Modernizing the guest experience with tableside payments

Wednesday, June 26, 2019 11:19 am EDT


Doug Riepe, Head of Strategic Markets – Restaurants , Elavon

If you’ve ever dined out at a restaurant in Canada, Europe or Asia, then you’ve probably experienced first-hand the convenience of using a pay-at-the-table POS device. Quick, easy and secure, a seamless tableside payment experience ends the meal on a positive note and can contribute to building lasting relationships between a restaurant and their guests. 

Yet this contemporary convenience, available around the world for years, is something most American restauranteurs have failed to adopt – and as a result, both you and your guests are missing out. With 79% of diners stating that technology increases convenience and plays a big role in where they choose to eat,[i] the time has come to upgrade your payments systems.     

Implementing pay-at-the-table devices can yield many benefits to your restaurant and your customers. Here are just some of the reasons to make the switch:

Improved guest experience. Today’s diner has a full plate of options when it comes to choosing how, when and where they want to order, pay and eat. This means restaurants must keep up with their desires in order to remain competitive. As consumers drive payments transformation across many industries, restaurants need to offer their guests the same flexible and convenient payment experience they’re accustomed to at retailers, hotels and grocery stores.

In fact, 69% of American diners report that the most frustrating part of eating out is waiting for the check at the end of the meal.[ii] At a full-service restaurant, it can take up to 12 minutes from the time a customer requests the check to the time they actually end up paying it,[iii] which can seem like an eternity to many patrons. Implementing a pay-at-the-table solution provides exactly the kind of speed and convenience your guests want. 

Front-of-house efficiencies. At full-service restaurants, multiple trips are required to and from the table to complete a payment: the server drops the check off; the guest reviews it and puts down their card, then waits for the server to return; the server leaves with the check to run the card, then brings it back again for the receipt to be signed; and finally the server returns to the POS system to submit the signed receipt and tips are manually adjusted later.

Restaurants can cut out nearly all of these steps with pay-at-the-table devices that save both guest and staff time. This time-saving can even translate to faster table turns, meaning more business and revenue. Plus, devices that offer “tip at the time of sale” capabilities eliminate the need for tip adjustments later, which saves time and reduces the chance of human error. 

Extra layers of security. Both you and your guests can benefit from a more secure transaction, which is easier to do with tableside payments. For starters, paying at the table reduces the likelihood of card fraud because the card never leaves the guest’s hand or sight. You can also reduce the temptation of card skimming or identity theft by keeping debit and credit cards out of multiple staff-members’ hands. 

Another security advantage is that pay-at-the-table devices allow customers to authorize a transaction using their PIN code rather than with a signature. The advantage of processing PIN transactions over signature authorizations is increased cardholder verification since entering a PIN helps verify that the cardholder is the card owner. This reduces the opportunity for fraud and identify theft during the payment process. As an added bonus, PIN debit transactions have lower interchange fees, helping you save on your bottom line. You’ll also reduce your risk of chargebacks due to debit card fraud. At the end of the day, saving on interchange fees by supporting PIN transactions can add up to meaningful returns on an investment in tableside technology for a restauranteur. 

Embracing contactless payments. With U.S. banks getting serious about popularizing contactless cards and EMV technology, “tap and go” will become the norm, as it makes paying easier and quicker for customers. And this change is coming quickly, as 100 million Visa contactless cards will be issued in the United States by the end of 2019.[iv]

Supporting contactless payments through tableside payments can facilitate faster transactions and increase guest satisfaction by giving them more flexibility to pay the way they want. With contactless card usage predicted to take off in the U.S., and millennials gravitating to mobile payments, now’s the perfect time for restaurateurs to get serious about pay-at-the-table technology. 

Getting started
At Elavon, we are enabling some of our largest customers to make payments faster, easier and more secure for their guests and staff. If you want to learn more about how you can seamlessly integrate tableside payments at your restaurant, visit

About the author:
As the Head of Strategic Markets, Doug Riepe is focused on the restaurant vertical at Elavon. He leads a team comprised of both National Sales Directors and Client Executives who are focused on enhancing and accelerating payments for the restaurant industry. Doug brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, working with Fortune 100 brands with a keen eye on partnerships and customer service. Prior to joining Elavon, he worked in the sports and entertainment industry managing national sales and sponsorship for a professional sports team.

[i] NRA 2015 Restaurant Forecast.
[ii] Mobile Payments Today, “Removing the drag from tableside payment growth in the US”, April 4, 2019.
[iii] Mobile Payments Today, “Removing the drag from tableside payment growth in the US”, April 4, 2019.
[iv] Digital Transactions, “Visa CEO predicts 100 million contactless cards in a Year”, October 24, 2018.

Elavon’s Media Contact:

Katie Lopez 
Corporate Communications 
+1 678-731-5915

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