Barclaycard explains how payment tech can help turn the tables on waiting times.

Fighting to flag down a waiter for the bill can leave a bitter taste at the end of a meal.

In fact, Barclaycard research found that 36% of people find waiting for the bill the most frustrating part of dining out, and it may even have an impact on whether they want to come back[1].

Thankfully, payment technology can speed up the process of requesting and paying the bill. This includes the use of tablets, contactless card readers, mobile apps, and ePos systems.

Lining up for change

Research shows that 81% of food and drink operators see the quality of customer experience as a key driver for attracting customers[2], so eliminating time spent waiting to pay should be a key priority.

The use of contactless card readers in a retail environment is predicted to save shoppers 141 million hours by 2021 by reducing time spent queuing at the checkout, so it’s no wonder the technology is also proving popular in the hospitality sector.

In terms of sales there’s a huge benefit to speedier payment tech too: businesses that offer contactless payment have seen sales increase by an average of 30%. In line with the surge in contactless payment technology, there are also examples of business owners going cash-free. One London café owner said that going cash-free last year, after taking inspiration from a visit to Sweden, had “improved our efficiency and even given our profits a welcome boost.”

Keeping up with ePOS

Another potential solution is to use an ePOS terminal – a fifth of outlets surveyed by Barclaycard[3] said that the most important tech for ensuring a smooth customer experience is a modern ePOS system, which can help to ensure speedy service.

Fast, efficient service was revealed to be a “very important” aspect of the overall customer experience by 57% of restaurants and bar operators. Barclaycard’s Smartpay Hub ePos system offers a range of apps that help simplify nearly all aspects of running a hospitality business, from managing staff rotas and stock, through to integrated card payment technology that can make it faster for customers to settle up.

It’s all app-ening

Finally, established high street brands might want to invest the necessary time and resources into developing their own apps that improve customer experience. For example, chain pub Wetherspoon has an app that allows customers to order food and drinks without leaving their table. It isn’t just about making sure everyone pays for their round – it eliminates queues at the bar and makes it faster to place an order.

This isn’t an option for all operators, however. It may not make sense if you don’t have a loyal customer base or a large number of outlets, as it’s unlikely that customers will download an app if they only intend to visit once or twice a year.

But one thing’s for sure: payment technology providers will continue to cook up innovative ways to take the hassle out of settling the bill.

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[1] A nationally representative survey of 2,000 British adults and 250 business owners conducted by OMD Research between 19th June – 5th July 2018

[2] A survey of 195 leading industry figures from the eating and drinking out sector conducted by CGA between 17/01/18 – 05/02/18.

[3] Barclaycard surveyed 203 people who work in the hospitality industry in October 2018