Integrated Pay-at-Table: Gaining in Popularity in the US Hospitality Market

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Most of us are accustomed to the current restaurant payment routine – we get the check, place our payment card in the folio, wait for the server to take our card away and then, upon the server’s return we add the tip, create the total and sign. With the advent of chip cards our routine is about to change. Instead of sending our cards off to a payment device, a payment device will come to our cards.

Virtually everywhere in the world, except the US, restaurants have made this migration to what is called ‘Pay-at-Table’. Agilysys is leading the charge to bring an integrated Pay-at-Table solution for gaming and hospitality venues in the US. It not only drives out the inefficiencies of the current well-established payment model, it also brings a variety of additional benefits to the guest and the restaurant.

Yes, Pay-at-Table is coming to America, and with it comes the same security that international patrons have been afforded for years. It offers more opportunity for restaurants to boost table productivity and increase payment security, while enabling servers to do what they do best: engage with guests on a personal level. Here’s how:

Better Table Productivity and Profitability

Consider the traditional restaurant credit card transaction. Guests often find themselves waiting for the server to pick up the card and again waiting for the server’s return. This wait is “lost time” that impacts the guest’s perception of service, in turn affecting tips, reviews and return visits. The wait time also impacts the restaurant’s ability to turn the table efficiently. Even the slightest increase in table turn times can result in a positive lift to the bottom line.

Beyond the more efficient guest service and table turnover, operators who have updated their payment technology to accept EMV chip cards are reducing their risk of fraud-related chargebacks. Restaurants have become one of the top businesses impacted by increased chargebacks since the October 2015 EMV liability shift. Even a small increase in card fraud with the resulting chargebacks can chip away at your profitability in a big way. Moving to Pay-at-Table with EMV takes this risk out of the equation completely.

Boosted Security and Reduced Identity Theft

When guests wait for the server to return their credit cards, they may become suspicious of the server – and the restaurant by association. Guests are fully aware that skimming is a common occurrence, where the contents of a card’s magnetic stripe is illicitly captured for the purpose of counterfeiting. Television has associated skimming with the hospitality industry, particularly restaurants, where employees take possession of the guest’s card. Unscrupulous servers, who make money selling card data, can tarnish the reputation of the restaurant. Pay-at-Table eliminates that reputational exposure by removing the employee from the equation. This creates a sense of security and confidence for guests, and supports a positive impression of the guest’s overall experience. For operators, the math is simple. It reduces the potential for identify theft.

Pay-at-Table is faster, more accurate, and more engaging which results in increased profitability, better security and enhanced guest satisfaction.

Improved Brand Reputation and Guest Confidence

Efficient processes provide a sense of security and contribute to a positive experience for all parties. A positive guest experience often results in repeat visits, higher tip percentages for staff, and better social ratings which attracts more customers. Pay-at-Table is revolutionizing how payments are processed in Fine Dining, and is opening the door to lower cost debit cards and mobile payments such as Android Pay. Pay-at-Table will soon become the standard in the U.S.

There are many ways to introduce Pay-at-Table, all of which will realize most of the benefits identified above. However, an integrated solution with the restaurant’s POS provides the greatest flexibility to engage guests. It also provides the ability to correlate the payment with the purchase – a key element in obtaining a single view of the guest. US restaurants are highly motivated to eliminate the ‘card processing dance’ and realize the benefits their international counterparts have enjoyed. Pay-at-Table is faster, more accurate, and more engaging which results in increased profitability, better security and enhanced guest satisfaction. Agilysys is proud to bring an integrated Pay-at-Table solution for gaming and hospitality venues in the US.