restaurant payment methods with Carbonara App

4 Restaurant Payment Methods You Need to Know in 2024

With more ways to pay than ever before, the hospitality industry has kept up to keep customers happy. Here’s what to know about the 4 main restaurant payment methods today.

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New Trends, New Ways to Pay

Every business, every industry, every outlet is continually changing. New trends come and go in the hospitality industry, always adapting to the new demands of the current age.

When it comes to new ways to make restaurant payments, technological changes coincide with the changes restaurants make.

A new trend in shortening restaurant menus means that some hospitality customers in the world have less things to spend money on. “It’s about being savvy and using fewer items and making products go further,” one restaurant told the BBC’s business page. “Our food waste is tiny now, which is [a] good thing.”

New ways to pay now dominate transactions in some European countries. For example, in Poland, contactless payments reached a staggering 83 per cent market share of total transactions made. Overall, Europe witnessed 48 per cent of all payment transactions at point-of-sales each month — and this does not account for chip-and-pin payments.

Undeniably, digital payments are significant. Yet payment methods like e-wallets, debit cards, and contactless are only a few examples of various ways to pay. Here are our top 4.

Before and after COVID-19, the world was making a leap toward cashless payments. However, businesses should never limit the method of payments available. Find out how this popular restaurant has successfully integrated Carbonara App’s digital payments feature: “Café Strange Brew Speeds Up Service with Carbonara App.”

1. Cash

As far as the hospitality industry is concerned, there will always be a place for cash transactions for customers.

Card-only establishments are a rarity, and frankly, a bad idea. Accepting cash is easy for everyone; it should never be dismissed.

To accept cash payments, a restaurant must:

  • Have a steady cash-till float
  • Have accurate, timely bookkeeping skills
  • Have a POS system to help manage transactions

The phrase “Cash is King” refers to the classic way to spend money. In short-term transactions, nothing could be more important.

Conversely, cash-only establishments are a rarity too — and inevitably today, a huge inconvenience for restaurant customers. As one native New Yorker puts it “not accepting credit cards [and other ways to pay] is going to mean turning away a large fraction of the public”. Almost like using chequebooks in establishments, “the cash-only establishment is probably going to become a historical phenomenon”.

“Paying with Cash” by Jernej Furman via Flickr (creative commons 2.0)

2. Card Payments — Debit and Credit

A restaurant that accepts card payments connects more people to the hospitality economy. Once innovative and novel, card payments are now a norm in most business transactions. They are at the core of running a restaurant. 

Each year, there are over 255.4 billion Visa transactions made across the world. When a restaurant accepts card payments, it can:

  • Accept assured payments from customers with convenience
  • Accept more payments from customers from different countries
  • Accept a secure way to pay direct into a business account without worrying about cash on site

For everyone, everywhere, card payments are a favourite way to pay merchants, restaurants, and beyond. This is because people generally agree that card payments are:

  • Safer. For big payments, to have a card significantly reduces the amount of cash in someone’s wallet. As such, customers visit the bank less, carry less physical money, and feel safer about their spending.
  • Speedier. To accept card payments means to accept a higher turnover. With operations such as contactless technology, customers can now make a payment in a second, reducing time spend for everyone on paying bills.
  • Secure. Authentication processes ensure that card payments are trustworthy. Banks use programmes to confirm customer identities, ensuring businesses get their money on time, safely and securely.

Card payments have many other benefits: for example, a point-of-sales system can help process data on, say, overall card payments made throughout a year, revealing customer spending habits and trends. Check out our guide to starting a restaurant for more.

“Credit Card Issuers” by Philip Taylor via (creative commons 2.0

3. E-Wallets

Today’s cardless services are readily available. Replacing physical cards, customers can now make payments from their smartphone or device (i.e., smartwatch). Making use of advanced technology, these services use features like Touch ID and contactless readers to complete payments. 

As an alternative to physical cards, e-wallets have proved popular. For example, according to Statista, there are 507 million Apple Pay users worldwide

By reducing the numbers of items people need to carry in their wallets or purses, both Apple Pay and Google Pay have proved highly successful.

Since the New-Field communication (NFC) technology is similar to contactless cards, all restaurants need is a card reader. In many instances, some customers feel that e-wallets are safer to use than cards: cardless services use a token system, meaning that card details are never shared — so transactions can only occur once.

When it comes to paying, customers do so at a card terminal. Then there’s a final way to pay, which presents zero hassle for everyone. 

“Male hands with smartphone” by Marco Verch via Flickr (creative commons 2.0)

4. Pre-ordering

Smartphones have not only introduced a new way to pay: they have also introduced a new way to order.

Long gone are the days when servers, waiters, and host staff solely relied on paper notepads, to jot down customer orders, including drinks, meals, and other menu items. Now there is an alternative.

Using smartphones, customers can now:

  • browse online menus, reducing the need to use paper menus. With QR-code technology, customers can instantly access your restaurant menu — not to mention the availability of a menu online
  • order food and drink directly from an online menu, completely contactless and convenient. In some cases, restaurant ordering apps allow restaurant guests to do all the work; they can sit back and relax at their table, ordering fully from their smartphone
  • make instant payments via their smartphones, ordering and paying at the same time, reducing any need to pay a bill at the end of a meal

Ordering apps are readily available, and come with tons of benefits. The most obvious one is that customers no longer feel rushed to order. Instead, they can take their time, browsing a digital menu at their own pace.

Likewise, if the customer wants to order alcoholic drinks, they no longer have to wait at a bar. In particular, with a mobile drinks ordering app, customers can order and pay in the same instant, without all the hassle of having to wait for the bar staff to attend to them.

Did you know Carbonara App has a free pre ordering system? Partnered with Stripe, an online payment platform, pre ordering comes with many benefits. Over 135 currencies are supported on Stripe, enhancing the pre-ordering experience for customers around the world.

With no hidden fees, drinks pre-ordering is a great restaurant payment method for venues to sell drinks without the added hassle. Discover how some of our users have benefited from Carbonara App’s new way to pay: “Monza Restaurant Delivers Stellar Service with Carbonara App”.