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Innovating with Payment Technology in Full-Service Restaurants

During a MURTEC Interactive Workshop, Kevin McIntosh Vice President, IT of Ignite Restaurant Group and Kathy Sy, former Director, Information Technology for Grill Concepts, facilitated group discussions on key technology strategies and how they impact full-service restaurants. Operators honed in on payment technologies and discussed how to select solutions that align with a brand and ultimately provide an appropriate experience to guests.

Tableside Devices
Tableside tablets are viewed as an alternative for full-service restaurants to put guests in control of the transaction. Tableside devices are also a method to increase speed of service and allow guests to customize their visit.
When considering a tableside tech rollout, operators should consider the following: First, determine the type of device that best fits the restaurant brand. Second, it must fit within a pre-determined budget. Each implementation will get very expensive, so choose one that fits the organization.  
Tips from operators:
  1. Make sure that the connectivity is strong and stable throughout the restaurant. A poor connection will derail a guest experience and hinder acceptance of the devices.
  2. Ensure that the tableside devices are certified and that there is an upgrade plan when the current devices reach End of Life.
  3. Contact references currently using the devices or brand(s) you are researching.  
Mobile Apps
Restaurants with mobile apps must continually look to improve the guest experience and app interaction to keep guests engaged with the app. Having an app that does not prove to be valuable to your guest will result in its deletion. Apps must provide value and pique the guests’ interest: whether it’s fun – such as a game or contest, or functional like tracking orders, paying or looking up menu information.
The benefit of having the guests pay directly from the mobile app on their own devices is that: 1. You do not have to invest in expensive tableside devices, and 2. Since the payment type is not touched by your servers and devices, it will take the liability of chargebacks away in most cases.
Online Ordering              
With the rise of restaurant delivery companies in the market, restaurateurs are realizing the potential in Enabling online ordering and either curbside pickup, delivery or both.

Today’s guests are accustomed to being able to get anything they want online and at the touch of a button, so naturally, this extends to foodservice.
In order for online ordering to be successful, restaurants must establish strategies and protocols to deal with orders on the back-end. Creating a seamless experience with online ordering is only successful if those orders can be delivered in a frictionless way.

The last thing an operator needs is to misplace or overlook a guest’s order. Restaurants must ensure that the Online Ordering tool is fully integrated with the POS.

To create a seamless online ordering transaction, the proper tool should have these attributes: 
  1. Order placed online is sent directly to the POS system as an order
  2. The online order automatically prints out/displays in the kitchen
  3. Menu synchronization to ensure that the guest is not ordering an item that is unavailable or sold out
  4. Allows payment.
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