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The Benefits of Pay-At-The-Table Restaurant Payment Technology


21.07.2021 Payments

The Benefits of Pay-At-The-Table Restaurant Payment Technology

Pay-at-the-table tech is key for restaurants in attracting customers back to dine in.

Since the first COVID-19 lockdowns in early 2020, a number of shifts in dining habits have surfaced. For example, restaurants may be experiencing fewer walk-ins but receiving higher volumes of bookings, as diners opt for security when making plans to go out. 

According to a survey conducted by OpenTable, when lockdown restrictions eased in early 2021, 70% of Australian diners bounced back to eating out at pre-pandemic levels. 67% of survey respondents indicated they were dining out at least four times a month. Although no one can say with total certainty what the future holds, our research shows that Australians’ healthy appetite for eating out has not been dampened by COVID-19.

As changes continue to occur, it’s important that staff are equipped to respond to busy service hours in a smooth and efficient manner. One emerging trend that has been helping restaurants keep up with the renewed pace is that more diners are ordering and paying at the table, due to various apps designed to support social distancing efforts. It’s now become a convenience they expect, while also speeding up the transaction process for servers.


Diners expect to be able to check in, place an order, and pay for their meal from the comfort of their table.

How the regular bill payment process works

The traditional and outdated way credit card payments have been handled at restaurants for decades is to:

  1. Deliver the bill to the customer
  2. Leave the table and wait for your customer to find their credit card 
  3. Return to the table to pick up the credit card
  4. Walk to the EFTPOS machine to process the payment
  5. Walk back to the table to drop off a merchant receipt for your customer to sign and add a gratuity
  6. Leave the table
  7. Return to pick up the receipt
  8. Walk back to the EFTPOS terminal to enter the gratuity and finalise the bill. 

All the extra steps involved with regular bill payment take up a considerable amount of time.

Requiring customers to pay at the counter adds approximately nine extra minutes per table.

This is one of the main reasons why many hospitality businesses are turning to pay-at-the-table technology.

How pay-at-the-table works

Rather than the customer paying at the counter or finalising the bill in this time-consuming manner, a mobile EFTPOS machine speeds up transactions for both servers and customers, while creating a seamless exchange. 

Waitstaff can deliver the bill to the table for the customer to review and bring the mobile payment device, all at the same time. The customer can then enter a gratuity and pay with their credit or debit card on the spot.

Benefits of pay-at-the-table technology

If you’re considering updating your restaurant payment technology, keep reading to learn more about the advantages of pay-at-the-table technology and how it can help your restaurant business stay ahead of the pack. 

Here are six benefits to consider:

1. Increased efficiency

By streamlining the payment process into one smooth transaction, your wait staff can finalise bills more quickly, while substantially reducing their foot traffic between the front counter and the customer’s table. This also means your team can turn their tables faster without all the wait time between, ultimately increasing your profits and customer service satisfaction. 

2. Save time for customers

For customers waiting to pay their bill, it can be a frustrating experience when the server is busy with other guests. Pay-at-the-table technology means they no longer have to wait to get the server’s attention. Your customers can pay immediately and leave your restaurant feeling more satisfied about their experience. 

For those who want to split the bill between multiple guests, tableside payments makes this process smoother and faster too.

3. Improve tips for your staff

Some mobile EFTPOS machines come with a built-in tool which can easily calculate the fair amount for a gratuity and will provide the customer with various tipping options to choose from. Displayed clearly for your customers to review, this feature can increase your server’s tip earnings and erase confusion surrounding tipping protocol. 

Zeller Terminal makes it as easy as possible to prompt your customers to leave a tip, either as a percentage of the purchase amount or a custom amount. Or, you can switch the functionality off altogether. 

4. Higher levels of customer service

When wait staff use pay-at-the-table technology an opportunity is provided to spend more time interacting with the customers, ensuring they’ve had a great dining experience in your establishment. 

The technology also means you can email digital receipts on the spot. Not only is this handy for your customer’s record-keeping and to reduce costs associated with paper receipts, but it’s a great way to expand your customer database by capturing email addresses. You may be able to use these details to keep in touch with your diners, providing them with up-to-date news and special offers that will keep them coming back to your restaurant. 

5. Safer transactions

Payment security is front of mind for most consumers these days. By having a mobile payment device available, your customer’s card remains in their possession at all times. This offers them security knowing that no one else has had access to their card details or identity. It can also mean fewer chargebacks for your business to handle.

6. Increased level of hygiene

Not only do customers feel more secure about their card security when they pay at the table, but by not paying at the counter your patrons are touching fewer surfaces in the restaurant that other guests have come into contact with. 

Zeller research shows that customers care more about the COVID-safety policies and procedures in place more than they care about the price of food or location of the restaurant. In fact, according to QSR magazine, during the pandemic people have been willing to pay double the price for peace of mind that they’re eating in a clean restaurant. When you eliminate all the extra steps involved with handling cash or cards, you can alleviate some of your customer’s concerns surrounding hygiene and safety.

With Zeller Terminal, your customer can pay with contactless cards and devices, and can scan QR codes to pay with verified and secure apps. Zeller Terminal allows you to efficiently process payments at-the-table, which will benefit your staff, business and diners.

Has COVID pushed your dining experience outdoors? Add a SIM card to ensure your EFTPOS terminal doesn't suffer connectivity issues as you move from indoors to outdoors.

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