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Executive Q&A: The Convenience of Innovative Payment Options

Stephen Talbot wearing a suit and tie
Jon Squire, CEO of CardFree, Inc.

Our research suggests that guest expectations have evolved quickly in favor of convenience and self-service. How are restaurants responding? 

COVID forced restaurants to embrace technology solutions in an industry that long favored “the personal touch.”  Early adopters (primarily QSRs like Dunkin’ and Starbucks) were pioneers and ready for the shift, but Casual/Fast Casual and local brands were forced to pivot or potentially lose their hard-fought business.  

Today we see restaurants embracing Text-to-Pay for phone orders, Order@Table/Pay@Table and our Drive Thru solutions for on-premise efficiencies while leveraging Order Ahead and Loyalty/Offers for off-premise success.  

Naturally physical touchpoints are being minimized, but other positives have come from this transition, like drastically reduced fraud rates with mobile payments and mobile wallets, as opposed to taking card numbers over the phone.

Contactless ordering, payments, and pickup are more popular than ever among restaurant guests. How can contactless transactions and food pickup enhance guest confidence and satisfaction? 

Contactless Dining Is Here To Stay: COVID permanently changed the dining experience as we once knew it. The ability to minimize contact with touchpoints like menus will not decrease post-COVID, as many will remain cautious about those touchpoints.

Surveys have shown that customers prefer having control through paying when they want and eliminating wait times to place orders, which leads to higher table turnover and increased total check value. 

The increase of services like CardFree’s Pay@Table, which allows diners to pay whenever they’re ready, reached high-adoption rates pre-COVID. Consumers have become used to the convenience of paying their bill without waiting for a server and will be looking for faster, more efficient service moving into the post-COVID era. 

CardFree recently partnered with the beloved restaurant, Torchy’s Tacos, known for its inventive “Damn Good Tacos,”across its 97 locations in seven states by updating Torchy’s online ordering and on-premise contactless services. Now live in all Torchy’s locations, CardFree’s services have streamlined and enhanced the user experience on the ordering site, which has already resulted in higher order volume and a higher average ticket.

Hiring and retention of an effective restaurant workforce has become an unprecedented challenge. How can contactless transactions and food pickup help with the labor crisis?

Countless restaurants are struggling to keep up their service standards while staying profitable in the hardest crisis this industry has ever faced.  Services like Order@Table and Pay@Table have allowed servers to spread their table coverage while minimizing the need for check-ins, saving time on the server side and frustration on the consumer side. 

Mobile drive thru solutions have minimized the need for physical card payments while speeding up the line, also removing the need for runners when things get backed up.  Additionally geolocation services can provide exact timing for food pickup and reduce the need for servers to be surveying the curbside.

How can contactless transactions enhance a restaurant’s ability to collect and leverage guest data for future personalization and optimization? 

Contactless, ironically, is driving the ability to better know who your customer is and how they respond to your brand, allowing restaurants access to data to guide their branding and make more informed business decisions.

CardFree is uniquely positioned to provide a Universal Signature of a brand’s customer.  Because we provide services across on-premise and off-premise, we gather data that paints the most complete picture of the customer and behaviors.  We see day part, SKU, store info, flavor/food preferences, payment type, product preference (e.g. Order Ahead for weekdays and Order@Table on weekends), offers redeemed, loyalty participation, etc. – all leading to a Universal Signature that can be targeted down to the individual. 

Learn more at CardFree.com