Imagine not having to touch your credit card or mobile phone to make a payment. That’s the reality for a number of restaurants and retailers in the Pasadena, Calif. area who recently launched PopID’s facial recognition payment technology – and pandemic-related anxiety about contacting various surfaces may create more demand for such technology. After customers register an account with PopID, they can visit a restaurant and the system will scan their face, which will bring up their past orders, loyalty points and stored payment details. While drive-thru and walk-up kiosks will still require a customer to touch a screen for now, tableside orders and payments can be completely touch-free.
The lockdown period has led to a spike in the transactions conducted online – and fraud has climbed at the same time. A new study from Forter, which specializes in e-commerce fraud prevention, found that in recent months online food transactions from restaurants have increased by 134 percent and online orders from food brands have jumped 225 percent. At the same time, the study found a 32 percent increase in online fraud in the restaurant sector. That figure may grow further as it can take time to identify fraudulent transactions. As you get business back up and running, be mindful of cyber threats including the hacking of user accounts, shipping fraud and the purchase of gift cards with stolen credit cards. While you take steps to train employees on safety practices, also review your technology systems and employee training procedures to manage potential weak spots.
Technology that enables you to transact business in a contact-free way can help you send a message to guests that you value their safety. Beyond offering contactless payments – a recent Mastercard study found that 74 percent of respondents plan to use contactless payments even after the pandemic is over – restaurant operators are increasingly posting QSR codes on tables and at facility entrances to help guests connect to their menu via smartphone. Not only can having a QSR code help you minimize menu wipe-downs, but it is also easy to get one via any number of websites that generate the codes for free.
Some of the touch-free technology that is currently allowing for safer payments is providing some side benefits too. The tech firm PopID, which developed technology allowing consumers to link their face to a form of payment, has integrated thermal imaging into its facial recognition technology, Pymts.com reports. As a result, it can take the temperature of anyone entering a business – and perhaps give restaurant guests some peace of mind that the people around them are healthy. The California burger chain CaliBurger, which operates six locations and two D.C.-based food trucks, is beginning to roll out the technology.
Making the transition to cash-free payment was among the first steps restaurant operators took to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in recent weeks. For many, it may make sense to stay that way after the pandemic is over – if their laws allow it. In addition to protecting a business against contamination and theft, going cashless can enable greater guest spending and also help develop your loyalty program and the customer data you collect – assets that are critical to businesses right now. These weeks, challenging and disruptive as they are, can be a time to scrutinize the technology you are using so you know what adjustments to make as times improve. What tech is helping to streamline your sales and business processes right now and what is slowing you down?