finally return the payment with a paper receipt to the table. 

Fortunately, with simple pay-at-the-table integration, guests can avoid unnecessary contact and pay the way that’s easiest for them. Guests can scan a QR code, insert a chip card, or even use ApplePay to settle their checks, and no one has to deal with multiple paper receipts. If guests prefer a receipt, they can elect a paper or electronic copy. 

Once the payment is complete, the pay-at-the-table solution securely sends the data to the POS in an encrypted format. All records are then secure and conveniently available in one location. 

Streamlining Bookkeeping

Not many managers enjoy bookkeeping, but the task becomes even more daunting if all the charges aren’t readily accessible when it comes time for auditing server tips. Also, managers appreciate easy reconciliation of customer receipts compared to the billing charges recorded in the POS system. Guests don’t always write legibly, so management has to do the best they can to make out the correct tip and total. In some cases, they may guess wrong. 

Using a pay-at-the-table integration ensures that guests are charged exactly what they agree to. Plus, restaurants no longer have to worry about losing customers’ trust from an entry error.

Upgrading Security

Pay-at-the-table means guests never have to hand over their cards to anyone, keeping their personal data secure through Point to Point Encryption (P2PE). Guest credit card information is never at risk of a breach because it is encrypted. Payment is handled through an EMV-enabled device that reduces customer chargebacks. 

A restaurant with $2 million of yearly revenue could see savings of up to $2,500 in chargeback reductions by using an EMV pay-at-the-table solution. When an EMV-capable device is not used, the chargeback liability is shifted to the merchant rather than the card company. Aside from the actual expense of the chargeback, restaurants often don’t have the time to dispute the charge. In some cases, it’s simply easier to absorb the charge – painful as it is – rather than take management time to attempt to resolve it. 

Furthermore, choosing a pay-at-the-table solution that integrates with your POS directly – rather than through cloud-based third-party software – eliminates an extra point of contact and removes an unnecessary potential security threat.

Collecting Customer Feedback

Chances are that the POS system most restaurants currently use doesn’t make it easy to collect customer feedback. Many guests may hold back negative feedback and later unload their emotions in the form of a negative online review.

Without a doubt, it would be in the restaurant’s interest to address guest concerns before they leave your establishment. A pay-at-the-table solution can help them do exactly that. In addition to letting customers take control of their payment, a table pay solution can collect guest feedback in real-time and make it immediately available to management.

Managers can use the feedback gathered to improve the guest experience and to help provide individual training for staff so recurrent issues are avoided. 

Scaling Promotion and Marketing

Staying ahead of the competition isn’t a matter of just attracting new customers, but also requires staying in touch with previous guests so your restaurant stays top of mind. 

Whereas there is no seamless way to get guests’ emails when payment is handled traditionally, a pay-at-the-table solution facilitates building a relationship that is beneficial for both customers and restaurants. When guests enter their payment into a pay-at-the-table solution, they can elect to receive an electronic receipt and opt-in to get special promotions and updates.

Imagine if 40% of each restaurants’ customers provided their email to learn of upcoming promotions and events. With customer contact information, restaurants become less reliant on external ads that often cost more than they are worth.

Evaluating Pay-At-The-Table Solutions

The benefits of adding a pay-at-the-table solution with a traditional POS are clear, but how can restaurants ensure a flawless integration? In keeping a few key points in mind, they can assure a successful integration launch.

  1. Thoroughly investigate prospective technologies, their capabilities, and system requirements. 
  2. Consider the full guest experience including security, safety and convenience aspects, as well as the operational aspects of server efficiencies, reduced costs and increased revenues.
  3. Assign a specific implementation team to help install and train staff in all locations. 
  4. Evaluate customer support offered by the solution team during the initial transition period. 
  5. Ensure that management and staff understand the benefits and will champion the solution going forward. 

As consumer-focused technology evolves, restaurants have to keep pace. The best choice is to make the most out of the systems already in place using a leader in the industry. Selecting the right payments partner should be the top priority.

By adding a pay-at-the-table integration to your legacy POS, you not only create fewer points of contact, which is more efficient and safer, but you also improve the experience for both guests and staff. 

You can learn more about evaluating pay-at-the-table solutions.

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