Increasing Table Turnover Rates with Mobile Payment
August 10 2015
Integrating mobile technology into restaurant operations is no longer an option, it is a necessity. Patrons have expressed interest in ordering through mobile applications, and they appreciate the convenience and efficiency of adding mobile payment solutions to their dining experiences. However, restaurant managers are now learning that the benefits of mobile technology extend beyond customer preference to offer profitability in unexpected ways.
Distracted Diners Delay Table Turnover
Turning over tables has always been part of the restaurant earnings formula, and research has shown that folks are lingering over their meals longer now that mobile phone distraction is so prevalent. In one study, time spent taking photographs, connecting to WiFi, and checking email or social media has nearly doubled the average time each party spends in their seats. With median table turnover at 1.9 for restaurants with average checks below $15 and closer to 0.8 for establishments with larger average checks, there is no leeway when it comes to ensuring each dining experience moves along efficiently.
Mobile Payments Regain Lost Minutes
It has been a challenge to regain the precious minutes lost to mobile phone distractions, and mobile payment platforms have stepped up to meet that need. Now, the 5-20 minutes spent waiting for servers to bring checks, collect payments, and return credit card slips can be whittled down to almost nothing. Customers may still choose to linger, but they will have the option of leaving the table open for another party.
Restaurants are notorious for being behind the curve when it comes to upgrading IT systems. While most retailers upgrade every five years or so, restaurants tend to hold on to older technology. This impacts more than just payment efficiency, as servers find themselves scrambling to handle complex transactions like separate checks and multiple methods of payment, much to diners’ continued frustration. Overall, more minutes spent cashing out means fewer turnovers per seat each day.
Those looking for a pleasant dining experience will thank establishments for increasing table turnover with mobile payment solutions, rather than employing the usual tricks of the trade, such as pumping up music volume or seating patrons in uncomfortable chairs. Though these common techniques might solve a short-term problem, they will cost a business their reputation and repeat business.