Consumer dependency on smartphones has created a sales channel for organizations to reach buyers and enhance the customer experience.
Mobile payment is a relatively new solution that allows buyers to securely store their billing information in their portable devices. This enables customers to streamline mobile and in-store purchases by simply presenting the device at the final transaction.
Therefore, restaurants should consider different processing methods and how accepting mobile payments can impact sales and customer satisfaction.
Types of Mobile Payments
Transactions aren't complete once customers log their credit card information and personal data into their mobile devices. Restaurants still need to install compatible technology that is able to retrieve and process the buyer information.
Although many businesses already have an established point-of-sale (POS) system, there are different ways restaurants can accept mobile payments-
- Near-Field Communication Payments
This means the mobile device does not even need to touch the terminal in order for the merchant to receive the customer's information. The device only needs to be within a few inches of the POS system to detect the NFC. Once it is recognized, the transaction is completed almost immediately.
Unlike pin and chip methods, NFC encrypts the consumer's information to secure their transaction, making it a preferred payment solution among many shoppers. Popular digital wallets that use NFC technology include Apple, Google, and Samsung Pay.
- Sound Waves-Based Payments
Recognized by most mobile phones, sound waves containing encrypted payment details are sent from the POS terminal to the device. The device then converts the data into analog signals and returns the requested information to complete the purchase.
This payment solution does not require any additional hardware, only a software installation or add-on. Therefore, restaurants with existing POS systems can simply integrate their processes with the new software to immediately accept signal-based payments.
- Magnetic Secure Transmission Payments
Most card readers accept MST payments as they are already equipped to process traditional credit cards. Some digital wallets, including Samsung Pay, utilize both MST and NFC technology to provide different contactless payment solutions.
Benefits of Accepting Mobile Payments
Restaurants that have reservations about whether they should expand their payment processing capabilities should consider the benefits that mobile payments offer both the business and customers-
1. Improved Table Turnover
Studies show that restaurants using mobile payment technology increase their table turnover time by 15 minutes. Cashing out guests can quickly become complicated when a party wants to split a bill.
With mobile payments, customers can divide and pay for their meals on their own, from their table. By eliminating the need to wait for a server to bring the bill and receipt, customers can streamline the transaction process, allowing employees to turnover tables quicker.
2. Enhanced Customer Experience
Less and less consumers are carrying physical cash, and instead, rely on their virtual wallets. Therefore, if a restaurant is unable to accept mobile payments, they can lose potential guests.
By offering the mobile payment option, restaurants can provide the most convenient, up-to-date payment solution, enhancing their guests' experience.
3. Access to Real-Time Data
The immediate data sharing capabilities that mobile payments provide enables restaurant owners to see real-time sales metrics. Management can see how many tables each waiter has served, which parties have cashed out, and the day's sales.
Mobile payments also prompt a review and final acceptance from the customer, allowing guests to leave feedback on their visit. This enables management to address any poor ratings before the guests leave.
4. Increased Tips
Mobile payment applications generate calculated tip options based on the total, so customers do not have to rely on their calculators.
Most applications offer three percentage options and a chance for guests to submit custom tips, eliminating any guesswork and increasing tip amounts. In fact, California Pizza Kitchen found that their tips increased by 40% after switching to in-app payments from traditional methods.
5. Secure Payments
Traditional credit card payments, like the EMV or chip methods, have had issues securely completing transactions, putting customers at risk of theft and fraud.
However, mobile payments use NFC and other technologies that encrypt personal data to keep the information safe. Aside from in-app security, many mobile apps also need a verified passcode, fingerprint, or face recognition to even allow users to view their accounts. These features minimize the risk of security breaches for both the consumer and business.
Preferred payment methods among shoppers are shifting, regardless of whether their favorite businesses are adapting to technological trends. Therefore, restaurants should consider updating their processing abilities to enhance their customer experience, attract new guests, and increase sales.