By now, maybe you’ve seen it in person: restaurants bringing payment devices to your table. Maybe you saw it in Europe, where they’ve been offering it for years. Maybe you saw it at a location of a large chain restaurant. But if you haven’t seen it, chances are you’ll see it soon.

Called “Pay at the Table,” it might be the biggest change to the restaurant experience in decades, and it’s growing fast—as the solutions become more widely available, more and more restaurants are jumping to add it.

What’s Pay at the Table?
The traditional American payment system is a very involved process. When you step back and look at it, it seems almost archaic: customers have to get their waiter’s attention, the waiter goes to print out the check and bring it back to the customer, the customer looks at it, puts in their credit card, puts it on the table and hopes it catches the waiter’s attention, and then the waiter eventually sees it and comes back and then goes and swipes it, and then the waiter brings it back, and then the customer spend a minute calculating the tip, and then you sign it.

After all that back and forth, suddenly it feels like you finished your meal hours ago.

And you’d better hope you aren’t trying to use multiple cards.

Pay at the Table streamlines the whole process. They bring the payments right to you, and cut out all the interim steps.

Why It’s a Big Deal For Restaurants
Both restaurants and customers love it. For customers, when they’re done, they can get out and get on with their life.

But for restaurants, it’s something bigger. In a world where only 20% of restaurants survive the first 5 years, every edge is critical. Pay at the Table saves your waiters’ time, your customers leave a bit more satisfied, and you can turn over tables that much faster. These small differences add up.

Consider the Numbers
Just take a look at wait times. One survey of restaurant owners and managers found that 93% of restaurants usually have some wait time, and at the busiest times customers typically wait 30 minutes. Pay at the Table not only cuts down every table’s checkout time, it frees up waiters to make sure that the earlier stages of the serving process are moving along quickly at other tables.

Cut 5 minutes out of an average wait, and you’ve saved 17% on wait times. That’s a huge difference.
American technology is only now catching up to Europe, where Pay at the Table has been present for years. European restaurants have long been given a choice between stationary payments and Pay at the Table, and they’ve jumped at the chance to employ Pay at the Table. In fact, it’s practically ubiquitous—it feels as if almost every restaurant brings the payments to the customer. In America, it simply hasn’t been available until now.

But now that it’s here, it could soon become the new normal.

​​Why More Restaurants Are Using "Pay at the Table"