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Brenda McCurry

How Pay-at-the-Table Solutions Can Pay Dividends

It’s no secret that a restaurant’s success is dependent on its ability to offer the best customer experience possible. In today’s digital world, one hiccup can lead to negative reviews on social media, and even the best food and service can be undermined if the final component of the meal – paying the bill – goes awry.

The traditional process of paying for a meal – from printing the check to incorporating the tip – averages 12 steps, making it one of the most time-intensive components of dining out. That’s an extra nine minutes after the meal has finished, preventing table turnover and tying up servers. However, for restaurants that have implemented pay-at-the-table solutions, that time is cut in half. And when it comes to improving the customer experience, that’s not where the benefits end.

Faster table turnover
As previously mentioned, optimizing table turnover time is key to a successful restaurant. In fact, a study from Upserve found that the ideal turnover time is 45 minutes. Until that point, the restaurant collects an average of $2.21 per minute that the table is there. After that point, that number drops to $1.54 per minute, meaning the ability to increase table turnover has the potential to pay major dividends over time. Of course, from the customer’s perspective, that’s also time that they’re not impatiently waiting to pay. According to a TSYS survey, 32 percent of consumers rank the speed of the transaction as the most important payment consideration in a restaurant, meaning those few minutes will also pay dividends in terms of customer satisfaction.

Improved customer security
The same TSYS survey found that 61 percent of customers rank security as the most important payment consideration in a restaurant, yet the majority of Americans don’t think twice about giving a stranger their debit or credit card to pay the check – a concept that most Europeans have long forgone. This practice potentially provides an opportunity for bad actors to steal your financial information or make unauthorized purchases. By implementing pay-at-the-table solutions, customers will know that their personal information is safe.

Increased tips
There are a lot of opinions when it comes to tipping. How much is the right amount? Is rounding sufficient? What if mental math isn’t quite my thing? Pay-at-the-table solutions make tipping simple by offering suggested tips and percentages, allowing patrons to quickly and easily select the desired amount and complete the transaction. On average, the ability to leave an exact percentage means that servers tend to leave with more money in their pockets.

Higher customer engagement
Since servers work predominately for tips, they know that increased face time with their tables is in their best interest. By reducing the time it takes to complete transactions, servers spend less time walking to and from the table and the POS terminal and more time interacting with their customers. This relatively easy solution increases customer satisfaction and increases the likelihood of positive reviews, representing a clear investment in the future of the restaurant.

It’s understandable that old habits die hard. While Americans are accustomed to the status quo, that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in change. Some 72 percent of Millennials – people from ages 25 to 39 – would prefer pay-at-the-table solutions, with Gen X following closely behind. With more than one million restaurants in the United States, there’s incredible potential for resellers to demonstrate the benefits of pay-at-the-table technology. Be sure to talk to your ScanSource representative about how elevating the final dining component can lead to increased profitability, more satisfied staff and happier customers.