Table of contents

Restaurant: what payment methods should you offer?

Gone are the days when everything was paid for with cash. Now, there’s a whole library of restaurant payment methods on offer and a lot of technology to match.

Whether you’re a catering start-up still finding its feet or a restaurant that’s been serving customers for decades, this can get pretty overwhelming. 

Can you get by as a business only accepting cash? What device do you need for card payments? Are there ways that payment methods can boost sales?

With so many options battling for your attention, you need a simple overview of the must-have payment methods without the jargon, which is where we come in. Read on for our no-nonsense guide to restaurant payment methods. 

Progress bar

Step 1 of 1

Promote your restaurant - online - for free

Facebook, Instagram, TripAdvisor: find out all the tips you need to promote your restaurant for free on online platforms.

By submitting this form, you agree to receive marketing communications from SumUp.

Is cash still relevant?

In the digital age, it’s easy to think that the world has gone cashless. Should your restaurant bother accepting banknotes and coins or should you be focusing entirely on cashless payments?

We’re here to tell you that cash is definitely not done yet. 40% of UK consumers still use cash at least once a week when making a purchase and for millions, it remains their payment preference. 

As a restaurant, it’s crucial you still take cash payments to cater to all of your customers, ensuring you don’t miss out on business by being digital-only.

There are also plenty of benefits to cash, like receiving your payments instantly. As soon as your customer hands over their payment, it’s yours to manage and use. There aren’t any transaction fees involved, either, and you can pay it forward to partners and suppliers with ease.

Get started with card payments

Cash is still a relevant payment method, but there’s no doubt that card payments are the future.

For the past few years, card payments (including debit and credit) have overtaken cash to become the preferred method of payment in the UK. But why should your restaurant take note? 

Reach a wider audience

In simple terms, if you don’t have a card reader then you’re going to miss out on a large portion of your target audience.

Customers expect to be able to pay with a card now. If you only accept cash, you risk potential guests not eating at your restaurant or being forced to withdraw money from a cashpoint, impacting their experience.

Improve the customer experience 

A card reader puts the control of payment in your customers’ hands. They can choose their preferred transaction method, selecting the most convenient option and encouraging a positive view of your restaurant.

Speed up your transactions

Compared to taking cash and giving change, card payments are a speedy transaction. Accepting a payment can take only a few seconds without the hassle of physical money moving hands, making it an easier process for everyone involved. 

  • Customers enjoy speedy service

  • Staff can help other customers quickly

  • Table turnover is increased

SumUp can help you with all your payment types! Save time with professional equipment, integrated payment solutions and reliable customer service.

Discover POS LITE

Enable contactless & digital wallets

In the past, card payments referred to chip and PIN transactions. Now, though, there are contactless options, too. 

Contactless payments let customers quickly tap their card on your card reader for a quick, secure transaction. 

There are digital wallets as well, like Google Pay and Apple Pay. Connected to smartphones, they let customers go completely cardless for the easiest payment option currently available. 

Incredibly quick and convenient, contactless payments are the contemporary choice for restaurants.

  • Take payments at the table

  • Speed up customer service

  • Offer more payment options

Start accepting contactless payments with a SumUp card reader. Each device is portable, letting your staff take payments at the customer’s table for secure, swift transactions. Use it alongside your free business account to keep track of your finances, too, for cash flow that’s easy to manage.

Reach a wider audience with gift cards

Gift cards are a loyalty-boosting, sales-driving payment method that’s ideal for restaurants.

From eGift cards that can be attached to the customer’s digital wallet to generic cards for use at a wide range of businesses, accepting them at your restaurant is a clever move. 

Take a look at the benefits to find out if gift cards tick your boxes.

Tap into higher spending

Gift cards often lead to higher spending per seat. When your customers aren’t using the money in their pocket or on their card, they’re more inclined to splurge on expensive food items and extras.

This gives your team more opportunities for upselling and cross-selling. You can spotlight higher-priced items and encourage impulse buys, leading to a quick boost in revenue.

A bottle of champagne? Why not, it’s on the gift card.

Reach new customers

When a loyal regular buys a gift card for someone who isn’t in your customer base, you’ve just earned yourself a new customer. 

As a payment method, gift cards make it easy work to reach a wider audience and boost the number of guests walking through your door. Even when it’s a card that can be used at multiple restaurants, you’ll still see plenty of new guests sitting at your tables. 

Improve restaurant loyalty

Gift cards are a fantastic tool if you’re looking to boost loyalty. They can be used as rewards for regular customers, for example, improving their experience with your restaurant and ensuring they come back. 

For new customers, you’re given the chance to show off your restaurant and spark new loyalty. Make a good first impression and you’ll quickly grow a strong customer base.

Our digital gift cards require no setup and no upfront cost, making them the stress-free payment choice for your restaurant. Share digital links to spread the word and watch your revenue grow in your business account. Get started with gift cards

Progress bar

Step 1 of 1

Promote your restaurant - online - for free

Facebook, Instagram, TripAdvisor: find out all the tips you need to promote your restaurant for free on online platforms.

By submitting this form, you agree to receive marketing communications from SumUp.

Liza Giraud