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Contactless technology does belong in a traditional pub

May 15, 2017 11:53 am

A recent article in an industry publication for the pub and hospitality sector looked at the coming tech transformation in pubs and restaurants. Some of the wilder ideas included virtual reality glasses provided at the Italian restaurant Carluccio’s so that diners could enjoy panoramic views of Sicily during their meal. That’s not really something we’d expect – or want – to arrive in a pub but even the most traditional venues should embrace modern payment methods because customers expect it. Pubs that don’t accept contactless and card payments could be missing out on business, and putting people off visiting in the first place.

Some aspects of technology may be a gimmick, but it’s worth thinking about what the customers would expect and what will work in each environment. For example, some pubs have been testing prototypes of “pay at pump” options which allow customers to make a contactless payment and pour a pint themselves. I can see this working in very busy pubs with a younger clientele as a means of allowing customers to get served quicker. However, for anything other than a quick pint, and for those customers who enjoy the interaction with staff as part of the pub experience, this isn’t going to work.

Research shows that customers expect to be able to pay by card in a pub and if you don’t currently accept card payments, you’re failing to meet an expectation before they’ve even ordered the first round. Card payments not only reflect the fact that the pub has considered the convenience of their patrons but also inspires a level of trust because it makes the business appear more professional. No pub can survive on the loyalty of their regulars alone, and this is a simple way to drive revenue and present the pub in the best possible light.

Contactless and mobile payment options are convenient for customers and quick for bar staff to process. This means that they can focus on delivering great service and moving on to the next customer. Even for higher-value transactions such as paying for a meal, the technology has benefits because it is more convenient and efficient than cash payment. For groups splitting the bill, it’s also easy to make separate smaller contactless or card payments, avoiding the delays while everyone works out what change they are owed.

There may be a tech transformation coming in the pub sector, but people will always value the personal touch that pubs provide. Landlords can implement technology in a way which plays to their strengths. Contactless payments are a convenient method of paying for customers, and they can reduce the overall waiting time at the bar. Accepting card payments can also support a pub restaurant, not only for the convenience but also because people may be tempted into a dessert or a nightcap if they’re not limited by how much cash they have with them.

Starting to accept contactless and card payments won’t be the technology that kills off the traditional British pub, in fact it’s likely to be a means of keeping them alive. We’ve helped a lot of local pubs integrate card payments into their business and you might be surprised to learn it won’t cost as you might expect. If you’re looking to start accepting card payments or are interested to know if we can offer a better value solution, a member of our expert team will be happy to provide more information on how South Coast Payments can help to benefit your business. Give us a call on 02392 489911.