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Cashless Is King: Contactless Interactions Become More Important Than Ever


Over the last decade, the global restaurant industry has gradually been migrating away from cash in favor of new payment technologies. According to Juniper Research, more than half (53 percent) of global transactions running through Point-of-Sale (POS) systems will be contactless within five years, compared to just 15 percent this year. The firm estimates contactless payments will triple to $6 trillion worldwide by 2024, from about $2 trillion this year.

Though Europe and Asia have led the charge in popularizing digital transactions, current events have nudged restaurants around the globe – especially in the United States – to accelerate their adoption of this technology.

Cashless payment technology enables quick and easy customer transactions, convenient accessibility through mobile wallets, and often lowers the overall risk of on-premise theft thanks to the reduction of onsite cash. Organizations around the world, such as the British Retail Consortium and MasterCard, have already begun loosening their contactless payment restrictions in order to meet the growing demand for contactless customer interactions.

Over the past few months we’ve also seen rise of contactless delivery, whereby a customer’s order is left in an agreed-upon location instead of directly handed over by a delivery worker. Contactless payment ensures the entire process can be completed without physical interaction.

Practically speaking, a restaurant’s contactless plan can be as simple as setting up a pick-up center like Panini Internazionale, which has a contactless food collection process that simply asks Panini customers to place orders via the brand’s app and select a collection time. Upon receipt of the order, the kitchen prepares the food at the optimal time to ensure freshness and delivers it to the collection point. The customer is then notified when the meal is ready for pick up.

The Contactless In-House Experience

As reopening begins, restaurants are reexamining their plans for handling on-premises ordering and dining. With social distancing in place for the near future, a contact-free business model is a smart approach to increase speed of service, in addition to reducing risk and labor costs.

There are multiple use cases and benefits for contactless in-house experience, here are a few:

  1. Speed of Service: Expect to see a rise in demand for online ordering prior to arrival. This will benefit the brand in that they can anticipate, prep, and have food ready when diners arrive. On the payments side, studies show that the wait time between finishing a meal and receiving a check has a negative correlation with customer satisfaction as time ticks on. Completing the visit with contactless payment, either onsite at the table via mobile tablet or personal mobile device, eliminates the wait.
  2. Security: There remains a perception by a portion of consumers that mobile payment is less secure than credit cards, but the fact is mobile wallets can be more secure. Mobile payments are processed without the transfer of sensitive information, and as long as the restaurant POS system has the necessary security protocols in place, the risk of data breaches is lower to consumers and brands.
  3. Loyalty: Now more than ever, keeping a loyal customer will be infinitely more beneficial than trying to attract and retain new ones. Understanding customer sentiment, buying patterns, and preferences will allow restaurants to tune their offers, menu, and promotions. A seamless integration between the restaurant’s mobile payment technology, loyalty program, and point of sale will drive better insights for short- and long-term business decisions.  

As restaurants rebuild and reimagine the customer experience, providing a thoughtful journey from initial discovery to on-premises experience is important. Minimizing friction and giving consumers a simple, self-guided path will entrust them to your brand and allow for great efficiency in back of house. For more information, visit our COVID-19 resource center.


About the Author

Chris Adams has over 20 years’ experience in the hospitality technology industry. Following time with Marriott, Chris began his career at MICROS (now Oracle Food and Beverage) in 2000 and has worked across many positions throughout his tenure, including operations, customer success, consulting and sales. Having worked in multiple countries and regions, Chris was Managing Director of Australia prior to the Oracle acquisition.

Today, with his passion to see our customers succeed, Chris drives the strategy for Oracle Food and Beverage’s global portfolio as Global Vice President of Strategy and Solutions. Chris is based in Maryland when not traveling the world spending time with our team, customers and partners.

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