How Texas Roadhouse Is Making Payment More Convenient

This week, another example of the long-term changes the pandemic has brought to the restaurant industry emerged. As Restaurant Business relays, Texas Roadhouse publicly announced their new payment system on Thursday. They call it — wait for it — Roadhouse Pay.

Looking beyond the branded name, the idea is to leave a tablet at each table so that people can pay when they're ready. 20 restaurants have been testing the new system, and customers appear to like it. Tips for service workers, which have been reportedly declining lately, are higher. And, perhaps most importantly for the business, the turnaround between tables is quicker because there is less back and forth required for payment.

By summer's end, Roadhouse Pay should be available at 400 Texas Roadhouse locations.

According to a press release by Ziosk, the company behind the new payment system, the use of Roadhouse Pay has already reached over 80% of customers, with some locations seeing over 90% of customers opt for this new payment method. 

Some restaurants are becoming even more digital

The shift to digital ordering, paying, and more reflects a change hastened by the pandemic.

However, Texas Roadhouse could go even further with this development. Hernan Mujica, Texas Roadhouse's chief information officer, told Restaurant Business that the technology used for Roadhouse Pay could remove the need for servers to take orders entirely. Currently the company is not interested in losing that hospitable aspect of the hospitality business. But Mujica was open to the idea that one day customers may be able to order appetizers sans human interaction.

This would happen with the help of a kind of "kitchen display board," which Hospitality Insights expects to be a major industry trend in 2022. These boards could keep track of inventory and customers' dietary restrictions without the potential for error inherent in trying to convey information from customer to server to bustling kitchen.

On a more extreme end of this, Business Insider reported in February that Wingstop had designed a new restaurant without a dining area or servers. It has fully digitized its business model. Of course, Texas Roadhouse is unlikely to go that far, but the reduction of server presence is certainly a shift towards this high-tech industry trend.