It's Time for Quick Service Restaurants to Rethink Their Payment Options

Jun 9, 2021 9:15:00 AM | Restaurant IT It's Time for Quick Service Restaurants to Rethink Their Payment Options

With new innovations like touchless payment and facial recognition, quick service restaurants should be ready to pivot and follow new trends as they arise.

Trends are always changing, especially in the quick service industry. Some, however, are here to stay. 

One such trend is payment collection. Over the last decade, retailers have adopted many new ways to collect payments — including touchless, mobile, and facial recognition — in order to keep up with evolving consumer preferences. If your quick-service restaurant is still only accepting cash and card, it’s time for an update.

Touchless Payment

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many customers are demanding touchless payment experiences. People are averse to having someone else touch their credit card or give them the change they’re due. Instead, touchless payments are becoming increasingly popular.

Perhaps the most well-known of these touchless payment options is the ability to pay with a smartphone or smartwatch. Apple Pay® and Google Pay® are two of the biggest providers. These and other similar payment methods allow patrons to simply tap their smartphone or watch to a payment station in order to make a purchase. 

Mobile Payments

Many customers like to place their order on a mobile app before they even reach the restaurant. If you don’t have a way for them to remotely pay for their mobile order, you should add one. Not only will this make it more convenient for your customers, resulting in a better experience, but it also protects your restaurant. If someone gets distracted, called away, or hits traffic, they might decide it’s not worth making it to the restaurant. If they haven’t paid for that food in advance, that’s a waste for your QSR.

The beauty of mobile payments expands beyond simply ordering through the app. It also allows customers to easily use their loyalty program cards. Rather than having to remember to bring their card with them or take the time to type in their phone number associated with the account, ordering via their app automatically uses their loyalty rewards number. This feature saves time and makes for an even better customer experience.

Facial Recognition Options

When it comes to innovation, facial recognition technology might feel the most out of reach. However, quick-service restaurants have already found ways to bring the tool into the industry. 

For restaurants that offer personalization options, like creating a bowl or a coffee just the way you like it, there’s a unique opportunity that comes with facial recognition technology. Customers can visit a self-serve kiosk, where facial recognition generates their “usual” order. This order method takes the least effort from your customer, so it makes sense that it’s becoming popular among QSRs.

Beyond ordering, though, once people are comfortable with the facial recognition technology, they can use the same tech to authenticate and make payments. Customers can opt-in to adding a card to their account and then use facial recognition to activate that payment.

Be Ready to Innovate

As quickly as trends emerge, they’re also apt to change. Customers are always going to want to use the latest and greatest technology. Things facial recognition may still feel like something out of a science fiction book. However, they’re real, and people enjoy using them every day.

Keeping up with payment trends is one of the best ways you can ensure you keep your customers coming back to your quick-service restaurant frequently. Sure, there will always be a portion of the population who will want to pay using cash or credit cards, but there are also many people who want to take advantage of new tools. 

By continuing to accept traditional payment methods while also offering new options, you can appeal to the masses and create an excellent customer experience.

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Catherine McNelly

Written By: Catherine McNelly

Catherine has over 11 years of project management and field service experience with extensive retail, call center, and managed service deployment portfolios. At Kinettix, Catherine is responsible for project delivery, including budget control, partner engagement, and real-time client communication. Her goal is to ensure alignment of goals and expectations and to deliver a successful outcome. Before joining Kinettix, Catherine was a senior implementation manager responsible for successful domestic technology deployments for large clients, including NCR, Big Lots, Safelite Auto Glass, and Dollar General. She has also managed global deployments for clients such as Kraft Foods and Modelez International. Catherine earned a Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Southern Indiana in 2002.