Mobile Credit Card Processing: The Benefits of Letting Your Customers Pay at the Table

A group of customers enjoying their meal at a restaurant.

If you operate a restaurant, chances are you’ve heard about pay-at-the-table technology. Pay-at-the-table systems benefit both your customers and business. They leverage the concept of contactless payment, which traditionally applies to in-person purchases made with a credit card that has an embedded microchip. This means the entire transaction can take place at the table in a single instance, and it limits contact in a post-COVID world.

Benefits to Customers

When presenting a check at the end of the meal, your waitstaff bring along a mobile payment device. It allows guests to review the bill, select a tip amount, and pay with a credit or debit card, resulting in:

  1. Improved Security: The payment transaction takes place in front of the customer while the EMV chip communicates with the device to authenticate it. This helps reduce the risk of fraud and identity theft.
  2. Faster Service: Guests don’t have to wait for the server to process the transaction and return, which leads to increased customer satisfaction. A fixed terminal is eliminated; customers can settle their bill quickly and continue on their way.
  3. Easier to Calculate Tips: The last thing most diners want is to start doing math at a restaurant. Pay-at-the-table terminals often let customers tip by a choice of percentages of the total bill, which makes the dining experience easier.
  4. You Don’t Need a Wallet: If a patron has a mobile wallet app, they don’t need an actual wallet. Your customers can dine at your restaurant whether using an app or payment card.

Benefits to Restaurants

Investing in pay-at-the-table technology, if you haven’t already, not only offers perks for your customers, but it can lead to operational improvements. The benefits you are likely to see include:

  1. More Tables Turned: Mobile terminals reduce the number of steps to process payments from twelve to seven, saving time and allowing your restaurant to turn more tables. This is an opportunity to increase revenue.
  2. Higher Tips: The handheld device automatically calculates and suggests tip amounts. This helps guests who aren’t sure how much to tip or make mistakes in determining how much to give; pay-at-the-table technology avoids this, so employees receive better tips.
  3. Reduced Risk of Employee Fraud: Having a terminal in hand reduces the likelihood of a server compromising data on a card. A patron’s credit or debit card is always in sight, which provides them with peace of mind and trust in your business.
  4. Fewer Chargebacks: If you don’t have an EMV payment device and a consumer uses an EMV card, the cardholder can then dispute the transaction. Their card issuer can then impose a chargeback, which can hurt your business.
  5. Reduced Paperwork: All information from your sales is digitized. You can have a complete financial report with the press of a few buttons, rather than dealing with pages of calculations and reams of receipts that clutter your office.

How to Introduce Pay-at-the-Table in Your Restaurant

While there’s a learning curve with this technology, exercising a few best practices can help maximize the advantages of pay-at-the-table technology. The first step should be to ensure your employees know how to use the equipment. Diners may be unfamiliar with it, too, which is why it’s important to inform servers of the benefits so they can share them with patrons.

For diners who are more receptive, your staff can just hand them the terminal and return soon after. However, others may need step-by-step help, especially older customers. Mobile terminals can also be set up so servers need to log in with their credentials. The interface has simple instructions and easy-to-read steps and options. Features to pay in full or split the check are beneficial; you may even want to give patrons a chance to rate their service so you can make continuous improvements.

What to Ask Before Implementing Pay-at-the-Table Technologies

A customer paying for their coffee with a card reader.

When implementing new technology, it’s important to plan ahead and be as informed as possible. You’ll want to consider the following questions:

  • How long will it take to transition from my existing format?
  • Could my restaurant’s operations and service be disrupted?
  • Have other restaurants used the same transition strategy?
  • Are there backup options if the implementation doesn’t go as planned?
  • Does this migration plan have the flexibility to meet the needs of my business?
  • Can Wi-Fi or Bluetooth help complete EMV transactions more quickly?
  • How many devices do I need to ensure one is always available?

Contact Adept Solutions

We specialize in merchant services for small businesses. If you’re looking to invest in credit card processing, EMV compliance, and point-of-sale and mobile solutions, our experienced team can help you migrate to the latest pay-at-the-table technology. To get started and receive our lowest rate guarantee, contact us at 888-732-3838.

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