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Lasting shifts are reverberating through the restaurant industry and may for years to come. Staff demands are changing and guest expectations such as customer service style to data security are increasing. Restaurants must respond with the one thing that can help, and that is technology.

Recent survey results provided by the National Restaurant Association are clear. They found that restaurants that want to stay ahead of the curve will have to invest in new technology. A key technology that helps restaurants check many of the boxes is pay-at-the-table.

Here are the main ways implementing a pay-at-the-table solution can assist restaurants in meeting changing demands.

Improve Operational Efficiencies and Reduce Labor Needs

With the labor shortages impacting the restaurant industry, streamlining operations and automating tasks are at the top of every manager’s to-do list.

A pay-at-the-table solution that takes the server out of the payment process frees that server up to spend more time with other guests. Their time should be spent on generating more revenue, not on payment which otherwise is simply a labor expense. The right payment solution can also automatically consolidate tips at the end of a shift which saves an average of ten minutes each shift per employee and additional management time in auditing the tips.

Savings from existing employees’ wages alone, not considering additional revenue generated from upselling, can add up to substantial expense reductions. For a restaurant with a staff of 10 employees, each earning ten dollars per hour and saving ten minutes per shift, the savings would be $500 a month.

By automating tasks that don’t need a human touch, less staff is needed to serve guests.

Attract Better Employees With Advanced Tech That Keeps Them Safe 

Automated tasks aren’t just the way of the future; they are here now. Restaurants that delay adding technology risk losing top-tier server candidates to their competitors. When restaurants choose to work with, not against, technology, they improve the working environment for their staff. 

The pandemic disproportionately impacted restaurant staff. And not just by the temporary closures. They had to consider if potential health risks were worth their earnings. Based on the current struggle to find staff, many of them seem to believe they aren’t.  

When a pay-at-the-table solution takes the server out of the payment process, it reduces the exposure between the guest and the server. It’s also simply more efficient and, most importantly, a better guest experience. There is no need for a server to hover awkwardly over the guest while they complete payment. Leave the payment device at the table for the guest to pay either with a card or with their cell phone. Physical interaction with the server is limited. 

It may also surprise many to know that using a pay-at-the-table solution has been shown to increase the average tip amount. Boosting it by 16%. So, not only does pay-at-the-table able mean less physical contact with customers to protect the server’s well-being, but it also means that the opportunity to increase the server’s earnings is substantial. 

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Develop a Built-In Feedback Loop

A lesser-known benefit of using a pay-at-the-table solution in your restaurant is creating a feedback loop between customers and management. 

Traditionally, unhappy customers would tell a few friends about their experience with a restaurant. But, now unsatisfied customers can be quick to post negative reviews online for thousands of people to see. 

Restaurants can stop these negative reviews before they happen by opening a more constructive feedback loop. 

Using a table pay solution, customers can provide feedback about their experience on the spot. The feedback is immediately available to management so that they can remedy any guests’ concerns while the customer is still at the restaurant. Plus, customers are more likely to provide feedback, good or bad, when prompted, since it doesn’t involve asking to speak to a manager or making anyone uncomfortable. 

The responses can assist in creating new processes and training that may not have been clear without the guest feedback.

Personalize Marketing to Provide a Superior Customer Experience

Customers feel heard by providing feedback with a table pay option. Moreover, when it’s time to pay, guests can conveniently sign up to stay informed of upcoming promotions. 

Once restaurants have digital access to their customers, they can incentivize them to enroll in rewards or referral programs. They can also personalize their email and SMS marketing to their customers by learning what offers appeal to particular demographic groups. 

Customers have made it clear that personalization will be required to keep their attention among all the constant marketing noise. A focused personalized marketing approach is imperative.

Considering the more impersonal broadcasting by many marketing platforms, it’s invaluable to have direct access to customers. According to our data, a pay-at-the-table solution helps to capture up to 40% of customers’ contact information.

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Enhance Security and Boost Customer Confidence 

If overcoming employee shortages and meeting changing customer demands isn’t enough, pay-at-the-table helps restaurants protect guests and restaurants’ payments. 

Using an EMV-enabled payment solution, restaurants can protect against chargeback liability that is time-consuming and potentially expensive. Preventing chargebacks should be paramount for restaurants because even if the restaurant wins a dispute, chargeback fees are imposed on the merchant. Those chargeback fees run $10-50 on average each time. 

The best payment solutions will encrypt card information so the restaurant never has possession of sensitive customer payment data. If the restaurant is subject to a breach of its POS by a bad actor, the restaurant will maintain its reputation with guests knowing that their data was protected. 

Furthermore, since electronic entry of an amount is clear, servers never have to decipher a hand-written tip or total which can accidentally create an entry error. The restaurant can have confidence that the data on the check is valid. 

Lastly, by integrating pay-at-the-table technology directly to the POS as opposed to integrating through third party software, the payment solution reduces unnecessary security risks.

Final Thoughts

With a pay-at-the-table solution, restaurants are meeting shifting demands from customers, employees, and the evolving industry landscape. All while lifting potential revenues. 

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