Recently, TD Bank was at the International Restaurant and Foodservice Show of New York conducting a survey on restaurant owners and POS trends. It was shocking to see the results that stated how restaurant owners are not utilizing technology that could help their business.
Total Food Service sat down with Doug Mearkle, Head of Merchant Solutions Sales and Service Team at TD Bank to learn more about their survey. Doug has been in the merchant services or payment business for the past 18 years. “I may not have any direct experience working directly in the restaurant segment but I definitely have experience on the payment side,” Mearkle stated. Needless to say, Doug is an experienced veteran on everything from mobile payment application to front of house POS systems.
When TD decided to conduct this survey, they did it with the intention of looking a little closer at the restaurant industry. They were looking at it from a few different perspectives. First and foremost is the appetite from the restaurant owner’s point of sale system. We get to find out what they’re doing today and what they are looking to accomplish in the future. You also get to see their appetite for mobile payments, another huge facet of the restaurant segment. Then there are loyalty programs, which are specific to the restaurant segment and will vary from spot to spot. The last thing is the understanding what’s on the mind of business owners around restaurants and what their interaction model is with their customers.
From the bank’s perspective, the results that they discovered were not surprising at all. But for us and anyone else in the restaurant industry, the results are shocking! The survey revealed that 41% of restaurant professionals currently do not use a POS system, yet 46% believe that these services would increase efficiency for their business. In addition only 31% of respondents offer a mobile payment option. 32.87% of that 31% don’t use mobile payments because they don’t have a POS system, while 47.52% do have plans to incorporate mobile technology in the future. On the loyalty side of things, 74.62% of operators do not offer a loyalty program while 59.41% believe it would benefit the business. The desire for these programs and systems are there, so what is holding these operators back?
The payment industry is an always evolving business. As technology continues to advance so do customers shopping and buying habits. “I think the expectations from customers are foremost that they want a better experience,” said Mearkle. Think about ordering food, five years ago the only way to order delivery was to call in, now there are countless ways to order delivery. Technology will advance and so will the people, it’s the restaurant’s responsibility to stay close to their customers and take them through this journey.
Another aspect that is surely creating some skepticism in POS systems is the clear oversaturation of the market. If you were at IRFSNY, you probably walked by 20 POS system booths all showcasing their innovative software. “My advice to any restaurant owner looking for a POS system is to first understand what their vision is, their objective and their business strategy,” Mearkle concluded.
With such surprising results, it is hard to picture such a large number of restaurant owners still using a traditional credit card terminal. It is now 2017 and it may be time to adapt to the newer trends. A POS system can absolutely raise restaurants’ efficiency and should be adopted. Conform with the over 50% of operators and use other payment and methods like Grubhub, Seamless, and Uber Eats should be looked at as an opportunity to grow not something to fear. Offer loyalty programs to your regulars, when properly created it can be easy to establish and easier to maintain.
Restaurant technology has finally begun to catch up with the industry and the time to act is now. TD Bank understands the shift in the industry and has designed their Small Business Resource Center to help out restaurant owners and operators. TD Bank’s Small Business Resource Center offers everything from building a sound business plan, financial consulting, workshops, and small business loan guides. TD has designed this to help create a way for local business to get the knowledge they need to flourish.