- Jimmy John's is testing mobile, tap-and-go payments with a new handheld Verifone touchscreen credit card processor, the company announced in a press release sent to Restaurant Dive. Worldpay told Restaurant Dive it is being piloted in the company's headquarters market in Champaign, Illinois, which includes 40 stores, with plans to expand if successful.
- The payment solution is EMV-grade, meaning it has embedded microprocessor chips that store data and make it more secure. The tech will work with capabilities like Apple Pay and Google Pay Smart Tap.
- The sandwich chain already uses the Worldpay POS system, a merchant-focused processor that runs 40 billion transactions each year. Its in-store POS systems will integrate with online transactions to offer quick in-store service and delivery. Verifone operates 30 million devices in more than 150 countries.
Jimmy John's joins a burgeoning batch of restaurants looking to adopt a payment solution that could provide a faster and more consistent buying experience whether online, through an app or in-store. In the U.K., restaurant patrons tapped 62% more in 2016 than the previous year, a number likely boosted by its use at major quick-service chains including Starbucks, Pret A Manger and delivery app Deliveroo.
While tap-and-go technology has found success overseas in the U.K. — where it overtook traditional chip payments this summer for the first time — its adoption in the U.S. has lagged behind. Restaurants, particularly modern quick-service spots, have just recently started experimenting with cashless models. Starbucks and Shake Shack are testing the idea at select locations, while Sweetgreen now only accepts credit cards or mobile payments. Last year Visa tried to move the needle by targeting restaurants in its incentive program, which offered $10,000 to 50 U.S. small businesses that committed to omitting cash.
However, even if more restaurants begin offering cashierless experiences, will consumers in the U.S. use it? New technology often leaves many shoppers wary. Case in point: Walmart's decision in May to end its Scan & Go checkout after low customer use. Mobile wallets likewise haven't caught on here: 36% of retailers accept them as payment, according to a JPMorgan Chase survey, but only 16% of consumers use them, citing security and awareness as barriers.
Restaurants, especially those with wide reach and loyalty, can drive contactless payment growth by offering rewards, discounts or other value-added services for using that form of payment, something Jimmy John's might now consider. In addition, the sandwich chain's existing partnership with Worldpay may make the transition to tap-and-go payments easier. Its "omnichannel" payment system lets customers, for instance, start a payment on their phone and then complete it on their laptop or even on-location — a setup that isn't common in restaurants yet as legacy POS systems still dominate chains.
This kind of frictionless experience has caught plenty of buzz in retail more broadly, too. In a 2016 study from Periscope, a consulting firm, 78% of retailers agreed they presented a dissonant brand experience across platforms, and two-thirds said a consistent identity would increase business online. Retailers cited mismatched or insufficient customer data and back-end disorganization as top challenges, which omnichannel payment solutions claim to ameliorate. Jimmy John’s might hope the test of its new payment technology will provide similar benefits that Starbucks, for example, has enjoyed since launching its in-app payment option.