Restaurant payment trends for 2022

Stay on trend with these four technologies that deliver the payment experiences consumers want.

The restaurant industry has transformed, and life is different now, both in how you interact with your customers and how you operate. The pandemic drove changes in consumer preferences, and you implemented new ways to accept orders and serve your customers. And along with establishing new processes—and maybe even a new business model – it’s smart also to enable new types of restaurant payment to offer your customers the greatest convenience while giving your business the advantage of greater operational efficiency.

Consider these four restaurant payment trends, their benefits, and which you definitely need to implement in 2022.

1. Contactless payments

Many consumers tried contactless payments for the first time during the pandemic – and they understand the benefits. A 2020 survey conducted by The Harris Poll found that 42 percent of consumers believed contactless, tap-and-go payments as the safest in preventing the spread of disease. Waving a contactless card or a smartphone with a mobile wallet app near a card reader equipped with near-field communication (NFC) technology, your customer can make a payment without touching a payment device, handing a card over to a server or using unsanitary cash.

Now that consumers have tried contactless payments and got into the habit of using them, they have also experienced how fast, easy and convenient they can be. Additionally, when consumers transact with mobile wallets, they can use the same payment method in person and online giving them one payment type to manage all purchases.

As a result, competitive merchants are responding to this payments trend to give their customers what they want. Coherent Market Insights predicts the contactless payments market will grow to $26.3 billion by the end of 2027.

2. Pay at the Table or Curbside

Automation always makes sense whether a restaurant is operating with a full complement of staff or down a few people. If technology can accomplish a task, a team can focus on higher-value assignments, such as creating loyalty-building customer experiences.

Technology can help restaurants get through the current crisis and, when the restaurant labor shortage ends, operate more efficiently and profitably.

2. Pay at the Table or Curbside

In an era of economic recovery, inflation, labor shortages, and supply chain uncertainty, efficiency is essential. However, some operations still require servers to walk back to a stationary terminal to print a receipt, then go back to run a payment card, return to the table with the check, and then go back to the terminal to add a tip and close the sale. A pay-at-the-table solution eliminates unnecessary steps and enables payment tableside in one streamlined process. Moreover, with contactless payment technology, you can eliminate touch, protecting your staff and your customers. Pay-at-the-table solutions can also be adapted for payment curbside, allowing you to provide a safe, convenient payment option for your patrons who prefer to dine off-premises.

When pay-at-the-table is a feature of an end-to-end mobile-first restaurant point of sale (POS) system, you will see the efficiency gains you’re looking for. Tabit research shows a decrease of 12 to 15 minutes in table turn time at peak and a 20 percent decrease in the number of servers required per shift. Moreover, those efficiency gains don’t come at the expense of customer satisfaction. Tabit users see an 8 to 15 percent increase in spending per customer, and servers typically receive higher tips.

3. Leveraging Consumer Devices for Restaurant Payment

Some restaurants are choosing to create touchless payment experiences in other ways than offering NFC contactless payments. One cost-effective way is to take advantage of the fact that most diners have a smartphone. For example, restaurants can print QR codes for payment on receipts or generate a QR code on a mobile POS device. Then, consumers scan the code with the cameras on their smartphones, which takes them to a payments page where they pay, similar to making a payment for an e-commerce order. Another option is to text a link to pay via SMS so that customers can complete transactions on their own devices.

Restaurateurs can also choose to include payment features in their loyalty apps, which customers may prefer because it gives them more control over the payment experience. They can pay when they’re ready and use loyalty rewards points without intervention from a server.

4. Giving Omnichannel Customers a Choice

Another restaurant payment trend is accommodating omnichannel consumers. Post-pandemic consumers are accustomed to interacting with businesses and making payments on a variety of devices and platforms. Even if your customers are returning to your dining room, you still need to enable online payments and accept the payment types your patrons prefer, whether credit or debit cards, peer-to-peer payments, bank transfers, or gift cards.

Experience is Everything

As you set the course for your business to succeed in 2022, giving attention to details from the moment a member of your staff greets guests until you invite them to return, don’t overlook the role that payments play in a great customer experience.

Ensure that your team is equipped with the right technology to manage payments with minimal friction and maximum customer satisfaction.

Contact Tabit to learn more about managing payment transactions as a part of a mobile-first approach.

This article first appeared on DevPro Journal.