Modern technology is converging with table service in a profound way. And when it comes to paying the check after a meal, chip cards and their NFC-enabled equivalents require interaction by the guest, necessitating the availability of payments at the table. According to a recent research report “The Restaurant of the Future” by Deloitte, guests have the most appreciation for restaurants where service efficiency is inherent in their workflows. This simple logistical shift in how diners pay for their meals – with table-side devices – has the potential to influence how people think about dining out.
We’ve come a long way from the first iteration of table-side order placement and payments. Not so long ago it consisted of multiple devices cobbled together. However, that proved to be a lot for servers to carry around all day, and cumbersome for operators to manage.
Today, all-inclusive order placement and payment devices are appearing in the market. They’re more compact than ever, yet robust enough to run the POS and accept card payments with a quick dip, tap or swipe – whichever the guest prefers. They can be found around patio seating, poolside and other areas where the need to communicate orders and process payments from afar are important.
Pay-at-table is a disruptive technology, offering considerable value for restaurants. Uses include prompts that tempt the guest with takeout coffee or dessert, for example. Or perhaps they’ll be tempted with an offer that promises a pre-fixe meal for a reduced price when prepaid today. Timely delivery of such offers is known to increase guest spend. What’s more, the amount is simply added to the check which increases overall revenue. It won’t be long before these are introduced into more businesses where they can help create additional revenue, hinting at higher sales. These devices are finding their way into workflows that make it easier for service staff to up-sell or cross-sell while creating a seamless experience. Today’s convergence of technology with table service also provides new ways to enhance the dining experience and gives servers real-time access to information that were previously only captured on whiteboards in the back-of-the-house, or on crib notes maintained by the individual server.
This technological shift can influence much more in dining environments than simply eliminating the less efficient ‘card dance’ as guests pay their checks. And those additional table turns not only result in more revenue, they can also equate to more tips for servers, with more satisfied guests who are likely to return.