I know this sounds like the old joke about a light bulb or a chicken crossing the road, but the way some restaurants operate, the joke is on them. There are many restaurants that have their servers pick up checks from a cashier. Then, the check is brought to the patron who pays (with a credit card in this case). The server must then bring the credit card back to the cashier who will run the ticket and return to the server a payment slip along with a receipt. The server has to bring the paperwork and credit card back to the patron who signs for their check. Lastly, the server has to bring the signed slip back to the cashier.
In this scenario, if either the server or the cashier gets busy during any part of the back and forth process, it is the patron who suffers. There also is a simple rule when dealing with people – the more you have people involved with a process, the more opportunity there is for something to go wrong. With the recent boom in technology, especially in the fast casual space, there is no reason for restaurants to support this antiquated method of accepting payments.
One of the hottest trends to speed up the check out process and increase customer satisfaction is tableside checkout. This involves a payment device that a server can bring to a table instead of their check. The device lists everything that the paper check would, and the patron can swipe their credit card right there at the table. The server no longer has to run back and forth to check the table out, and most importantly, the customer never has to turn over their credit card to anyone. This eliminates a major avenue for theft from skimming. (To learn more about skimming click here).
Implementing this type of tableside service does require an investment in equipment and wireless infrastructure, but compared to the faster table turn over and customer satisfaction, that cost is minimal. It is important to understand that this type of check out process will require wireless communication, and that should not be taken lightly. Make sure that if you consider using wireless in your restaurants that you look into how to do so securely. (Click here to learn more about wireless security).
Especially today, restaurants need to do everything they can to increase profit. That can be done by improving efficiency or increasing prices. Table side systems allows restaurateurs to improve their bottom line without reaching further into the wallets of their customers. That is a win-win scenario which is why so many fast casual establishments are embracing the technology.
/ Bradley K. Cyprus has more than 20 years experience in the security industry. He manages the development of in-house solutions to validate compliance, and he is a resource that Vendor Safe customers can rely upon to help interpret the PCI standard.