Earlier this year MasterCard launched a product in the UK in conjunction with Wagamama on a trial basis - QKR. QKR itself has been lurking in the background in various guises around the world for a while now, without being noticed.
What is interesting is that MasterCard have now seen where in the marketplace this app could work, and are actively promoting it.
In case you haven't been to a Wagamama restaurant and experienced it for yourself, this is how it works. Upon arriving, the front of house staff explains that they have a new application called QKR that would allow you to pay for your bill without having to wait for a member of staff. A big plus for any consumer who's struggled to receive their bill at the end of a meal, somehow they always seem to know when you're in a hurry to leave!
Once you install the app onto your phone, you are prompted with a code which you then give to the waiting staff, so that their EPoS system knows who you are.
From here on the process was really simple and intuitive, and if you give the code to your friends then you can easily split the bill and pay for the tip.
As of today, there are numerous apps available that allow you to order and pay for your meal at the table. Many of the software companies have a tough time convincing both restaurants and consumers to use their technology. Would you trust a company that you've barely heard of, with innovative technology, take care of processing not only the orders to the EPoS accurately and in a timely manner, but also securely processing payments. With a well know card issuer such as MasterCard or Visa behind the app, this would surely promote the idea of pay at table apps, but give consumers the confidence it can be done securely; the application vendors would only need to promote their product over the alternatives rather than try to convince the marketplace that the technology is usable, safe and secure.
Whilst the QKR app at Wagamama's was a trial and currently awaiting feature updates and national rollout, MasterCard have deemed it a success and have signed up ASK Italian and Zizzi's (Azzuri Group) and Carluccios to use the solution. The fact that one of the main card issuers is coming round to the concept signals a big turning point in the industry and will surely help promote the idea of pay at table applications with both the restaurateur and the consumer.