Mobile Payment Apps Help Offset the Casual Dining Recession

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Mobile Payment Apps Help Offset the Casual Dining Recession

12/07/2016
After a decade of fighting traffic declines, full-service casual-dining chains are discovering mobile payment apps to be the Holy Grail they have been searching for. In this article, MyCheck LLC will discuss the benefits a mobile payment app could provide restaurants that are looking to increase revenue and regain lost business.
 
Rather than investing heavily in new menu items or giving the facility a complete facelift to get people through the doors, restaurants could offer order-ahead and/or delivery service transacted through a mobile payment app instead. Whether customers drive up to pick up, or the restaurant delivers the food to them, sales will rise. As long as the service is quick and orders are correct, customers will come back again and again.
 
Recently, it was reported that Olive Garden is getting 11% of its sales from takeout orders, up 50% during the last three years; Bob Evans’ take-out same-store sales are up by 25%; Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. take-out is now 16% of sales at company-owned restaurants, and the company is now looking at delivery. These restaurants are proof that order-ahead and delivery services are impacting sales in a good way. While some of the largest brands in casual dining continue to struggle, Olive Garden’s same-restaurant sales increased 3.1% throughout 2016 and The Cheesecake Factory has experienced 27 consecutive quarters of positive comparable sales. Both of these companies offer a mobile payment app facilitating experience-based dining. 
 
Mobile Commerce is M-M-Good
Can adding an order-ahead and/or delivery service via a mobile payment app really be that easy? The answer is “Yes.” As long as the mobile payment app selected is seamlessly integrated with the restaurant’s point-of-sale system, it will drive quick returns. The right mobile payment app partner will give restaurant goers a single portal for ordering ahead or requesting delivery right from their smartphones, and it will give businesses a platform to track loyalty and offer rewards.
 
Look at Blockheads for example. This popular New York-based chain is using a mobile payment app based on MyCheck technology for both order-ahead and delivery in addition to pay-at-the table services. Month over month, the chain is experiencing on average a 10% increase in app users. Within six months, the company acquired 10,000 loyalty members. Better yet, the app captured 100% of loyalty member emails vs. a 25% capture rate before the app was implemented. In addition, direct delivery transactions have grown 10 times, and the average ticket size has increased by 3%. Plus, the chain reports that app users visit three times more per month versus regular customers.
 
Dine-In is Delighting Guests Too
While adding order-ahead and/or delivery is a smart way to drive sales, restaurants should not abandon their efforts to win over those who prefer to dine-in. Mobile payment apps are key to a successful experienced-based dining program. Here’s how it works: Upon arrival at the restaurant, guests are given a unique 4-digit code which they share with their server. The server enters the code into the POS, and immediately the customer begins to receive rewards for using the app. With the app, customers can view the live bill, reorder items on the check, split checks among diners, tip their server, pay and receive rewards for their patronage. Multiple methods of payment can be linked to an account so consumers can choose which payment method to use each time. Payment methods include credit card, debit card, Paypal, Android Pay, Apple Pay, MasterPass, Visa checkout and more.
 
Reorders = Revenues
To really drive sales, “reordering” via a mobile payment app is proving to be especially lucrative, as the Not Your Average Joe’s chain can attest. The company is using MyCheck technology to power its NYAJs app. Enabling guests to reorder items on their smartphones enhances the dining experience PLUS it increases the average check spend, the server tip, and the table-turn time.
 
Study Substantiates Claims
An October 2016 study conducted by the Cornell University Center for Hospitality Research reports that restaurant goers are embracing guest-facing technology, such as mobile apps and payment apps. In fact, 70% to 80% of restaurant patrons cited guest-facing technology and mobile apps as reasons for having a favorable experience. Why? Because they like having control over the payment process and they like interacting with technology during their meal.
 
The study focuses on table top technology influences in full-service restaurants. If restaurants remove the cost of adding table-top or tablet hardware and software to each table and enable guests to use their own mobile devices to interact with the wait staff and manage their check — devices they are familiar with and are comfortable using — the findings will be even more favorable. Cornell researchers found that using guest-facing technologies in full-service restaurants results in faster table turns, labor savings, and higher guest checks through the sale of add-ons to the customers’ meals. MyCheck sees this happening with its own technology. Directly integrated to more than 30 POS systems around the world, MyCheck customers are turning tables 6 to 10 minutes faster than before implementation and earning staff 12% higher tips.
 
Owners and operators of full-service, casual-dining restaurants looking for creative ways to increase revenues and regain lost business should consider implementing a proven mobile payment app strategy.