Across continents, major restaurant brands and small independents alike are increasingly leveraging digital technologies to improve the in-restaurant payment experience, driving customer retention by improving the purchasing experience.
Last week (Dec. 20), quick service restaurant (QSR) group Restaurant Brands International (RBI), parent company of Burger King, Tim Hortons and Popeyes, announced a partnership with Alibaba affiliate Ant Group, owner of digital payment platform Alipay, that aims to enable restaurants across the Asia Pacific market to accept local digital wallets, among other tech upgrades. The news came one month after McDonald’s announced its partnership with Southeast Asian food delivery and payment technology company Grab to accept GrabPay mobile wallet payments.
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Findings from the July-August edition of PYMNTS’ Delivering on Restaurant Rewards report, created in collaboration with Paytronix, show that, in the United States, digital wallets not only reduce friction from the payment experience but also offer restaurants an in-road to build loyalty through digital rewards programs. Twenty-eight percent of consumers would like to receive their rewards through their digital wallets.
Read more: Two-Thirds Of Consumers Find Restaurant Rewards Impersonal
It is not only QSRs expanding their digital payment capabilities to meet consumers’ evolving need for frictionless convenience — many full-service restaurants (FSRs) are doing the same. While for some restaurants, the traditional check payment experience remains central to how they create the fine dining atmosphere for which they strive, others are taking advantage of QR code technology to offer a quicker and more convenience payment option.
For instance, in France, multinational pay-at-table solution provider sunday announced earlier this month that it is partnering with services and payments platform Edenred to offer the former’s capabilities to the latter’s customers. The firm currently operates in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Canada, working with thousands of restaurants.
“The feedback that people have about sunday … they don’t tell me that it’s great,” Victor Lugger, sunday’s co-founder and CEO, told Karen Webster in an interview. “What they tell me is, ‘Today I was in a restaurant, and they didn’t have sunday, and I hated it.’”
See also: Sunday CEO Says QR Code Payments End Game is Making Cost of Payments Free for Restaurants
According to data from PYMNTS and Paytronix’s 2021 Restaurant Readiness Index, 33% of restaurant managers believe that the availability of QR codes enhancing end-to-end experiences will be key to restaurants’ future success, while only 10% of consumers believe the same. Yet, for all consumers apparent disinterest relative to managers, the numbers show that these digital options make a difference in diners’ spending. Top performing restaurants are more than twice as likely as bottom performers to accept QR codes payments, with 28% of the former offering the option compared to just 12% of the latter. Noting these digital advantages, many restaurants are rapidly innovating.
See more: QSRs’ Lagging Loyalty-Reward Investment Hurts Innovation and Sales
“Restaurants often have this misplaced reputation to be slow adopters of technology, and we’ve seen just the opposite — the restaurant partners we … work with are incredibly innovative and receptive to new technologies, platforms and ideas,” Ken Chong, co-founder and CEO at restaurant solutions provider All Day Kitchens and former product manager at Uber, told PYMNTS in an interview.
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