Restaurant technology helps your eatery run smoothly—and while some restaurant technology trends are hot and then fade away, other solutions are here to stay. Here are four technology trends that have gone mainstream and should be part of your restaurant’s operations:
1. Mobile point of sale
This restaurant technology trend caught on in the U.S. and is a win-win for restaurants that want to increase their table turnover rate and customers who appreciate shorter wait times and more accurate service. Using mobile point of sale (POS), staff can process payments tableside, so the entire transaction takes place in front of the diner, which reduces the opportunity for identity theft.
2. Online ordering and delivery/curbside pickup
Some restaurant technology trends that became mainstays make it easy for people to “click and collect” their restaurant orders. Online ordering is booming—it’s projected to be a $38 billion industry in the U.S. by 2020 according to Business Insider. Online ordering functionality allows diners to place orders through the restaurant’s website or app, choose pickup or dine-in, and pay with a credit card before heading to the restaurant or selecting the delivery option.
For diners who like to pick up their meals, restaurants have introduced curbside pickup, which adds convenience without the cost of overhead for delivery. However, delivery is still king– according to a survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association, this service is important for diners ages 18-34, who responded overwhelmingly (74%) that they would choose delivery if this service was available.
3. Out-of-scope payment solutions and embedded operating system
An out-of-scope (OOS) payment interface is another restaurant technology trend, driven by the need for stronger credit card security. Data breaches pose threats to your customers, ranging from fraudulent charges and cloned credit cards to identity theft. Merchants that are breached may be subject to hefty fines and bad PR that could damage your business.
An OOS solution keeps cardholder information out of the point of sale system, which is a tempting target for hackers. In the OOS model, the POS sends a transaction total to the card-reading device, which communicates directly with the card processor and sends only the authorization information back to the POS. Sensitive information like account numbers and internal verification codes never enters the POS, eliminating the potential for it to be stolen.
Another added layer of security for keeping payment data out of scope is an embedded operating system (EOS). A terminal with embedded POS software restricts employees’ activities on the terminal only to work-related functions. Employees can’t check email or surf the internet on the device, so it prevents them from clicking links or messages that download a hacker’s virus or malware into the system. Furthermore, since POS systems with EOS are designed for specific and limited purposes, they don’t have a file manager that enables file uploading/downloading, so there’s no way to steal cardholder information.
4. Payment device tipping
Restaurants now have another option for tipping—giving customers the choice to add on a tip before completing a payment card transaction. Many software packages give customers the option of a 15%, 20% or another customary amount before completing the transaction. This normalizes tipping and makes it easier to leave larger tips for great service, especially for customers who don’t carry cash.
It’s difficult to know when a new technology is introduced whether it’s worth the investment. It’s safe to say with these technologies, however, you’d be far from an early adopter and the value of these solutions is documented. Now the question becomes whether you continue to let other restaurants that use these solutions have a competitive edge over your business. Is it time to be on trend?