Wagamama gets invisible payments

April 5, 2018

 

Wagamama, a restaurant chain in the UK specializing in pan-Asian cooking, is now implementing a new way to improve the payment flow: they remove the payment step altogether!

 

It has already been identified for long that the cash register represents an obstacle for the fluidity of commerce. In many cases, in physical commerce as well as in online shopping, consumer abandon their cart when they experience a difficulty in completing their payment. However, many in the payment industry have yet to realize the most uncomfortable time for consumers is when they have to part from their hardly earned dollars or euros.

 

Already, several concepts exist that try to overcome this inconvenience by proposing diverse ways to limit the trauma of having to pay. Amazon has, for years, been proposing its one-click option online and has already tried to change dramatically physical commerce with its Amazon Go concept store. Also, Uber can be seen as the pioneer in invisible payment as consumers on an Uber ride only get the notification of the amount they have paid when they leave the car, without having to make any voluntary payment gesture.

 

Wagamama just rolled out its wagamamago app, which lets customers pay and tip in-app at the chain’s 112 restaurants in the UK, eliminating the checkout process. Customers simply order and receive their food while they are at the restaurant. When they are finished, they no longer need to wait for the bill and then to wait for payment to be completed. They can simply elect to pay, and optionally tip, through the wagamamago app on their own handset. If customers leave without having completed the payment, the wagamamago app will detect the move, and they will automatically be charged for what they have consumed.

 

Wagamama uses Mastercard’s Qkr! digital ordering and payment platform, which is integrated via APIs into its own app. The system associates each customer or each party with a code generated by the app that they have to give to the waiter upon ordering. This code links the table and its order in the restaurant management system with the customer and the app.

 

With this move MasterCard Qkr! and its Wagamama implementation aim at changing the way customers and waiters behave in the common setting of a restaurant. Is saving a few minutes at the end of a meal a sufficient trigger for a behavior change?

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