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Are POS Terminals At Restaurants Obsolete?

We’re all familiar with how point-of-sale (POS) terminals work in the dining world. The ritual is so established that we don’t really question how ridiculous the process is:

  1. You ask for the bill, and the waiter goes to the register
  2. The waiter returns with the check, and you hand over your credit card
  3. The waiter goes to the register and swipes your plastic
  4. The waiter comes back to have you sign the receipt
  5. The waiter carries the merchant’s receipt back to the register

All of these back and forth trips represent a lot of wasted time. There are also major security risks as well. After all, you’re handing over your credit card to a perfect stranger who processes it behind closed doors.

Although POS terminals still exist in many restaurants around the world, their days are probably numbered.

What will take their place?

The Rise of Mobile and Contactless Payment Options in Restaurants

Mobile credit card processing and virtual wallets offer a range of advantages over more traditional POS terminals, including:

  • Reducing the number of round-trip visits to the cashier. When a patron asks for the bill, the waiter only has to come over once to process the transaction.
  • Restaurants can service more customers per hour. From start to finish, processing credit cards at a POS terminal can take anywhere from five to 10 minutes — per table. Those numbers really add up during long shifts, especially in restaurants with lots of tables.
  • The credit card (or virtual payment technology) remains in the patron’s presence at all times.

Admittedly, switching over your payment technology is an investment. You need mobile devices (i.e. tablets and smartphones). And you also need mobile credit card readers — add-ons that fit into your mobile device’s earphone jack.

It’s easy to justify these extra expenses when you factor in the shorter wait times and higher turnover rates. But there are additional benefits to bringing mobile technology into your restaurant:

  • Smartphones and tablets make order-taking much faster, especially if you sync each device with displays in the kitchen.
  • It’s also much easier to let patrons know what ingredients are in each meal. And remembering the plat du jour is a breeze.
  • If a certain appetizer has sold out already, there’s no need to consult with the kitchen staff. This information is already on each tablet or phone.

A word of caution: Resist the temptation to use personal mobile devices in the restaurant. If you have 10 waiters per shift, you need to purchase 10 separate smartphones or tablets (click here to understand why). Fortunately, these are all tax-deductible expenses.

Ready to Get Rid of Your Restaurant’s POS Terminal?

Making the transition from POS terminals to mobile credit card processing is a lot easier than you probably realize. To help you get started, use the free resources below:

Topics: Payment Technology

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Whether you're a small business, an enterprise corporation, a financial institution, or a software partner, we have created a series of blog posts to help you and your customers, learn more about the complex nature of payments. Take a look to learn how payments can help to simplify your business operation, and may even help to grow your revenue.

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