Restau­rants Are Un­derus­ing POS Fea­tures

Restau­rants have a lot of new tech­nol­ogy at their dis­posal, but it’s not al­ways clear to them what they should use and how they would ben­e­fit.

ISO & Agent - - INSIDE 07/08.2017 - BY DAVID HEUN

There is a lot of new tech­nol­ogy avail­able to mer­chants, en­abling them to do more at the point of sale than just ac­cept pay­ments. But is this tech­nol­ogy be­ing put to good use?

Get­ting a new pay­ment terminal with ad­vanced ca­pa­bil­i­ties is not un­like get­ting a new phone or com­puter with its bells and whis­tles — there’s so many new fea­tures that some will no doubt go ig­nored.

Restau­rants in par­tic­u­lar have a dizzy­ing as­sort­ment of new op­tions for or­der­ing ahead, dig­i­tal pay­ments and loy­alty.

But many still need more knowl­edge on the topic of ad­vanced point of sale ser­vices, and just as many who have up­graded to new tech­nol­ogy have to learn how to use it.

Eighty-five per­cent of restau­rant pros say mo­bile pay­ment and loy­alty of­fer­ings would help their busi­ness at­tract and re­tain mil­len­nial cus­tomers, but nearly half don’t have loy­alty ca­pa­bil­i­ties at their POS, ac­cord­ing to data from Cherry Hill, N.j.-based TD Bank Mer­chant So­lu­tions.

More than a third of re­spon­dents ex­pressed a de­sire to im­ple­ment a cloud­based loy­alty sys­tem at some point in the fu­ture.

TD Bank con­ducted its sur­vey of restau­rant pro­fes­sion­als — own­ers, chefs, gen­eral man­agers and sup­pli­ers — at­tend­ing the Na­tional Restau­rant As­so­ci­a­tion Show on May 22-23.

A restau­rant owner has to take mul­ti­ple steps to bet­ter un­der­stand his or her cus­tomer base and the best way to serve pa­trons through new tech­nol­ogy, said Doug Mear­kle, head of mer­chant so­lu­tions, sales and ser­vice for TD Bank Mer­chant So­lu­tions.

The sur­vey didn’t speak to restau­rant own­ers’ knowl­edge, or use, of the ser­vices avail­able in a new POS, but TD Bank mer­chant ac­count ser­vicers are see­ing it first­hand, ac­cord­ing to Mear­kle, who came up with the cell phone anal­ogy.

“A credit card terminal is very sim­i­lar to what a cell­phone was like 10 years ago,” Mear­kle said.

“That phone just made calls, and that terminal just took cards … Many restau­rant own­ers are still us­ing credit card ter­mi­nals like they did five to 10 years ago, with the de­vice sit­ting on a counter, with sep­a­rate pieces pro­cess­ing credit and debit cards. But we are also see­ing busi­nesses adopt­ing new POS sys­tems, but not tak­ing ad­van­tage of their full ca­pa­bil­ity.”

TD Bank dis­trib­utes First Data Clover POS equip­ment to its mer­chant clients, pro­vid­ing a good ex­am­ple of how a terminal can now be cus­tom­ized through apps to bet­ter serve the mer­chant and cus­tomers.

“Too many are us­ing a new terminal at its most ba­sic form as a re­place­ment of a credit card terminal,” Mear­kle added. “They are not al­ways look­ing at it from the stand­point of how does it help man­age and grow the busi­ness through apps to get data, con­sumer be­hav­ior an­a­lyt­ics or loy­alty pro­grams.”

Some con­fu­sion among restau­rant own­ers is un­der­stand­able. The pay­ments tech­nol­ogy in this mar­ket seg­ment is de­vel­op­ing and chang­ing rapidly be­cause providers are not stand­ing by idly when it comes to restau­rant pointof-sale ser­vices.

Mastercard has made var­i­ous re­cent ac­qui­si­tions and tech­nol­ogy up­grades to bol­sters its of­fer­ings in or­der­ing and pay­ments at restau­rants.

Square ac­quired startup Order­a­head last year to ob­tain needed tech­nol­ogy to be­come more rel­e­vant as a pay­ment pro­ces­sor in the restau­rant land­scape.

And this month, Google and First Data part­nered with Pan­era to use the chain’s Clover point of sale sys­tem to de­liver tar­geted of­fers to cus­tomers who store the My­pan­era loy­alty card in An­droid Pay.

The fact that some restau­rant own­ers would take baby steps with new tech­nol­ogy, even if they al­ready pur­chased it, is un­der­stand­able, said Richard Oglesby, pres­i­dent of AZ Pay­ments Group and a se­nior an­a­lyst at Dou­ble Di­a­mond Pay­ments Re­search.

“A lot of plat­forms have a lot built into them, and the restau­rant owner buys the plat­form for the POS ca­pa­bil­i­ties, and it just hap­pens to have loy­alty built in, but they don’t re­ally care about that right away,” Oglesby said. “There a lot of plat­forms that come with stuff you don’t need.”

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