wand-mobile-paymentsMobile payments are booming, especially for restaurants. It’s right up there with tablets in terms of being a smoking hot topic in the restaurant POS industry. The majority of consumers want to be able to order food right from their mobile device and pick it up (or, even better, have it delivered) quickly.

With that in mind, multi-unit restaurant chains are introducing new mobile apps and payment systems at an incredible rate. And with good results; those restaurants using them are able to increase sales significantly and, in some cases, reduce their labor investment as a result of not needing as many clerks in the restaurants to take orders in-person.

So what’s your mobile payments strategy? You may have already determined it, but if not, here are the three biggest strategies we’re seeing restaurants use:

  1. Build it yourself. The first option is to build it yourself (or hire a third-party mobile marketing agency to build it for you). In this scenario your IT and marketing teams create your app (or mobile website) completely designed with your brand and your restaurants in mind.
    1. Pros: 100% customized and you own the technology directly.
    2. Cons: It takes a lot of resources and may come to life slowly if other business objectives or internal IT needs take priority.
  1. Use a third-party service provider. The second option is to use a third-party service provider like GrubHub where customers can easily order and pay for their food and then pick it up in your restaurant. In this scenario you’re able to partner with them and not build anything in house, requiring little IT resources.
    1. Pros: It’s a well-known app many customers are using and it’s an inexpensive way to offer mobile payments.
    2. Cons: You miss out on the ability to run loyalty programs and build brand preference with your most valuable customers. Terminal-Tablet-Mobile
  1. Have your POS partner build it. The third option is one not many people are aware of and that is having your POS partner build your mobile payments app. Because mobile payments are considered part of the holistic payment landscape of your restaurant your POS provider should be able to create a mobile payment that works seamlessly with your current POS system.
    1. Pros: It will integrate natively with your current POS system and won’t require internal IT resources to support.
    2. Cons: The overall design may be cookie-cutter and might only be “somewhat” customizable, for example with your brand logo and colors.

As you go forward with determining your mobile payments strategy take some time to think through the options above. While marketing may want one thing, the reality is IT may not be able to support it or have the time to develop it. It’s important for these two departments to have an in-depth conversation and look critically at the business needs to determine the best solution for your restaurants.