Restaurants Are Missing Out On Improving CX, Revenue
Restaurant operations were very much disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Closing mandates, a shift to takeout, staff turnovers, and the pressing need to have a digital presence hit owners and managers suddenly. But after surviving all these challenges, many restaurants are still missing out on taking a look at the checkout process. This article explores what restaurants need to do to avoid losing customers due to payment method preference and how to stand out by offering a quick and easy checkout.
QR codes are popping up everywhere these days after the pandemic drove a push toward contactless. Restaurants that haven’t yet done so should consider introducing a QR code-powered digital menu. These are fairly easy and inexpensive to do – this site does the QR code for free. This could save considerable printing expenses. A freelance designer can make it visual. Pictures are very helpful, especially if the menu is less traditional – and may save the staff from having to explain the dishes repeatedly. This also manages the customer’s expectations. Also, restaurant managers should be able to update the menu online. This comes in handy when the restaurant is running out of certain ingredients or the capability to offer particular dishes or seasonal plates.
In addition to QR codes, extending a restaurant’s POS to accommodate mobile, handheld staff devices and/or payments directly from guests’ personal devices is now essential.
Tableside: serving a good experience
Anyone appreciates being served promptly, and that counts for the checkout too. Bringing the bill and taking the card back to the cashier for a transaction poses a risk of fraud and takes away time from the restaurant staff. A faster turnover of tables would make a difference when the restaurant is operating at full capacity.
Trend Report: How Pay-at-the-Table Technology Can Drive Revenue
Pay at the Table - a mobile POS (point of sale) that enables restaurants to accept and process payments at the table:
- optimizes the dining experience for guests while saving servers’ time.
- can pre-suggest tips, which:
- eliminates the pen and paper handling;
- eases the pressure (and time) on customers to calculate tips on the spot;
- increases the chances of the staff getting well tipped. With higher tips, servers may be happier and more likely to stay on the job – improving employee tenure.
- Some systems can offer survey options to measure food quality and service levels – and this data can be leveraged as business intelligence.
- Allows for bill split with a few clicks for most credit card transactions, making it convenient for customers in groups, who will appreciate having the bill settled in real-time.
Restaurants that either have high traffic or have a more established business operation can benefit from:
- Kiosk ordering and up-front paying. McDonald’s is a reference for self-service mode for high-traffic areas, such as airports and shopping malls. It reduces the demand on staff while presenting a visual experience for your customers. In tourist areas, the items’ pictures are self-explanatory, and menus may be offered in different languages for foreign visitors, further reducing the demand on staff while offering a modern experience.
- Having its own mobile app, Chick-fil-A offers alerts with geo-location, texting receipts, knowing favorite past orders, locations, payment methods, and various pick-up possibilities (curbside, drive-thru, in-person). All of this while also giving customers loyalty points. Some modern POS systems offer many of these same features through their own app stores, allowing restaurants with a local reach to compete with the national brands and offer the latest technology to their customers.
Cash – with caution
While offering all payment methods is important, handling cash comes with risks, such as robbery, having employees harmed, or even employees making mistakes when handling bills. Transferring and depositing cash becomes an extra burden for the restaurant manager, who is usually tasked with making bank deposits.
It is expected that restaurants will accept payments in cash, but consumer preference has shifted to digital and contactless payments.
Restaurants can benefit from free accessories such as check presenters, signage and hand sanitizer dispensers offered by various card networks. Most card brands offer free items that help merchants to signal which payment options they offer. They are presented on this website or this one – and are free.
Even with the economic uncertainty, restaurants have had a surge in demand, and this is a great time to re-evaluate the payments offer and how the checkout process could be optimized and leveraged as a differential to customer experience.