Pay at the Table Restaurant Systems Q&A
What does it mean to pay at the table?
Pay at the table means just that! After finishing their meal, the server brings the check and the portable payment terminal to the guests’ table. Gone are the days of servers jetting back and forth between guests and the house point of sale system.
That sounds convenient for both guests and servers. But what do I have to do to provide this pay at the table option?
You have to equip your restaurant with one or more handheld EMV payment terminals, on top of your current point of sale system. And that’s it!
What is EMV?
EMV chips are tiny computers found on the new debit and credit cards. A guest needs only to dip the EMV chip card into a payment terminal, then either enter their PIN or sign the check. EMV chip cards are currently the global standard of payment, providing a more secure alternative to magnetic stripe cards.
What if I don’t upgrade and continue to use my old system?
Recent U.S. EMV liability shifts mean that if you don’t have a system that accepts EMV and the guest must use their magnetic stripe card (regardless of owning a chip card), you may be at risk if a transaction is fraudulent.
Are you saying I’ll have to fork over penalty fees?
Exactly. So it’s essential you make sure your point of sale equipment is updated as soon as possible, or it may end up costing you. Pay at the table also conveniently allows your guests to pay without ever leaving their seat. Once your guest is ready to pay, the server simply brings the wireless terminal to the table and passes it to the guest. A chip card needs to be inserted into the terminal and must remain there until the transaction is complete. Once the guest confirms the total, including tip, the payment is processed all at once. The card never leaves the guests hands, and no pre-authorized payments like gratuity are allowed.
What other changes should I expect with pay at the table restaurant systems?
You can expect efficiency. Your servers no longer handle payment cards to swipe them. Paying at the table speeds up transactions and simplifies tip management by recording the total check amount including gratuity at one time. Plus, your guest will know the combined total of the check right away. And it will be reported as one transaction on their statement, so there are never any surprises and uncomfortable discussions.
What does paying at the table mean for me at the end of the day when it comes time to divide gratuity?
Since transaction data is already integrated into your point of sale system, you just generate a report, enter the employee number, and pay out the respective tip amount. The servers no longer need to reconcile tips entered into the terminal with the check amount. The guest automatically does it.
It seems like I need to upgrade to EMV compatible, pay at the table terminals.
Absolutely. Better service, security, tip management, reconciliation. Pay at the table restaurant systems are working for you!