Restaurants of all types are looking seriously at implementing electronic payments, and customers in all restaurant types will increasingly see and use payment technology.

Although the restaurant industry has been cautious in adopting electronic payment technology, that is due to change, as explained in a new report from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR). The report, "Customer-Facing Payment Technology in the U.S. Restaurant Industry," is by Sheryl E. Kimes, a professor at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, and Joel E. Collier, an associate professor at Mississippi State University.

"The U.S. restaurant industry is now focusing on mobile technology for many purposes, as they see the success that some operators have had," Kimes says. "Our survey found that almost all restaurant operators were aware of consumer payment technology, and about half of them were seriously thinking about installing this technology in the next year or two. At the moment, though, only about 12 percent of the restaurants in our survey used mobile payment technology."

"We do want to express appreciation to Nation's Restaurant News and Restaurant Hospitality for their help with survey data," Collier says. "It's clear that we will soon see an explosion in payment technology in restaurants."

With data support from Nation's Restaurant News and Restaurant Hospitality, Kimes and Collier conducted a survey of 385 U.S. restaurant operators to find out the advantages and barriers of installing customer facing payment technology. Survey respondents believed they were saving money with the new technology, but they also cautioned that any payment mechanism must synchronize with the POS system. The top three benefits cited by restaurateurs who had installed the technology—mostly limited-service restaurants—are faster check processing, increased customer satisfaction, and reduced customer-waiting time. At the same time, integration with existing systems, cost of the technology, and customer acceptance were identified as major obstacles.