How contactless pay-at-table benefit restaurant owners

Published December 14, 2020

What makes a simple technology like pay-at-table so alluring? For years, restaurants have been adopting the technology because of what it does for their guests—and for their business. By reducing the steps it takes to pay the check, customers don’t have to sit around waiting to leave. And your employees have time to accomplish other valuable tasks, like seeing to other tables. In fact, it’s pretty surprising how such a small change could make such a big difference—especially during the pandemic. 

Why? Just imagine one of your most loyal customers. After waiting for months, they’re finally getting the chance to enjoy one of their favorite things to do on a Friday night: dining in at your restaurant. They’re excited, but now they are also very cautious. Of course, you’re used to making them feel comfortable and as welcome as possible, but now it’s a bit trickier. 

And that's where contactless pay-at-the-table technologies come in. They help you deliver the excellent customer service your guests have come to expect, while keeping them safer. That’s because, with the right contactless dine-in solution, coupled with the right restaurant pos system, they can see the menu, order and pay, all using a device that never leaves their possession. 

How pay-at-the-table benefits restaurant owners

The most important benefit of contactless pay-at-the-table is making your guests happy with a faster way to pay, but there are many other benefits, too.

Save time, turn more tables.

When you save time for your restaurant guests, you gain the opportunity for others to step through your front doors—and that could lead to a big boost in revenue. And since guests want to reduce the time they spend indoors amid the pandemic, speeding table turns can help guests feel just the tiniest bit safer.

Free up your staff.

Your servers spend a good deal of time doing things that pay-at-the-table eliminates, including manually taking orders, delivering the bill, running payments, bringing receipts to be signed and ensuring those receipts are properly stored. All of that is eliminated with pay-at-the-table, which gives your servers time to be more productive and help them stay focused on creating the best customer experience. 

Increase revenue.

Giving your customers a great dining experience means they're likely to come back more often. And, when they can order as they want using their own device, they’re likely to spend more, too. 

Boost tips for employees

With more customer engagement comes better guest satisfaction at your restaurant, which increases the likelihood of better tips for employees. Plus, most pay-at-the-table technologies can calculate percentages and suggest gratuities, making it easier for customers to leave tips.

Build customer loyalty.

Few things are more important to a thriving restaurant than loyal guests. Not only do they help provide you with a steady stream of revenue, but they also provide you with free advertising by telling their friends, family and co-workers about your fantastic menu and modern experience. On top of serving great food and tasty beverages, when you give your customers the best dining experience possible, you can bet that they’ll return again and again.

Improve order orchestration.

With a complete contactless experience that includes seeing the menu and ordering from their personal device, all orders will flow from the guests directly into the kitchen. Now your four-tops and larger tables will get their food at the same time in a much more organized and speedy orchestration—and their orders will be accurate and customized exactly how they’ve specified.

Make your guests feel secure while elevating their experience

Customers need to be able to trust restaurants with their payment information. As a restaurant operator, it’s your responsibility to implement proper training and technologies to prevent fraud or any payment-related mistakes. Implementing pay-at-the-table technology will elevate your customer experience and make the payment process easier and more secure. 

Coming in a variety of forms, from payment cards to key fobs, devices and mobile wallets, pay-at-the-table, or contactless, technologies have been popular in restaurants in Europe, Canada and Asia. Customers and restaurant operators in the U.S. are starting to catch up, too, because—let’s face it—time is money for both parties.

How your customers benefit when they pay at the table in your restaurant

There are many ways tableside payment helps you give your customers the best dining experience possible, including the following:

  • Payment security—Since a customer’s credit card never leaves their possession, the chance of fraud or a payment process mix up is much lower than when a server runs payments to and from a POS terminal.  
  • Better customer service—Having a tableside payment device at the ready for your customer allows servers more time to offer better customer service and even creates the opportunity for more customer engagement. Your guests, particularly those under the age of 35, have come to expect a very high level of ease and convenience when it comes to how they get what they want—and contactless pay helps you meet those demands. 
  • Increase speed of service. With contactless pay at the table, your customers will spend less time waiting to order and less time receiving their food. Now, their dining experience is enhanced not only at the beginning, but also at the end. So, after they've enjoyed ordering more quickly and receiving their food and beverage while talking to their family and friends, they won't have to wait for the check, then wait to get their card back. They can simply wave goodbye and leave, impressed with the modern, speedy experience—and more likely tell friends and family. 
  • Surprise and delight guests—Many pay-at-the-table technologies can serve greater purposes than facilitating the payment process. Think outside the box with your mobile POS and consider how your staff can use it to increase customer engagement—a tableside device can access your customer loyalty program and offer on-the-spot rewards, sign up new customers to your loyalty program, create instant feedback with the use of quick customer satisfaction surveys and more.  
  • Split checks easily. Your guests will appreciate being able to intuitively pay their share of the bill without having to hand over multiple payment cards and touch the folio. Contactless payment at the table may even give your customers the option to split the check if that wasn't already something you offered. 
  • Overall better dining experience. Your customers come to your restaurant for many reasons. First, they like your food and beverages, but it's also a social experience people are craving especially during the pandemic. With contactless pay at the table, you give them the seemingly simple option of at least being able to dine-in your restaurant and to do it safely. And when you add all the benefits of reducing fraud, and giving them more ease and convenience, their overall dining experience will be even better. 

Questions to ask before implementing pay-at-the-table technologies

Transforming your ordering and payment process doesn’t have to be daunting. While there are many factors to consider before diving right into a new pay-at-the-table technology, being proactive and asking the right questions will help streamline everything from implementation to training employees on your new process. 

Related: Need your restaurant to go contactless—fast? Here’s how to get the right kind of contactless tech for your restaurant, no matter your concept. 

Here are some important questions to ask when adding pay at the table technologies to your restaurant:

  • How long will the migration take? 

  • Is there a risk to speed-of-service or general restaurant operations?

  • Has this migration strategy been used successfully by other restaurants? 

  • Is there a 'backout' option if something goes wrong?

  • Is the migration plan flexible enough to reflect the restaurant’s unique needs? 


Andy Brown, marketing director of payments at NCR, explains that a thoughtful and well-structured plan for your payment system migration can answer these questions before the process begins. 

“Every business is unique, so individual firms will need to find the right migration strategy and partner to meet their specific requirements before going ahead,” he says. 

Whatever your strategy or needs, it’s important to do your research and ask plenty of questions. To provide the best possible customer experience and to gain maximum value out of your investment in a new payment process, it’s key to explore the many options available to you as a restaurant operator.

Give your guests a contactless way to pay.

No app. No worries. Just Scan, Pay & Go

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