From table to tab

From table to tab: how innovation is spicing up the UK hospitality sector

While purse strings may be strained up and down the nation, it seems Brits are more than happy to part with their hard-earned money when it comes to eating out with family and friends.

Over the summer, Barclaycard research found that consumer spending on non-essentials is on the rise, with spending in pubs/clubs and restaurants up a healthy 12.9 per cent and 4.5 per cent respectively throughout September.  

Yet despite renewed spend in the pub and restaurant sector, a recent survey from Barclaycard found that 50 per cent of customers would prefer waiting staff to split the bill for them, so as to improve the overall dining experience. Our latest hospitality partnership has seen Barclaycard Payment Solutions join forces with ePOS solution TouchBistro. To keep ahead of the times, TouchBistro streamlines the payment process for both restaurants and diners, helping staff split the bill (minus the need for a smartphone calculator), and improve efficiency both sides of the table.

Redefining restaurant management

From Ambur to OpenTable, award-winning TouchBistro joins a host of apps dedicated to smoothing out the dining experience for customers and the teams that serve them. Whether it’s orders sent directly from table to kitchen or informing guests of specific ingredients relating to allergies, iPad-based TouchBistro acts as a restaurant manager for both waiting staff and owners keen to keep track of daily and weekly sales (and report-driven insight along the way).

Designed to simplify the payment process, TouchBistro also removes the need for manual input and calculations, reducing the likelihood of human error and inaccuracies when it comes to totting up the final bill. Managing Director of Partnerships at Barclaycard Payment Solutions Nicole Olbe explains: “Our new partnership with TouchBistro will help hospitality outlets streamline their processes, thereby driving revenue and allowing waiting staff to spend more time with their customers.”

Whether it’s how to master the latest cocktail with Mixology, tracking employee availability with Sling, or managing those all-important reservations with OpenTable, specially-designed apps continue to launch in their droves, supporting restaurant owners in creating a relaxing environment and an efficient business they can be proud of.

When payment innovation met the staycation

From dining out to ‘do not disturb’, Barclays data continues to support the rise of the ‘staycation’ in the UK, with more and more Brits choosing to holiday closer to home in popular honeypot locations including Cornwall and the Lake District. Driven by this spike in domestic tourism, the demand for both seamless payments and experiences has increased within the hospitality sector – from hotels to the ever-booming experience economy.

Despite Barclays reporting 70% of 25-34 year-olds citing a ‘digital detox’ as the driving force behind their choice of staycation, one such trend for hotel tech this year largely revolves around the subject of communication. Telecom company Mitel found this to be high on the list of priorities for hotels wishing to stay ahead of the curve, from improved bandwidth to introducing mobile door keys – to remote check-in via mobile devices. In line with the rise of ‘bleisure’ guests travelling for work purposes, state-of-the-art tech lounges and tech-first meeting spaces are also high on the agenda when it comes to exceeding the expectations of corporate clients. A slick experience paired with seamless access to the latest technology continues to lay the foundations for the most hassle-free hotel stays yet.

To dine or to dash (that is the question)

In 2018, Barclaycard Payment Solutions found that a staggering 25% of diners would consider leaving without settling up if the bill took too long to arrive. In a mission to combat this frustration felt by guests and restaurant managers, Barclaycard ran a short trial called Dine & Dash last year. The initiative helped visitors pay for their meals in three simple steps. To activate the process, guests simply ‘tapped’ the Dine & Dash totem with their smartphones to check into the restaurant. Next (the best part), diners enjoyed their meal. When they were done, guests were free to leave, with the Dine & Dash totem changing colour to indicate successful payment. Using the specially-designed app, diners were also able to split the bill between their party, leave a tip, or even apply a discount code – not forgetting the handy digital receipt they were sent for future records.

As Barclaycard Payment Solutions continue to enhance the way restaurateurs provide their service through innovation and partnerships, the on-boarding of AI, machine learning, and invisible payments could be the next step in the future of the hospitality sector – making contact with customers more personalised and efficient. The result? A successful wave of establishments where customers feel truly valued, giving owners and managers the freedom to do .