Bust the queue: why payments are the key to keeping QSR customers happy

By Michel van Aalten

(Editor's Note: This contributed piece has been lightly edited for clarity.)

Quick service restaurants (QSR) are in a tough spot when it comes to enhancing the customer journey. Their customers have a great deal of choice, are extremely demanding and can be disloyal - especially if they’re hangry! QSR owners are asking: How do we speed up payments? How do we make it easier? And crucially: How do we do this without disrupting our service with an entire system overhaul?

This is a market where convenience reigns supreme and the QSR owners have been quick to adopt a host of new technologies which are designed to reduce wait times and drive customer convenience.

Consumers are increasingly going online to make bookings, peruse the menu items, and read through online reviews for recommendations. To help customers discover their offering, restaurateurs not only have to have a website and a Facebook page, but should also consider adding the restaurant to food delivery or review apps to get more customers through their doors.

Once customers are through the door, the restaurant’s opportunity is to maximise spend. The first thing to consider is how customers prefer to pay. Increasingly, we’re moving to cashless payments especially in QSRs where customers value speed and convenience .

The cost of cash is also tremendous for a QSR. It relies on a cashier and takes much longer than contactless card payments. And Australians hate queues. According to our research, two thirds of Aussies have left a store because of wait times.

One of the ways QSRs have created efficiencies and busted queues are in-store kiosks where customers can view wait times and order immediately. Kiosks also help QSRs display add-ons, like upgrading an order to large, which increases revenue immediately.

Chatbots are beginning to find a foothold in casual dining too, with chains like Pizza Express using them to make table bookings. What is new, however, is using a chatbot to pay the bill. The convenience for the customer is multiplied when a customer is able to query an item without having to wait to have a server recheck the bill.

Apps are also increasingly becoming popular with cafes letting customers pre-order coffee in apps like Hey You, and several chains are now supporting pay-at-table via app. This removes a big customer pain-point – waiting in queues while also building a closer relationship between the customer and the restaurant.

At Adyen, we are currently piloting a program in Europe where customers can pay via Facebook messenger. A customer simply has to open Facebook Messenger, select the restaurant location and enter the order number. The order is recalled from the cash register and displayed in Messenger. The customer then approves and pays with their stored payment option via one-click. The payment is processed by Adyen, confirmation is sent to the cash register, and the bill is closed. The entire process takes about 45 seconds. This technology makes pay-at-table easily accessible to a broader customer segment considering Facebook Messenger has 1.3 billion monthly active users worldwide.

There are a lot of exciting innovations emerging in the QSR industry to make the dining experience better than ever, and payment technology is crucial to creating positive customer experiences.

Whether it’s the ability to order home-delivery with a tap of your finger, pre-order your favourite coffee each morning, or pay-at-table in seconds, payment technologies will continue to push the boundaries of the customer experience. This, in turn, will influence customer expectations and so QSRs must adapt to meet the evolving needs of customers.

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