VIDEO: Changing Payments in Restaurants with Pay-at-the-Table

The payment experience within the restaurant industry is beginning to change with the help of the EMV migration and new Pay-at-the-Table solutions. We caught up with experts within the payments industry to gain insight on how the Pay-at-the-Table will change payment acceptance, guest experience and efficiency in restaurants.

Watch the video below:

What are some of the market drivers for Pay-at-the-Table in the US?

Greg Burch, Head of Product, Software, North American / Ingenico Group:

So, in the United States the main drivers that are creating demand for Pay-at-the-Table are, one, EMV. So, as consumers are getting EMV cards, they’re starting to recognize that those cards now are associated with security and securing their identity. They’re starting to become aware that they don’t want these cards leaving their possession. In a traditional dining environment, usually you put your card down at a table and it’s taken to a point of sales system. So, what we’re doing with Pay-at-the-Table is we’re enabling bringing point of sale to the point of service. So, the card never leaves the person’s possession. What’s really fascinating about that - what we’ve learned as this launched in other countries is that actually restaurants that enable pay-at-table, they see increased table turns. So, there’s increased efficiencies and they see an uplift in tip because consumers and cardholders may perceive a better level of service when the checkout happens right when they’re ready to leave. We also see that with mobile wallets as people come into restaurants and they want to pay with Apple Pay or Android Pay - if you think about that scenario in today’s environment, a person would have to take the phone away which is really not ideal. So, instead with using our pay-at-table solution, the device is brought to the consumer and the phone is tapped. It never leaves their possession. It really enables the acceptance of Apple Pay, Android Pay and other mobile wallets.

Christopher Kronenthal, CTO, FreedomPay:       

EMV and NFC are actually fighting the same fight for Pay-at-the-Table which is how do you provide somebody the ability to authorize a card, give them a check and then have the waiter or waitress not be present while you’re doing all the sensitive parts while deciding who’s going to pay what or how much you’re going to tip or the fact that you want to be done with that transaction as a consumer, get up and walk away, and still allow the restaurant to close out that check as they normally do. So mobility as an enabler, as a component to that, it’s actually I think one of the really rare used cases where NFC will be piggybacking off of the requirements and EMV to make that successful.

How does a restaurant benefit from implementing a Pay-at-the-Table solution?

Ian Drysdale, EVP of Sales & Business Development, Elavon

We believe that it is a better guest experience. It is much more productive for the restaurant to avoid having a server go back and forth as the check is delivered, as they pick up the card, as the tip is entered. That is a very inefficient process. So if they pay at the table it is a much more efficient process. There is less likely to be an error made in entering the tip because the consumers entering the tip themselves. For a restaurant with a lot of international guests, it is a much more comfortable and familiar environment to do a chip and pin at the point of sale or at the table.

If the consumer feels comfortable that their card is not leaving their sight they are going to be much more comfortable with that restaurant. Restaurants are one of the primary points of fraud in the US, as when that card disappears to be swiped. Sometime somebody is using a mobile phone to take a picture of the front and back of it or they are swiping it under their apron to help create a fraudulent card. When the consumer does not let the card leave their hand, they are much more comfortable with that restaurant. They have a greater level of trust and they are more likely to come back.

I believe that a restaurant who is putting Pay-at-the-Table in place is going to be seen by their patrons as much more advanced, much more with it, and much more concerned about the welfare of their customers than people who are presenting classic tip trays or leather folios with the card brand on them. It is a much more seamless and much more advanced approach to managing customers.

Ruston Miles, CIO, Founder, Bluefin Payments:

Pay-at-the-Table actually helps secure against counterfeit fraud because a sometimes in these fraudulent situations a server or a person will take that card, go to the back, palm it, scan it, etc.  et cetera - make a copy of that. That’s a little more difficult to do when it’s pay-at-the-table and the card is in the hand of the consumer. So, it might actually drive down fraud a little bit.

How can restaurants successfully implement Pay-at-the-Table?

Christopher Kronenthal, CTO, FreedomPay:

A lot of doing Pay-at-the-Table right is again preserving that fine balance between what is a chip and PIN standard, which sort of demands that that customer is present and the things like tipping manner added properly, and providing the technological solutions that allow that same experience to happen as it does today in a pre-EMV world.

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