One of the red-hot trends in the restaurant industry—not to mention the hospitality and retail worlds at large—is mobile payment. More and more dining establishments are using this technology that allows for their customers to pay for meals over their smartphones or other mobile devices. Here’s a closer look at the idea, and how it could revolutionize your restaurant.
The Rise of Mobile Payments
With so many consumers (and diners) armed with their smartphones around the clock, it only makes sense there’s a massive push to be able to pay for goods and services via these always-handy gadgets. A 2016 survey undertaken by Hospitality Technology (as reported in this writeup) found that three out of five diners would prefer to use mobile payments, and better than half stressed that the ability to do so would impact what restaurants they chose to patronize.
The same study found that, at that time, less than half of surveyed restaurants offered mobile payments—a bit of a disconnect with demand—but follow-up Hospitality Technology surveys since have showed a significant uptick in the number of establishments adopting the technology. Indeed, restaurants, bars, and cafes are among the hotbeds of mobile payments these days, along with big-box stores and other retailers.
The Hospitality Technology article reports that the mobile payment transaction market is forecast to hit an impressive $2.85 trillion in 2020, so this is most definitely a trend worth understanding, even if you’re not ready or able to integrate mobile payments into your business yet.
The Value of Mobile Payments in the Dining Industry
Today’s diners are more interested in ever on speedy service, which of course is desirable from the eating establishment’s perspective as well.
This Medium article summarizes three specific forms that mobile point-of-sale transactions are taking. One is the contactless approach, in which customers’ smartphones relay their saved payment information directly to the restaurant’s system. The prepayment route, widely used now in fast-food and takeout joints, sees customers order online and pay at the same time. Finally, mobile ordering allows patrons to place their orders online at the establishment itself, which speeds up preparation and minimizes ordering errors. (As the Medium piece notes, this is also a game changer at busy bars: Customers don’t have to wrestle their way to the front and try to flag down an overworked bartender to place their drink order.)
Mobile Payments: Part of the New Dining Routine
As with so much technological innovation—mobile devices themselves, for instance—it’s amazing to see how quickly diners are becoming accustomed to completing their transactions entirely online. There’s much potential for dramatically improved efficiency and customer satisfaction for restaurants that become compatible with mobile payments, and there is certainly no shortage of apps ready to help facilitate the process.