How technology is transforming payments in restaurants

Discover how restaurant payment technology can open new doors.

It’s an exciting time for the casual dining industry.

New channels are emerging that are helping to generate more sales. Companies like Deliveroo and Just Eat have unlocked new consumer demand. In fact, delivery orders can now account for 16% of a quick service restaurant’s (QSR) business. This is largely thanks to technology making the order process so simple. Just a few swipes and your favorite meal arrives at your door.

Opening new doors with restaurant payment technology

Beyond food delivery, technology is making it easier than ever for QSRs to address two critical customer pain-points: queuing and waiting to pay. Pre-ordering services and pay-at-table are becoming increasingly mainstream. We’re working with Joe & The Juice and wagamama to support their pre-order service. And we've implemented pay-at-table with wagamama and Hakkasn, to name but a few. More chains are also adopting a McDonald's-style kiosk order; we’re currently helping wagamama to roll-out mamago.

“We need payments to be totally seamless, whether our customer is in one of our restaurants, on our website, or pre-ordering via our app. They should be able to place an order and pay quickly, safe in the knowledge that their details are secure and that great food is on its way.” Richard Tallboy, CIO, wagamama

This could not come at a better time. Long queues cost the European retail industry £11 billion in lost sales each year, and one-third of consumers stated a preference for digital channels when purchasing their meal.

Unified commerce (connecting all sales channels into one unified customer journey) has been on the QSR agenda for some time. Back in 2018, an Adyen report revealed that QSRs showed the strongest need for tighter collaboration between ecommerce and restaurant ops. Many are asking themselves: How do we speed up payment? How do we make it easier?

Popular restaurant payment methods

Payment methos are evolving all the time, and your diners' perferences will depend heavily on which country they're from. But one thing's for certain, contactless methods are growing in importance. This includes digital wallets, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay™ in for European and American diners, and Alipay and WeChat Pay for Chinese diners. The added benefit of these wallets is that they can be used for both online and point of sale payments, helping to blur the lines between channels.

Since payment preferences are evolving fast, it's important to work with a payments partner that lets you add new payment methods quickly, updating all your terminals remotely as you go.

Enter the Chatbot

Chatbots are beginning to find a foothold in casual dining. Chains like Pizza Express have been using them for some time to make table bookings. But now, chatbots are being used to pay the bill.

Pay at table with Facebook Messenger

Most pay-at-table experiences are app-powered, so the diner has to download the restaurant’s app in order to pay. But now it’s possible for diners to pay using Facebook Messenger.

Flyt demonstrating its restaurant payment technology for the Facebook Messenger app

To make it easy for restaurants to accept payments in the Facebook Messenger app, we teamed up with UK tech-company Flyt. The service combines Flyt’s technology and our marketplace solution Adyen for Platforms. A customer simply has to open Facebook Messenger, select the restaurant location and enter the table number. The order is recalled from the cash register and displayed in Messenger. The customer then approves and pays with their stored payment option via one-click. The payment is processed by Adyen, confirmation is sent to the cash register, and the bill closed. The entire process takes about 45 seconds.

Technology with the potential to reach 1.3 million people

This technology makes pay-at-table easily accessible to a broader customer segment; Facebook Messenger has 1.3 million monthly active users worldwide. The Flyt/Adyen partnership also makes it possible for smaller QSRs to support pay-at-table without having to build their own apps. They simply sign up via Adyen’s automatic onboarding process and can start accepting Facebook Messenger payments in a matter of hours.

“Adyen for Platforms was the perfect fit for this project. Its automatic onboarding removes a lot of hassle from the process. And its global reach means that this service can be rolled out across international sites quickly and easily.” Carey Benn, Chief Revenue Officer at Flyt.

The bot was initially piloted by UK restaurant group Wahaca and saw phenomenal uptake. During the trial, the pot accounted for up to 14.5% of payments in the restaurant and had a peak conversion rate of 69%.

Wahaca tacos

“We are delighted with the results of the Facebook Messenger pilot. It makes paying-at-table incredibly quick and easy and our customers loved it. Flyt and Adyen have combined forces to create an excellent solution that makes it easy to serve our customers more efficiently.” Mark Selby, co-founder of Wahaca.

"Not only is the Messenger experience helping businesses; it’s also helping the people that keep businesses running."

Heath Black Product Manager, Facebook

The chatbot also had a positive impact on the wait staff, who’s tips increased by up to 20%. As Heath Black, Product Manager at Facebook Messenger, said: “Not only is the Messenger experience helping businesses; it’s also helping the people that keep businesses running.”

UK hamburger chain, Byron, has also implemented the chatbot with great results. Managing Director Steve de Polo, said: “We have previously provided our customers with the ability to pay and leave when they want via our own app. This latest innovation using Facebook Messenger further decreases the friction by giving our guests control in how they choose to pay.”

Diner using restaurant payment technology to pay at Byron

Key considerations for QSRs

There are a lot of exciting innovations emerging in the QSR industry to make the dining experience better than ever. Whether it’s the ability to order home-delivery with a tap of your finger, pre-order your favorite coffee each morning, or pay-at-table in seconds, technology will continue to push the boundaries of the customer experience. This, in turn, will influence customer expectations and so QSRs must adapt to meet their evolving needs.

Crucially, each new service must be tested and staff thoroughly trained. New technology often fails because restaurant staff don’t see the value. Or, worse, they see it negatively impacting their tips (a concern the Wahaca pilot proved to be unfounded). Educating staff about the benefits of the new technology is paramount to its success.

Carey Benn from Flyt concludes, “We understand the complexity that comes with running a QSR across multiple channels, sites, and even regions. Adyen, with its agile technology, is the ideal partner, making payments easy and helping our clients delight their diners every step of the way.”

Learn more about Adyen for food and beverage

Discover how we help some of the world's leading QSR businesses including McDonalds, Joe & The Juice and wagamama.

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