By Guest blogger, May 7, 2013
Mobile payments are revolutionizing the way customers pay for their food or merchandise at restaurants. More and more food establishments now accept a mobile payment that does not involve cash or a credit or debit card. Why? Convenience for both the customer and the proprietor. As these payment programs are fairly inexpensive and do not require much technical knowledge, many businesses, both large and small, have adapted to this relatively new technology. In the restaurant industry, accepting mobile payments has been a boon to small establishments in terms of cost-savings, record-keeping, and ease of use.
Consider the following 4 benefits that come with accepting mobile payments at restaurants.
1. Integrate and Increase Incentive Programs.
One of the biggest benefits of using mobile payments is the ability to integrate customer incentive and loyalty programs into the application. Traditional programs require customers to present key ring tags or punch cards or to supply information, such as a phone number, with every purchase. Mobile payment systems store customer information in the application and then save new information every time the restaurant processes a mobile payment. Customers value mobile technology that links payment to a loyalty or incentive program. As new customers become repeat customers, revenue increases, making the program worthwhile for both parties.
2. Track Customer Trends and Inventory.
If smaller restaurants have difficulty tracking customer trends and inventory, incorporating a mobile payment program erases that issue. This technology is much more than a payment service; because it also tracks data processes to help restaurant management to understand customer preferences and needs. For example, a restaurant may learn that it sells the most chicken wings on Friday nights and can plan for that. When restaurants meet customer demands, they increase sales and customer service, while improving their reputation within their demographic.
3. Increase Customer Checkout Speed.
Customers appreciate fast service, particularly during the payment process. Both staff and customers enjoy a significantly faster payment process with a mobile device instead of a credit card or cash. Since customers are more likely to return to a restaurant that offers a totally enjoyable dining experience – from start to finish – repeat business increases. Additionally, the time saved with mobile payments directly increases profits because more customers are able to dine during a single time period. For example, a restaurant that has a lunch rush on weekdays benefits from offering this type of payment.
4. Save Money on Credit Card Fees.
Accepting credit/debit card payments may not be an option for small restaurants, particularly those in remote locations, due to the high cost of the technology to process a payment and associated fees. For example, farmers’ markets and food truck vendors are unlikely to accept credit card payments. This fact impacts sales revenue, since customers must have cash on hand to patronize these establishments. Restaurants that implement a credit/debit card payment option via mobile payments see an immediate increase in both sales and customer base.
Many mobile payment companies charge lower transaction fees than credit card companies. This means direct savings for a restaurant. As each company has a different structure for its payment program, restaurants need to weigh all options to determine which mobile payment company is most cost-effective.
About the author:
Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, a credit card processing firm that offers iPhone credit card processing for businesses. She brings more than 15 years of experience in the bankcard industry in direct sales, sales management, and marketing to the company and also serves on its Board of Directors.