Can Modern Payments Give Restaurants an Edge?

The restaurant industry is not for the faint of heart. It’s one of the toughest out there, with plenty of famous statistics to back up that claim—such as the 20 percent survival rate for even five years, for example.

From the outside the restaurant industry is often romanticized, especially today when nearly half our population have self-proclaimed themselves “foodies.” But in reality, chefs often talk about first-time restaurant owners who don’t fully understand what it takes to succeed. Many people don’t realize the reason why: restaurant success is about much more than just food.

Why You Need to Have More Than Just ‘Good Food’

Without good food, a restaurant has little to stand on. But countless restaurants have assumed they’d survive on food alone, only to end up with their doors shuttered shortly after opening. It’s not enough by itself – and successful restaurants realize this, which is why they spend so much time on the “details.”

In his New York Times’ bestseller Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain writes of a legendary New York restaurant manager called “Bigfoot.” Bigfoot does much more than stand in the kitchen tasting food – he pays obsessive attention to every detail in every area of the restaurant. That, Bourdain recounts, is why he was so successful.

Restaurants spend hundreds of hours focusing on small details to ensure they’ll have happy customers. Big debates arise not only over particulars like names and dishes, but even tiny aspects of the experience such as napkins, lighting and server uniforms. These debates arise because restaurants know their success hinges on every detail.

Why Small Changes in Payments Make a Big Difference in Revenue

When considering the details, payments is hardly included in the conversation. And yet, it can improve customer satisfaction and boost restaurant’s bottom line.

Here are a just a few ways payments can help:

  • The traditional American payment system is a very involved process: customers have to get their waiter’s attention; the waiter prints out the check and brings it back to the customer; the customer puts in their credit card and has to catch the waiter’s attention (again); the waiter eventually sees it, takes the check, swipes the card, and then brings it back… But pay at the table streamlines the whole process and helps you to turn tables faster.
  • In the summer, many restaurants host festivals or tastings as the foodies flock to try new meals. Payment systems that can work both in-house as well as remotely make this a simple task.
  • Inventory and ordering is a crucial process for restaurants. Modern payment systems can help simplify this by working with your point of sale (POS) to help track your orders, while also reducing “lost in translation” or order entry mistakes via online ordering. 
  • Simplified payments allow your staff to focus on other details. Your servers have more time to make sure everyone’s happy, and your managers will have more time to look at the big picture.
  • Improved security keeps your customers’ data secure. From skimming to breaches, restaurants can rest easy and be sure their reputation is safe.

The list goes on. In countless ways, both big and small, payments can make your restaurant more efficient, and boost your odds of surviving—yet many restaurants still aren’t yet focusing on the possibilities of what payments can do.