EMarketer projects mobile payments in the United States will total $9 billion in 2015, topping $55 billion just two years later. Many of those dollars will pass through POS systems in the restaurant industry.
From high-end establishments to quick-serve restaurants to local food trucks, mobile POS and data capture solutions offer many benefits for both restaurant owners and customers.
Orders arrive in the kitchen faster with fewer mistakes, reducing food and beverage losses. Wait staff is easily prompted to upsell or cross-sell, increasing revenue. Customer wait times fall, and table turnover rises because of quicker ordering and payment processing. And when consumers have the opportunity to pay with a card rather than cash, card users are likely to spend more.
Here are five innovative data capture solutions for restaurants of all sizes.
1. Speed ordering and payments for table servers
Servers in busy restaurants often spend more time writing down orders and walking to a POS station to enter them than interacting with customers. That's why many businesses are turning to tablet-based data capture solutions for order entry and payment processing.
Available on a variety of hardware platforms, the larger screen display offers detailed menu item descriptions, improves the speed and accuracy of orders, and moves payments back to the table, keeping credit cards in customers' hands at all times. And many of the new applications allow customers to split tabs, combine bills from several tables, and calculate and add tips automatically. That means faster table turnover, larger tips, and increased customer satisfaction.
2. Reduce lines during busy meal periods
Long lines can discourage potential customers, leading to lost revenue and reduced loyalty. But mobile POS can be used in a variety of ways to serve more people in the same amount of time.
Employees with portable mobile devices can move out from behind the counter and serve as both order taker and cashier, getting customers out the door faster and generating more revenue from a fixed meal period.
3. Capture valuable customer information
Historically, credit card transactions provided little to no information about customers to the restaurant owner. But mobile POS applications offer some exciting data capture opportunities.
Customers are often willing to part with mobile phone numbers and email addresses in exchange for coupons, discounted meals, and rewards. Savvy business owners are targeting consumers with offers based on geographic location and dining preferences, along with more sophisticated loyalty programs tied to mobile devices rather than paper punch cards.
4. Reduce fraud liability with EMV compliant mobile POS devices
With the impending EMV Initiative and associated liability shift, more customers will be pulling EMV chip cards from their wallets. Responding to an October 2015 deadline from payment processors, merchants must ensure every card reader is EMV compliant, or shoulder the costs of card fraud.
Most of the current generation of card readers accept transactions using either mag stripe or chip, but will default to the most secure environment. And manufacturers are offering add-ons or upgrades, turning mobile devices into EMV compliant card readers.
5. Accommodate early adopters of mobile wallet technologies
More and more consumers are choosing to carry a smartphone and leave their wallet at home. And with the advent of NFC technologies like Google Wallet and Apple Pay, those customers can "tap and go" at their favorite restaurant.
Designed for an EMV compliant environment, studies show NFC payments can reduce transaction time up to 25 percent as compared to paying with cash.
While some of these mobile payment technologies are very new to business owners and diners alike, none is going away anytime soon. Restaurant owners must adapt to survive and thrive as payment transactions continue to evolve.
Which mobile POS and data capture solutions are you recommending for restaurant owners?