Restaurant Customers Are Ready to Use Payment Technology

As the U.S. restaurant industry gradually rolls out guest-​operated payment technology, a Cornell study finds that restaurant guests are enthusiastically ready to use smartphones and table-​top tablets to pay their bills.

In a survey of nearly 1,300 U.S. consumers, the study found that the consumers rated paying with technology significantly higher than the traditional payment method that involves handing over a credit card. The study, "Ready and Willing: Restaurant Customers' View of Payment Technology," by Sheryl Kimes and Joel Collier, was conducted before Apple Pay was announced.

"But it's clear that restaurant customers are ready to use this kind of technology to settle their checks," Kimes, a professor of operations management at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, said. "We tested the use of smartphone apps and table-​top systems on 8 different measures. Technology beat out the traditional settlement method on all 8, including overall guest satisfaction."

In their study, Kimes and Collier showed 1,297 survey respondents one of three restaurant payment scenarios that apply to settling the check in a casual restaurant. The respondents rated settlement using smartphones, table-​top systems, and traditional methods on the following eight measurements: accuracy, control of pacing, convenience, efficiency, experience quality, future spending intentions, privacy, and satisfaction with the payment method. On all eight measurements, paying with technology was rated significantly higher than the traditional settlement approach.

"Restaurant operators should take notice of consumers' favorable view of payment technology, since the industry has long been concerned that guests would not want to use it," added Collier, an associate professor at Mississippi State University.

As more restaurants add tabletop technology and offer mobile payment options, they‰Ûªll be targeting M‑commerce shoppers. 22.3% of U.S. adults make purchases on their smartphones, according to AudienceSCAN. Women, 55.6%, make up more of this audience than men. These purchasers are 67% more likely to be between the ages of 25 and 34.

In the past year, almost 41% celebrated Mother's Day in a restaurant, and 32% celebrated Valentine's Day at a restaurant or hotel. Because 20.8% of these consumers celebrated St. Patrick's Day at a restaurant or bar, these pubs and restaurants might want to promote their abilities to accept mobile wallet payments in order to increase foot traffic. And, they might want to promote themselves via mobile smartphone apps or text messages, as 38% of these audience members have taken action as a result of seeing these types of ads in the past 30 days.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports inåÊAdMall.

Courtney Huckabay
Courtney is the Editor for SalesFuel Today. She analyzes secondary customer research and our primary AudienceSCAN research. Courtney is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University.