Business tips

5 ways contactless payments can boost your restaurant's revenue.

By Ryan Gibbons on
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When most people are confronted with the need to make sweeping changes, they get a bit grumpy, resist and protest, and perhaps even refuse to adapt. If you are a restaurateur who is being affected by the pandemic, you may have had no choice but to evolve by changing your physical configuration and implementing essential social distancing measures. If you haven’t already done so, you should strongly consider integrating contactless payment equipment into your updated business plan.

Things to know about contactless payments.

Before we dive in any deeper however, it makes sense to understand what contactless payments are and how they work. In simple terms, contactless or “touchless” payments allow consumers to place their chip-enabled credit card or digital wallet-equipped tablet, smartphone, or wearable near a piece of payment equipment in order to pay for food items. The restaurant’s contactless reader processes the encrypted information that has been stored on the card or in the digital wallet and transmits it to the other players in the payment process. 

Within a matter of seconds, the transaction is generally approved. Best of all, it is quite secure and allows patrons to settle their bills without the necessity of touching anything or dealing with the merchant in close proximity. If you are a restaurateur looking to survive and even thrive during the era of COVID-19 and beyond, there are things to know about contactless payments, which will help you understand the ways they can help.

They demonstrate your commitment to safety.

If there is anything that we know as a result of the pandemic, it is that virtually every aspect of life has been altered. In order to protect themselves and their family members, many consumers continue to severely restrict their excursions outside their homes, often doing without nonessential items, and relying heavily on delivery. Only slowly have diners begun to patronize restaurants again, and they are being quite selective about which ones they choose.

This is where your customer- and safety-centered efforts, including contactless checkout, can really make a difference. You probably already have a loyal base of guests who were regulars at your restaurant before the pandemic hit. Once you incorporate touchless payments and make the fact known to those patrons, many of them are likely to come back. After all, they have probably been craving that special dish that no one makes exactly like you do for many months now. Once they know that they can safely enjoy it again, they might just tell their friends about it as well.

They help to lower fraud incidents.

The fact is that no business is completely safe from criminals. You don’t need to be a retailer of big-ticket items to be in danger of being cheated by an unscrupulous customer. Even if grab-and-go meals are your stock and trade, credit card fraud can take a big bite out of your profits.

One of the biggest vulnerabilities in any retailer’s checkout area has to do with counter staff. Unfortunately, your own employees can give into temptation in the form of readily available credit card numbers and expiration dates that can be copied down in a flash when customers hand over their plastic. With contactless payments, this cannot happen. As a result, the potential for you to be held liable for your customer’s identity theft is minimized.

They reduce costly chargebacks.

Chargebacks are the bane of every merchant’s existence. They occur when a customer bypasses you and directly contacts their credit card company to demand a refund for an item or service they purchased from you. In the case of restaurants, chargebacks often occur when a patron does not recognize the establishment’s name and requests money back because they do not believe the charge was legitimate. In other instances, dishonest customers simply deny that they made the purchase.

Fortunately, contactless payment hardware and the software that drives it must be in compliance with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS). These rigorous benchmarks are set up to protect merchants and customers alike. Having payment equipment that is PCI compliant generally means that you will be the ultimate winner in a chargeback fight. At Payanywhere, we can help simplify the PCI compliance process with our PCI Plus Program

Allows staff to make better use of their time.

Of course, contactless payments are just one part of the touchless features that eateries can adopt. Making reservations, accessing the menu, ordering food, asking for drink refills, and calling a server to the table can all be done with a few clicks on a tablet or mobile device.

Does that mean that cooks are the only personnel you will need at your food establishment? Absolutely not. Think of contactless systems as the silent partner in your restaurant that allows your highly trained servers and hosts to do what they do best: interact with customers. As a result of touchless assistance, diners with questions about food ingredients, wine pairings, or allergy interactions can get the attention of knowledgeable professionals more quickly. Instead of constantly scuttling back and forth to see if an order is up, a server can chat with patrons in a relaxed fashion to ensure that all services meet their expectations. In the end, that leads to a more interactive and positive dining experience.

Leads to happier customers.

When people go out to eat, they want delicious food; that goes without saying. However, in order for them to rave about a restaurant, much more is involved. They want relaxed and competent service from staff who are passionate about the food they are serving. They want their payment experience to be as safe and efficient as possible. After all, who wants their time at the register to be their lasting memory of a night out with friends? Finally, they want to feel welcome and cared about throughout their time in your establishment.

The great news is that contactless payments can help you to achieve all of these customer priorities while simultaneously padding your own bottom line. In these unprecedented times when every penny counts, you can scarcely afford to pass this opportunity by.

Incorporating contactless payments into your restaurant’s business plan is surprisingly easy and affordable. You may need to look no further than your current point of sale provider since most of these companies would be more than happy to assist you in upgrading your systems.

The particular contactless technology you ultimately choose will depend on the type of restaurant you own. For instance, near-field communication (NFC) payments, digital wallets, or a terminal that allows customers to quickly “tap and go” usually work best for casual dining establishments. By contrast, guests who dine in at a more upscale establishment may appreciate the tailored convenience of a specialized app. As you evaluate your unique restaurant needs, ask yourself who your customers are, as well as what type of system fits in best with their collective personality and preferences.

No one knows exactly when it will happen, but COVID-19 will most likely recede and may even disappear altogether. However, no one knows for sure when or if that will happen. In the meantime, restaurateurs like you need to survive. Innovations such as contactless payments may just be exactly what you need to make it through to the other side.