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Why your EMV sales pitch won’t work for restaurants

March 03, 2017

Why your EMV sales pitch won’t work for restaurants

Much has been written about EMV adoption in the U.S., but most of the discussion has been focused on retail deployments. But EMV adoption within the restaurant vertical has been slow to take place mainly because EMV requires workflow changes in addition to technology investments. 

Address EMV fears

For example, with sit-down restaurants using EMV, wait staff must now bring payment devices to the table, requiring the purchase of wireless terminals and installation of a wireless network. Drive-thru restaurants also require changes since customers will no longer be able to hand their card over to be processed inside the restaurant. Finally, for restaurants that offer delivery, drivers will have to carry wireless payment devices.

Clearly, these are significant changes, but worth it when you consider the benefits to customers and increased security of the payments.

Overcome adoption barriers

While these changes do address the main purpose of EMV—reducing card fraud—they also come at a cost. Depending on the size and traffic of a sit-down restaurant, the restaurant might have to invest in dozens of mobile payment terminals. It’s also a fact that currently, EMV transaction take longer to complete than traditional swipes. Since restaurants are focused on turning tables quickly to maximize their revenue, many balk at deploying EMV. The reality is that devices can be left at a table for guests to use at their convenience, causing no real slow-down to table turns.

Payment innovation for restaurants

With restaurants seeing little benefit to upgrading to EMV, you must point out flaws in their thinking, assuage their fears, and build more value into your payment solutions. Don’t focus your sales pitch on EMV security, but other features that will benefit the restaurant.

Today’s latest EMV terminals have powerful capabilities outside of simply processing a payment—such as loyalty programs, gift cards, delivering customer-facing ads and more. Additionally, most of these terminals can handle contactless near-field communication (NFC) payments (e.g., Apple Pay and Android Pay), which is gaining in popularity among patrons and is faster than an EMV transaction.

Obviously, these types of solutions are more complex than a simple EMV terminal deployment. In many cases, you’ll be integrating with customer databases and the POS to provide this functionality. Don’t look at this complexity as a roadblock. On the contrary, by implementing these solutions, you make it more difficult to be displaced by a competitor.

In the end, value-added apps and new functionality can help increase sales, improve the customer experience and provide an immediate ROI for a restaurant—all of which is sure to grab a restauranteur’s attention more than EMV alone.