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Pay-at-the-Table Perfected: 4 Steps to Solving the Mobile Guest Experience

Mobile payments is something that means a lot of different things, depending on who you are talking to. Right now, mobile ordering and delivery apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats have come along at the right time and are having huge success. They have thrived because they introduced a simple concept that works.

On the other side of mobility in foodservice we have pay-at-the-table (PATT) apps, which have struggled to overtake the traditional “wait for the check, drop off your card, wait some more, and sign” method. PATT’s slow rise could be attributed to hardware requirements or restrictions, high costs, software limitations, flawed user experience, or a number of other factors. Its inherent complexity has made it difficult for a single PATT solution provider to deliver the product that restaurants have been waiting for.

Solving Pay-at-the-Table

So what does a perfect PATT solution look like? Here are four things that restaurants should be looking for in a mobile solution that has legs to grow with their business:

#1: Frictionless

The bottom line is this: if it’s not easier, the customer won’t want to use it. And if the customer doesn’t want to use it, it’s pointless. And, if there’s a chance it will be pointless, it poses a potential risk for the restaurant. The restaurant will need to evaluate the risks against the cost. But, if they go with a cheaper option, it may negatively affect the guest experience and start whole cycle over.

There are thousands of restaurants that have PATT devices sitting on their tables, and a majority of the customers would still rather wait 10-15 minutes for their check than use the mobile device in front of them. This means there is clearly a user experience problem. This is where the cut-and-dry appeal of mobile ordering and delivery gives it an advantage over PATT for restaurants. But where is the “Uber Eats of PATT” that presents a simplified process that actually works? If there were a mobile payment solution that eliminated the current obstacles at a decent cost, it would be a no-brainer for most restaurants.

#2: Interconnected

One of the drawbacks of mobile ordering and delivery is that each solution requires its own tablet device to display orders. This means that establishments that want to give their customers all of the options will need to make room for half a dozen screens or more as a part of their “tablet jungle.”

The lesson that PATT can learn from this is that the ideal solution should present a streamlined, integrated experience that doesn’t require a different device for each function. Some of these additional features should include order-at-the-table, business intelligence, and integration with the mobile ordering and delivery services. The more capabilities that are included in a single package, the better the experience will be for both the staff and the guests.

#3: Secure

With all of the importance put on employing the latest and greatest tech, restaurants should never overlook the importance of strong and reliable payment security. Few things can ruin a business’s reputation faster and more permanently than a data breach. When public and customer trust gets damaged, it can take years — if at all — to recover from the financial and reputational losses.

Any PATT that sacrifices security for flashy features is not worth the risk that comes with it. Just as with traditional point-of-sale workstations, restaurants who adopt PATT should be using layered solutions that work together to remove payment data completely from the merchant environment. We recommend using EMV, tokenization, and PCI-validated point-to-point encryption (P2PE) to fully secure all guest cardholder data. That way, even if there is a data breach, only the encrypted and tokenized data will be stolen, which won’t be tied to actual card numbers.

#4: Data Rich

Today’s consumer services are all about customization. Apps that remember your order and preferences make the experience more personal for the user. This can be brought to the world of PATT. Personalizing the dining experience and keeping the customer engaged is a way to effortlessly build brand loyalty.

Taking interconnectivity a bit further, the most advanced PATT solutions can create and manage intelligent guest profiles, which can then integrate with initiatives like marketing campaigns, loyalty programs, personalized offers, and more. This creates an ecosystem that the customer feels like they are a part of.

Shift4 Is Paving the Way

Earlier this year, Shift4 Payments announced SkyTab, our innovative order- and pay-at-the-table solution that we are offering free of charge to new customers. SkyTab combines state-of-the-art hardware with simple and intuitive software to deliver an exceptional pay-at-the-table experience for restaurants and their guests. Its user-friendly payment interface supports EMV chip cards, NFC, mobile payments and traditional swiped card transactions. SkyTab also includes the ability to split checks, add tips and offers guests their choice of an e-receipt or a paper receipt via the integrated printer.

By eliminating the need for servers to walk back and forth to a stationary POS system, SkyTab improves operational efficiency so that restaurants are able to serve more customers and turn tables faster. Waitstaff can also re-order menu items from the device, making it quick and easy to order another round of drinks or add a second appetizer.

SkyTab delivers on the four necessary PATT features and much more:

  • Free devices
  • Supports both pay-at-the-table and order-at-the-table
  • Seamlessly integrated with the POS system
  • Combines state-of-the-art hardware with simple and intuitive software
  • Customers can rate their dining experience, including management alerts for negative ratings
  • Send e-receipts or print receipts using the built-in printer
  • Populate your marketing database with customer emails
  • Increases tips and table turns
  • Accept EMV, NFC and swiped card payments
  • Wi-Fi and 4G enabled

Learn more about SkyTab by visiting shift4.com/skytab.

About Shift4 Payments

Shift4 Payments is the leader in integrated payment processing, delivering a complete ecosystem of solutions that extend beyond payments to include a wide range of value-added services. The company’s groundbreaking technologies help power over 350 software providers in numerous industries, including hospitality, retail, F&B, e-commerce, lodging, gaming, and many more. With an expansive global footprint that includes 10 offices across the U.S. and Europe and over 7,000 sales partners, the company securely processes more than 3.7 billion transactions annually for more than 225,000 businesses, representing over $250 billion in payments each year. For additional information, visit shift4.com.

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