The restaurant business is fiercely competitive. Whether you flip burgers in a back corner of rural America or are the owner of a top-flight eatery in a lively urban metropolis, quality food and excellent service always need to be at the top of your priority list. At the same time, don’t forget about staying on top of digital trends since they could make much more of a difference than you may think.
Why Innovative Digital Payment Solutions Are So Important
Sure, there is something to be said for the appeal of novelty, and that is as true of the restaurant industry as it is anywhere else. However, there are other reasons why digital solutions are taking the culinary business by storm.
For one thing, they can boost your efficiency. After all, having a tablet at each table that allows customers to view the menu, order appetizers and entrees, play games, and make credit card payments goes a long way toward freeing up your staff. That doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have work; they can simply use their time in better ways. They can explain what is being offered, help out if another part of the establishment has more demanding tables, and have extra time to chat with and be charming to their customers.
In addition, digital payment technologies can leave your patrons feeling more in control of their dining experience. When people can order and pay on their own schedule instead of that of your servers, their overall mood is much happier when they walk out the door. That can ultimately lead to customers sharing positive reviews of your eatery with their friends and family. Since so much of the restaurant business happens because of word of mouth, this is a big win for you.
Another advantage to cutting-edge payment technologies is the added security that both customers and merchants experience. Today’s smartphones come equipped with built-in digital wallet applications that allow users to input and safely store their sensitive credit card payment data, including card numbers, expiration dates, and security codes. When a restaurant has the capacity to accept contactless payments using their restaurant payment processor, customers can simply place their device near your reader and input a password or a fingerprint. Within a matter of seconds, money has electronically transferred from their account with no need for a physical card or wallet. When people know how fast and convenient payments will be and that they do not need to have cash on hand, they may even spend more. Once again, you are the chief beneficiary.
Make Your Own App
Big chains such as Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts have been garnering a good deal of success with their slick and professional apps for years. When they use them, customers can not only take advantage of special discounts and coupons but also order items in advance. At the same time, the restaurants in question gain access to valuable customer reporting.
By hiring a mobile app developer, businesses of all sizes have the ability to create their own app which can make the checkout process easier and smoother for customers. The less people need to stand in line to order and pay, the happier they will be and the more room you will have for those customers who may never warm to the idea of ditching the human touch.
In recent months, Burger King has introduced its virtual WhopperCoin to Russian consumers. Each time someone buys this particular iconic BK sandwich, they receive one WhopperCoin token via their digital wallet. Over time, these can be combined to purchase Whoppers during a later visit to the chain or even traded online with other consumers. You might consider being creative and adding some form of this quirky way to pay.
Harness the Smartphone with Food Delivery
Perhaps you have been weighing the pros and cons of offering delivery services to your customers. Up until recently, many entrepreneurs have shied away from delivery because of the cost as well as the hassle. After all, you had to find someone who would do the driving. You would also need to either reimburse them for mileage or furnish your delivery staff with cars. In short, the thought of figuring out the ins and outs of this process might just have seemed to be too much.
These days, mobile phones allow customers to order via their devices through a third-party app such as Uber Eats. Then, instead of your staff doing the work, one of their drivers simply comes to your door when the order is ready and brings it to the customer. Sure, you pay a fee for this service, but it may be worth it. Just think of the added reach your brand might achieve.
Augment Your Customers’ Reality
At a time when augmented reality is in its infancy, it may be challenging to imagine how it could impact the owners of small restaurants. However, the potential is there. When you consider that the coffee giant Starbucks has already incorporated it into their Shanghai Reserve Roastery to make it more interactive and customer-friendly, it’s not so hard to see how the technology could eventually trickle down to you. With their virtual tour guide app, customers can interact with various key features at the roastery and learn more about them in an updated way, somewhat similar to the audio tour headsets that have been the hallmark of museums around the U.S. for years.
As this technology evolves and becomes more inexpensive, micro-establishments will be able to get into the game, making dining in even more of an experience. These systems are also being utilized by large restaurants such as KFC in order to train their staff. In KFC’s AR escape room, for instance, trainees play a game in order to learn the complex process of preparing the chain’s signature chicken. Modeled after the escape rooms that have become popular entertainment spots for parties and other social events, the game does not allow new staff to leave the virtual room until they succeed at frying the poultry just right. Take a minute to think about how that might help you and your servers at some point in the future.
No matter what food you serve or how large or small your establishment might be, you know as a restaurant owner that change is a fact of life. The digital payment technologies that are coming down the pike represent the next wave of innovation. However, you will always have people who simply want to put down cold, hard cash for the food they buy. The wise restaurateur will make both types of customers feel equally welcome.