The digital payment methods you need to consider to future-proof your pub or restaurant

Payment methods in hospitality have rapidly changed and continue to do so. Now, customers can pay via app, a tap of their card, or indeed, scrap all of that if they are shopping in an Amazon Go Fresh store, so it is no surprise that we are seeing cash take a back seat in comparison to card payments.

In the hospitality sector, the pandemic proved a catalyst for this shift as proved by our GO Technology report with CGA by NielsenIQ, which found that over three quarters of people (79%) say they have been satisfied or very satisfied with the ease and speed of digital payment. With this in mind, it is important that operators keep up with trending payment methods in order to offer customers the elevated in-venue experiences that they expect.

This new report highlights not just how significant the shift to cashless payments has become but also a surprising willingness for customers to embrace what some might see as unorthodox forms of digital payment methods. From ‘pay-with-your-face’ to ‘just-walk-out’ technology, here are some of the digital payment methods you may want to consider in order to future proof your business.

  • In-venue apps

18% of consumers frequently use in-venue payment apps when spending time in the trade. In-venue apps were quickly adopted during the pandemic and were a lifeline to many businesses. Now they are commonplace and providing customers with the option to pay via in-venue app has many benefits. Not only does it alleviate customer frustration of having to wait to pay the bill, but research has shown that, customers tend to spend more when eating and drinking out when using apps. Total monthly spend on apps averages at £99.35, against an all-consumer average of £76.47. If customers are pleased with the speed of service on an app, they will be more likely to use it again and again.

  • Wearables

Whilst 13% of customers paying with wearables may seem low, this number increases significantly amongst younger adults. For example, a quarter of 18 – 34-year-olds frequently use wearables like smart watches to pay in hospitality venues. As wearable technology gets better and better, we can expect this to further rival mobile as well as cash payments in the future. Having a system in place that can enable customers to pay this way will be important moving forwards as the technology increases in popularity. The key to providing a great experience at the purchasing point of the customer journey is to offer customers a variety of options, allowing them to shape their experience and pay however they wish. Not having certain payment options in place could make a business seem ‘out-of-date’ or ‘out of touch’.

  • Just walk-out technology

Consumer interest in new technologies does not stop at ‘wearables’. In fact, our research showed much more willingness than we might have perhaps expected to use new forms of technology that will ease the payment experience. For example, one of the most popular new technology options were digital IDs, with  33% interested, and ‘invisible’ payments or just walk-out technology with 31% of respondents expressing an interest. Unsurprisingly perhaps, out of these the numbers, the amount of 18- to 34-year-olds who found such innovation appealing is at least twice as high as those in the 55+ bracket, indicating the need for operators to cater to a younger crowd and adapting to trends sooner rather than later.

While cash and card are still viable payment methods – and are options we don’t see disappearing completely just yet – there is clearly an interest amongst consumers to have forms of payment that make their customer journey more efficient, seamless and (crucially) tailored to their needs. We know consumers want a more personalised experience from hospitality venues and offering customers a breadth of choice when it comes to paying the bill is sure to be a large part of that as the technology becomes even more mainstream.

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