Remember the days when you walked into a restaurant and they only took cash? We have come quite a long way since then. Cash is still king (and it always will be). Yet, now the payment systems can be found right at your table or even on your own phone. The restaurant industry has evolved drastically and so has the way in which they accept payments. Take a look at how it has changed over the years.
The Manual Credit Card System
In the 1970s, 80, and even early 90s, restaurants would use a manual payment system. This is before they could easily enter your order into a computer system and print the bill. Back then, a restaurant would have to write up a ticket, give it to the back of the house, and then maybe use a calculator type system to print up your bill. Then, you would provide a credit card, with which the serve would walk away from the table and use a slide carbon copy machine to make a carbon copy of your credit card on a payment slip. You would sign it and that would be manually submitted to the credit card company. It was a long process that often had mistakes and was the cause of millions of dollars of credit card fraud.
The Computer and Point of Sale Terminal
Then, computers became commonplace in the restaurant industry. Servers entered your order into a computer system. Once you were done, that same system would print out your bill. Then, the server would take your credit card to that same terminal which included a point of sale system, and swipe your credit card which would automatically be approved and you would sign the bill for payment. This is actually still the standard in many finer dining restaurants. This works well, however, you still must trust the server to walk away with your credit card and not copy it to use for fraudulent activity in the future. While this system has cut down on fraud, it has not eliminated it.
POS at Your Table
Now, technology has evolved to a mobile platform. Anything that can be done of a computer can likely be done on a mobile device, such as a phone or a tablet. The restaurant industry sees this as an opportunity to eliminate credit card fraud and cut expenses. The large computer POS systems are quite costly. A table with an app is much more affordable, even if more are needed. Many restaurants now offer tablet at the table that can be used to pay your server, leave a tip, and even entertain kids while you eat. If that is not available, servers can now carry a tablet or mobile device to each table when accepting payment, allowing the customer to maintain custody of his credit card while paying the bill.
If you are in the restaurant business and need to evolve your payment systems and merchant services abilities with the times, contact Tanker Consulting Services. We are able and ready to help.